Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Director/Choreographer: Sir Peter Wright
Conductor: Daniel Parkinson
Birmingham Royal Ballet under the directorship of Carlos Acosta is back at the Lowry with hisclassical production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The production travels with a full sinfonietta, conducted by Daniel Parkinson, allowing for a show given the full scale and breadth possible.
Swan Lake is a love story, between Prince Siegfried and the cursed Odette. Siegfried, having just ascended the throne is required to marry, but when out hunting a flock of swans, he falls in love with Odette, a young woman cursed to be a swan by day and only be a woman between the hours of midnight and dawn. Her curse can only be broken by the love of one who has never loved before. But Siegfried is tricked by Baron von Rothbart into declaring his love for another, Odile, and Odette’s curse can not be broken.
The show has four acts, and here they have a three-minute break between acts one and two, and intervals between acts two, three and four, giving a running time of nearly three hours. Thankfully it is three hours that pass smoothly and enjoyably.
The sets by Philip Prowse are stunning, from the lakeside to the opulence of the royal ball, nothing is left to the imagination, with Peter Teigen’s lighting adding extra drama. The costumes are classic Swan Lake, dramatic and beautiful, with many being original and now over 40 years old.
Momoko Hirata is a stunningly superb Odette and Odile. Delicate and dramatic, she creates the character with a seemingly effortless ease which belies the huge amount of hard work that goes into being a ballerina of her skill and grace. Mathias Dingman is her suitor Prince Siegfried, also excellent he makes Siegfried a character to empathise with, a real skill when there is only the dance to portray the emotion. He is however outshone in the opening act by Enrique Bejarano Vidal as his friend and equerry Benno, who is charismatic as well as being a powerful expressive dancer.
The rest of the cast, from the principal dancers to the ensemble members all work hard to create the complete spectacle that is Swan Lake, from the famous cygnets’ dance to the dazzling dances from each country at the royal ball. The choreography is principally the classic and well-known version, but this doesn’t make the show feel lacking. A truly classical version of Swan Lake is always a pleasure to watch.
Birmingham Royal Ballet has produced a show that is stunning both visually and physically, and whether a fan or someone wanting to see Swan Lake for the first time, then this show is well worth the trip.
Runs until 4 March 2023