“Combining classical training and technique, and accompanied by a full orchestra, the company’s magical performances of the best loved Russian ballets have won them international acclaim.
Swan Lake is Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, a tragic tale of love and betrayal with an instantly recognisable score. This is the epic story of Prince Siegfried and his love for Odette who, tricked by the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart and his daughter Odile, would rather die together then live apart.”
Music: P. I. Tchaikovsky
Libretto: Vladimir Begichev, Vasily Geltzer
Choreography: Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Ballet may be an acquired taste, but it was great to see kids, couples and pensioners taking their seats at the Waterside this evening. I was looking forward to an evening of live music and twirly arms, luckily i was not disappointed! Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre was founded in 1994, and is the only classical ballet company in the world completely independent of government financial aid or sponsors funding. I must admit my last brush with Swan Lake had been watching “Black Swan” on dvd some time ago, so i had to shake Mila Kunis from my mind to get me in the zone for tonight’s production.
One of my favourite performers was the jester, who brought plenty of personality to the opening scenes with his quirky movements. He managed to link characters together and lighten the story without becoming overbearing and tacky. There was also one particular chorus member playing several parts who caught my eye with not only her incredible dancing but her stunning good looks too – not that any of the ladies dancing were unattractive by any means! The leading lady playing Odette (who’s name I’m afraid i won’t be typing as my phone seems to take offence to the spelling of most of the cast surnames!) was breathtaking, a true mistress of her art. Her fragility and grace mesmerised me throughout the entire show, and was offset well by her colossal leading man. Although on a technical level (not that i actually know what I’m talking about) Prince Siegfried was bang on the money, i couldn’t help but wonder why he had been chosen for the role. He was a good foot taller than anyone else on the stage, and it made for a peculiar aesthetic against the delicate splendor of his peers. Generally i don’t believe in bashing people for the way they look, but in this instance his height distracted me.
The entire performance was fluid, engaging and effortless, although I’m sure anyone who has ever danced on pointe will verify the hours of gruelling training and bleeding feet that will have taken place beforehand. If i have to criticise i would say there were occasions when i thought the dry ice may have been overused slightly judging by the full on fogging of some front row audience members! It was worth it though, as the curtain lifting on virginal white swans in the mist was breathtaking.
In conclusion a fantastic evening, which left me feeling relaxed and glad i swapped TV for a few hours of culture.
Swan Lake is at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 2nd – 4th February 2017. General Tickets: £15.00 – £32.00 + Booking Fees: £1.90 – £2.90