Swan Lake by the St Petersburg Ballet

Swan Lake
Swan Lake by The St Petersburg Ballet

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s production of Swan Lake at the London Coliseum. Originally composed by Tchaikovsky and later revised by Lev Ivanov with choreography by Marius Petipa. Swan Lake is a ballet from which most everyone would recognise the main theme and has had many adaptations and retellings over the years. I was immensely please to see that the St Petersburg Ballet had decided to put on a traditional retelling of the piece with all the splendour that the ballet has to offer.

Swan Lake is the story of the beautiful Princess Odette who has been turned into a swan by the evil sorcerer Rothbart and the handsome Prince Siegfried who falls instantly in love with Odette and vows he will break the spell.

Swan LakeAs I said this was a very traditional production with lavish sets and costumes that really enhanced the piece without going over the top. In the first Act the Corps de Ballet were all in full skirts that filled the stage as they twirled and the contrast between the colourful set and costumes in the palace and the stark black and white of the lake side forest really enhanced the mystery and magic.

At the performance I saw Irina Kolesnikova played the beautiful Princess Odette as well as her counterpart the mysterious Odile in the second Act. This is Kolesnikova’s signature role and you can see why instantly as she completely embodies the bird like and graceful qualities of the swan the minute she steps on stage. Her dancing was outstanding and easy but her artistry and portrayal of the two so different characters was perfection. Denis Rodkin, who played the handsome Prince Siegfried was a lovely contrast to the powerful Irina, he floated through the air with easy grace and portrayed an innocence and naiveté that was commendable. The other stand out for me was Sergei Fedorkov who played the palace Jester. From the minute he stepped on stage he had the audience laughing along with his antics while impressing with incredibly high leaps and fast spins. But the heart of the production was the Corps de Ballet who were incredibly in sync, filled the stage and gave a stunning performance. The most impressive and magical moment was the first time Prince Siegfried sees the 24 strong Corps de Ballet swans that come out of the forest in a seemingly unending line and in perfect unison.

The English National Opera Orchestra was well led by Timur Gorkovenko though at times it seemed there were some teething problems between him, the orchestra and the dancers where they were slightly out of sync but this was ably handled by the conductor and the dancers alike.

Not all productions of Swan Lake have a happy ending but with so much turmoil and anguish throughout the production it is nice to end on a high and with the final note of the orchestra there was thunderous applause. ‘Amor Vincit Omnia’ – Love Had Conquered All.

Review by Alexandria Wharram

Swan Lake is on at the London Coliseum until the 2nd of September 2018. To book tickets visit their website.

If you enjoyed this review then please do have a read of my reviews of 42nd Street, Giselle and Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella.

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