fri 06/12/2019

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum | reviews, news & interviews

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum

The Agony is worth it for the Ecstasy of a splendid company show

ENB's 'Swan Lake' corps: Photographed by their leading ballerina Daria KlimentováDaria Klimentová

As everyone who has been watching Agony & Ecstasy: A Year with the English National Ballet on BBC Four now knows, Vadim Muntagirov, last night’s Prince Siegfried, and Daria Klimentová, his Odette/Odile, are the ultimate in ballet melodrama: one is a young dancer on the rise, the other reaching the end of a notable career. And both came together to produce a memorable Swan Lake in Derek Deane’s tasteful proscenium production.

Swan Lake is Lev Ivanov’s compelling take on the heat of Romanticism, channelled through a prism of icy cold Classicism

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Judith Flanders should know that Tchaikovsky never composed a waltz for Act 1V. The one referred to is an interpolation of a movement from his Piano Pieces op.72 crassly orchestrated by Riccardo Drigo and endlessly repeated thus destroying its original charming character. The score of Swan Lake is a minefield of cutting, transposing, reordering of movements and interpolations in most choreographic interpretations. Check with David Nice! Strangely enough the only version I know which sticks to Tchaikovsky exactly in the last act is Matthew Bourne's version.

But I think, to confuse matters still further, Judith means the very Russian Danse des Petites Cygnes, which fits into the Act 4 tragedy beautifully, is one of the highlights of the score and isn't a waltz. So does that mean that this production, like the Mariinsky Sergeyev staging, actually replaces it with that dramatically inert waltz-plum? I ask because I'd be quite happy to see this, but not if Act 4 isn't all of a piece - the musical substitution is too banal. And it's not as if the original isn't the shortest and most unified act in ballet.

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