Swan Lake

Coventry Belgrade

*****

A FULLY staged Swan Lake is a rare thing. A fully staged Swan Lake of such rare beauty to a packed house is a thing of wonder, and it has to be said that, like all great art, this will live in my memory for quite a while.

It was sumptuous and spectacular and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen it before it is always a thing of beauty.

This production from the Russian State Ballet and Opera House under its artistic director Konstantin Uralsky, brings plenty that is new to the original, traditional choreography by Marwan lakeius Petipa.

The corps de ballet are at times breathtaking with their amazing uniformity. Eighteen dancers on points as, literally, a ‘body’ is an amazing sight. The scenes towards the end where the story takes a darker, starker turn and the scenery is literally stripped away to reveal a raw emotional story of love and loss is powerful in the extreme.

The story? Birthday-boy Crown Prince Siegfried (Pugachev Artem) has to choose a bride. He is persuaded by baddie Baron von Rothbart (Anton Paistekhim) to visit the Swan Theatre on the lake where the Swan Girls dance. Among them is beauty Odile (Anna Pigalkina) with whom he instantly falls in love, promising faithfulness. But the Baron introduces equally beautiful Odette (Maria Stec) and the Prince forgets Odile in an instant. Her heartbreak is also ours and the storm whipped up by the Baron produces a completely unforgettable dance sequence that I’ve never seen equalled.

This production is on tour and well worth the effort to catch. It is absolutely beautiful, the story is told so well and so simply, it is rare in suiting the entire family and, whether ballet is your bag or not, it is gorgeous.

If there was a live orchestra as billed, I’ve no idea where it was. I’m pretty sure it was recorded music throughout but maybe the Coventry Belgrade was too small to accommodate both orchestra and dancers. But it was confusing and sad, though didn’t spoil an amazing evening. It is great to see world-class ballet in my adopted home city. Now on nationwide tour with Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker until December

Jane Howard

08-10-16 

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