Artistic Director: Ludmila Nerubashenko
Reviewer: Rosella Barnes
The Moscow City Ballet truly excel themselves with this stunning performance of Swan Lake. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, now under the dedicated eye of Ludmila Nerubashenko, Moscow City Ballet’s distinctive style of Russian classical ballet can’t help but please everyone in the audience. With the unmistakable score by Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake tells the story of Prince Siegfried (Talgat Kozhabaev) who, coming of age, falls deeply in love for the beautiful Odette (Liliya Orekhova), Queen of the Swans. He vows to be ever faithful to her; however the evil Von Rothbart (Georgiy Sorokin) and Odile (Liliya Orekhova) bewitch the Prince into thinking Odile is Odette. The Prince realises too late he must face his fate together with Odette.
Enchanting from start to finish Moscow City Ballet remind us of the pleasure in classical ballet that is focused on technique in a theatrical setting. Having the music live couldn’t help but add to this effect and makes it all the more special. The main chorus scenes with the corps de ballet in Acts 1 and 3 fill the stage with wonderfully synced sequences and lavish costumes. The larger group sequences by the lake are also exceptional. The swans look grand yet innocent and fragile in their white dresses and command the stage with elegance and poise. Nerubashenko leaves no room for error in these moments of the performance and treats us to individual dances from a collection of cygnets and swans.
The performance is full of applause and rightly so, especially in regards to Orekhova’s performance as Odette and Odile. As Queen of the Swans she is utterly flawless and mesmerisingly swan-like. Rising to the technical challenges with perfection it is sometimes hard for the others to perform with such grandeur. This is probably most noticeable in Kozhabaev’s enactment of the Prince which is strained in some places. However, he is part of the rather amusing trio of the Jester (Artem Minakov) and friend Benno (Kanat Nadyrbek) who perform their narrative with an honest and likeable manner. Sorokin’s portrayal of the evil Von Rothbart is also brilliantly done with the right amount of menace and eeriness. Being a modest story the audience can find great depth in the dancers’ performances and latch on to the costumes and set-design. Moreover the show is consequently ready to please a varying audience from young budding ballerinas to the older and technically aware professionals.
The performance itself is a celebration of extremely talented dancers and exceptional choreography with an enchanting stage and costumes. The ballerinas on reflection are the stars of the show, with the beautiful Swan as its centrepiece. The Moscow City Ballet is still one to watch and do this enchanting story a great deal of justice.
Runs until Thursday 23rd January