Last Wednesday night the Russian State Ballet and Opera House staged their latest version of the magical Swan Lake at Tyne Theatre and Opera House.
Swan Lake was composed from 1875-6 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, one of the most famous composers of the time. Although slated after its premiere, Swan Lake went on to become one of the most well-known ballets in the world. It tells the story of Prince Siegfried stumbles upon a swan ballet and falls in love with Odette. Promising that he will declare his love for her, he leaves, though the evil sorcerer Rothbart has come up with a plan in order to keep Odette in his ballet. One case of mistaken identity later, and the Prince pledges his love to the wrong doppelganger. Tragedy follows, and the Prince and Odette finish by disappearing into the Lake forever. Yes, it’s sad, but also very beautiful with its fairy-tale qualities.
The overall performance of the ballet was fantastic, and the ability and control that the ballet dancers have over their bodies never ceases to amaze me. However, to start, some of the dancers were out of time to the music, something which was a bit of a disappointment, but the rest of the performance was incredible. The amount of work to achieve such perfection is just mind-blowing. One of the parts I enjoyed the most had to be the ball scene at the start of Act II, princesses from different countries come to dance before the prince in the attempt to win him over. Varying styles of dance were incorporated into the ballet – including flamenco – and who knew that that could work so well!
No piece about Swan Lake would be complete without mentioning the music. The Russian State Symphony Orchestra of Astrakhan were honestly outstanding. Tchaikovsky’s iconic Swan Lake music performed live is simply amazing. Even if you’re sure you don’t know it, you’re wrong, and you would be humming along in time with the rest of us.
So, my advice… If you ever have the chance to watch Swan Lake; go, it’s incredible.