Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: Marina Medvetskaya
Reviewer: Natasha Hegarty
Swan Lake is the absolute pinnacle of classical ballet – one of the most famous stories – and Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre brings it to a packed house in Northampton’s Royal and Derngate. This piece is performed in repertoire with The Nutcracker and is under the artistic direction of former prima ballerina, Marina Medvetskaya. Of course, the ballet is driven by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. The Hungarian Sinfonietta Orchestra – led by conductor Vadim Perevosnikov – would make the original composer proud with their note-perfect interpretation of the wonderful music. The sets are utterly beautiful, with the final scene drawing gasps from a delighted audience. The designers have settled on a traditional romantic gothic setting, with the costumes reflecting this.
The performance opens at Prince Siegfried’s coming of age party, where he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Queen of the Swans, Odette. However, the evil Von Rothbart and Odile bewitch the Prince into believing Odile is actually Odette. Lightening the mood here and there is a jester, who with wonderful leaps and a very impressive set of pirouettes, causes mischief around the stage.
Natalya Romanova is simply exquisite in the dual role as Odette and Odile. As the White Swan, she is graceful with movements so fluid, they almost don’t seem real. Her lithe arms contort into the swan shaping beautifully. Her romantic pas de deux with Prince Siegfried (Vadim Lolenko) is beautiful and rather emotional. As Black Swan Odile, Romanova really comes alive. She connects with the audience and her facial expressions are fiercer and more determined as she attempts to convince the Prince she is the love of his life.
The corps de ballet is visually stunning to watch. All the beautiful swans dancing in complete unison never put a pointe shoe out of line. Similarly, the dance of the four little swans is real highlight and along with the pas de deux, one of the most famous sequences in the ballet. It is a delight to watch and one which the audience waits for.
Lolenko is a strong lead and fits in well with the prima ballerina, though one feels he could have been much more of a powerful lead in the final acts. Evgeniy Silaka as the evil sorcerer, Von Rothbart, commands the stage with his huge leaps and spins, made all the more dramatic with his black costume and mask. However, the pair’s duel at the end does lack a bit of fire. It doesn’t seem like a massive battle of good and evil and if the story is unfamiliar it could almost seem like an unimportant moment. This finale could definitely benefit with a bit more attack.
Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s interpretation of Swan Lake is performed over three acts and four scenes and Medvetskaya has avoided the tragic ending, which is actually very lovely. It is rather refreshing to have a happy ending to this story. This performance of the iconic ballet is beautiful and elegant, however, there’s without a doubt further they could push, especially in the finale. Thankfully, they have chosen the most talented prima ballerina and the corps de ballet is perfect. Definitely worth a watch if you’re a ballet fan.
Runs until 1 February 2017 | Image: Contributed