Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov & Peter Wright
Reviewer: Kathryn M. Bartlett
The Public Reviews Rating:
Tchaikovsky’s wonderful 19th Century masterpiece about the quest for true love is exquisitely brought to the stage in the highest calibre that only the very best ballet companies such as the Birmingham Royal Ballet can deliver.
An immensely talented group of artists from this world-renowned company present the fated, yet ultimately euphoric story of Prince Siegfried’s search for his perfect partner; his love affair with the beautiful enchanted swan-princess Odette.
From the moment the first curtain pulls back to reveal an imposing, austere and completely convincing scene of a courtyard in the Prince’s castle, the audience is swept away to the magical realm of this perfect depiction of this well-known and well-loved beautiful classic ballet. Like a window on a flawlessly encapsulated fairyland, the eye is drawn into each nuance of this mesmerising and engulfing production.
Every attention to detail has been paid, from the grand scenery, depicting both the Prince’s majestic court and the magical moonlit lakeside, to the delicate, multi-layered and coloured rich, opulent costumes and the atmospheric lighting that showcases and picks up every minute element. Of course the superb dancing is without comparison. Even the most simple sauté in first position or delicate pas de bourée is executed with such exact fortitude, grace and style that it is visualised from the audience-perspective as the most complex piece of footwork.
Iain Mackay as Prince Siegfried is as agile and becoming as he is commanding and athletic. Enigmatic and astounding in every scene, nothing detracts your focus from him and his breath-taking interpretation when he is on-stage.
Jenna Roberts as swan/black-swan Odette/Odile is graceful and articulate with each creative impressive movement. Her whole performance, whether as good-swan Odette or dark twin-like counterpart with glamour façade, black-swan Odile, is captivating, strong, yet gentile; not least when demonstrating a fantastic run of accomplished fouettés.
Special note to William Bracewell who plays Benno, Prince Siegfried’s friend, who even for just his multiple tight elevated entrechat and quadruple pirouette, must be applauded.
Also outstanding are the ethereal swans and cygnets en masse, who cohesively appear to move as one being and are utterly heart-stirring and stunning. A particular memorable moment is the movement in which they demonstrate their prowess, amazing strength and mastery of lines in arabesque form to a pounding, regimental score.
The whole piece is backed up by wondrous, awe-inspiring orchestration that gels so well with the on-stage action that it seems part and parcel of the complete work and infinitely attached to each piece of intricate footwork and graceful arm movement
This is an absolutely decadent, captivating example of an incredible, intoxicating ballet and company. The myriad of sweet memories of this production will stay with you for a lifetime; simply not to be missed.