Review: Swan LakePosted by: Richard Abbey
As part of a double bill with The Nutcracker, The Russian State Ballet of Siberia brought the classic ballet, Swan Lake, to Sheffield.
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake is perhaps the most famous of all ballets and this was a rare chance to see it in all its glory. It was everything you would expect and more with the dancers and orchestra bringing the tragic story to life faultlessly.
Taking place over two acts, at the heart of the ballet is a love story between Prince Siegfried, played on this occasion by Georgii Bolsunovskii, and Odile/Odette, the swans of the story. This dual role, often considered one of ballet’s most technical challenges, is played by Natalia Bobrova who delivers a flawless performance. She captured the roles perfectly, showing emotional intensity as white swan Odette and verve and vivacity as black swan Odile. Siegfried felt like a man in conflict and ultimately pays the price for his true love.
The first act takes place firstly close to the castle before moving to the mountain lake where Siegfried first encounters Odette. The projected backdrops leapt from the warmth of the grand hall to the tranquility of the lake with ease. The scene where he first visits the lake was particularly memorable as the swans filled the stage - the precision of the movements, matched by the stunning score, was just mesmerising to watch.
Act two starts off in the castle hall where Siegfried meets potential suitors from Hungary, Russia, Spain, Italy and Poland before encountering Odile, the daughter of Baron Rothbart, who looks exactly like Odette. Swept away by the occasion, and Odile, Siegfried realises his error of judgement and heads back to the lake where he must make the ultimate sacrifice. It's essentially a story of good and bad - represented by the white and black - with good winning out in the end, albeit in tragic circumstances.
As good as the dancers are, Tchaikovsky's score plays a huge role in telling the story and it was nice to see Russian State Ballet Orchestra conductor Anatoliy Chepurnoy taking to the stage at the end for a standing ovation. It was well deserved and capped off a memorable evening.