Swan Lake is one of the most beloved tragedies in the ballet. Love, jealousy, betrayal and magic are all brought together to bring beautiful but dramatic scenes that evoke a sense of an ‘other world’ full of enchantments and spells. Tchaikovsky’s score provides its own type of music that bewitches the audience who watch, spellbound as the story unfolds…
Odette (Irina Kolesnikova) has been turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. Prince Siegfried (Kimin Kim) heads into the woods to hunt for swans and witnesses Odette transform back into a woman. She explains that the spell can only be broken by true love. Siegfried vows to love her, but later on is tricked by Rothbart into declaring his love for Odile (who has been transformed to look like Odette). Betrayed and heartbroken, Odette dies…
However, in this version (as with many recent adaptations) she is revived and the lovers live happily ever after. For someone who prefers the original story, this did affect my enjoyment, as the costumes and choreography were very traditional. The pas de trois in Act I are exquisite, upstaged only by the light humour provided by the jester, while the Dances of the Swans in Act II were faultless: serene, elegant and ethereal.
Irina dances Odette to perfection, but it is as Odile that we see her come alive and it is fascinating to compare the black and white swans. Kimin is a very strong performer, but the role of Siegfried does not allow him (or any male principal) to really showcase his talents.
Despite the happy ending, St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s production is a fantastic interpretation that contains all of the beauty and charm one would expect, with sensational costumes, talented dancers and the wonderful score that remains as powerful today as it ever did.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes