Composer: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Producer: Victor Smirnov-Golovanov
Ballet Mistress: Lyudmila Nerubashchenko
Reviewer: Bill Avenell
The Public Reviews Rating:
The phrase ‘curates egg’ springs to mind. Having enjoyed a number of Moscow City Ballet productions over the year, Swan Lake certainly was enjoyable but perhaps not quite as pleasing as productions in previous seasons. As my young companion suggested, it did not have quite the impact of previous productions but it was hard to put one’s finger on the cause.
Moscow City Ballet looked the part, as ever, with suitably lavish back drop and customary colourful costumes. Igor Shavruk’s orchestra played the memorable Tschaikovsky score with gusto, perhaps a bit thinner than usual overall but including some really atmospheric violin and cello playing, particularly in Siegfried and Odette’s first act Pas de Deux. The Corps de Ballet were a bit ragged in the opening birthday party scene but the ladies redeemed themselves magnificently in their avian roles, while the men were a distinct improvement in the betrothal scene. The principals were well supported by the soloists, particularly Anna Ivanova and Ekaterina Tokareva as the Hungarian and Spanish brides and a really splendid performance as the Jester by Artem Minakov. So was it the fault of the principals? Well again, yes and no. Talgat Kozhabaev brought his athleticism to the role of Siegfried but his performance was a little disappointing in so far as there were fewer of the jaw dropping leaps and, apart from holding the masculine poses and some trade mark impressive lifts, his work with Odette in particular seemed a bit unsure. Surprisingly, he paled rather in comparison to Daniil Orlov who gave a really sinister and powerful performance as Von Rothbart. Liliya Oryekhova also gave a mixed performance as Odette/Odile. Perhaps picking up vibes from Kozhabaev, her dancing in the first part a little lack lustre apart from conveying a wonderful swan like grace. Returning as Odile she was in fine form, her fouettes at the conclusion bringing the house down, and she, like Orlov, radiated a real impression of menace.
It begs the question, are the nasty roles easier to dance than the nice ones or does the relatively uninformed ballet watcher identify more closely with Odile and Von Rothbart? Whatever it was about this production of the old tale of the prince who, searching for a bride, falls in love with the swan queen (the princess entrapped by the enchanter), is duped into betraying her and after her death slays the enchanter and is reunited with his love; it wasn’t The Moscow City at their very best. On the other hand there were some very good bits in it and as an experience for those who enjoy classical ballet or as an introduction for the complete novice it was worth a visit.
Runs until Wednesday 20th February 2013
Moscow City Ballet: Swan Lake - The Hawth, Crawley,
Tags: ( Talgat Kozhabaev, Anna Ivanova, Artem Minakov, Crawley, Daniil Orlov, Ekaterina Tokareva, Evgeny Selivanov, Igor Shavruk, Liliya Oryekhova, Ludmila Nerubaschchenko, Moscow City Ballet, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake, The Hawth, Victor Smirnov-Golovanov