Petite_Arabesque, on Jul 13 2007, 01:42 AM, said:
One note that I have to make: WHY is Rothbart an evil, giant owl?? It just seems so bizarre to me...an owl is completely non-threatening, IMO. And the costume was jsut ridiculous, not scary or menacing at all.
That was a really ugly owl costume in the 4th act!
I guess high expectations got the best of me on Friday night. I went in expecting to love this production and wound up liking it a little. Before seeing it I couldn't really sympathize with all the complaints the Brits had about the costumes, scenery & misbehaving aristocrats. After what passes for Swan Lake in NY I figured that as long as it had the authentic dance text how could it be anything but wonderful? Now I know what all the fuss is about.
I dislike the switch from Medieval Germany to what, 18th or 19th century Vienna? I guess it's still supposed to be Germany but in the first act Rosato's Queen Mother & Pennefather's Siegfried kept making me think of Sisi & Rudolph. I have to say that while the costumes & scenery were fussy & overdone they were also very beautiful & rich looking, nothing like some of the cheesy stuff we've seen lately from ABT. And the company looked wonderful I love their open, expansive style of dancing. I was more impressed with the women than the men and really enjoyed Sara Lamb and Lauren Cuthbertson in the pdt.
As the curtain closed on the first act I 'd just about convinced myself that I could live with an 18th century Swan Lake. Then it opened for act 2 and revealed a set that I can only describe as sci fi Goth. And it only got worse for act 3. Again it was all really well done and very effective in its own way but I found it so distracting that despite the authenticity of the dance text I would hardly call this a traditional Swan Lake. The thing I disliked most was the costumes for the swan corps. Their dresses were romantic length tutus but multi layered with shredded ends and they were bright shiny white. Even their swan headpieces looked like some kind of filigreed, stylized feathers rather than natural looking ones. They looked more like a bunch of maniacal wilis than enchanted swan maidens and as much as I loved seeing the choreography the costumes really obscured the dancing for me. There were a couple of things I liked a lot about the production I loved the mime. I'm familiar with the first act mime but I don't think I've seen the 4th act mime in years, and it was great to see it again. There was also a moment towards the beginning of the 4th act when the swan maidens mimed something like "where is Odette what happened". It was all of a few seconds long but they all did it in unison and it was a beautiful moment.
Nunez & Pennefather were both good, but I didn't think either one was outstanding in their roles. Pennefather has nice long lines and cuts a very elegant figure. His acting was strong, partnering was solid & his dancing was clean but not exceptional. Nunez looked very strong technically. Her Odile was great, charmingly seductive and her dancing was spectacular throughout the black swan pdd. She's a great turner, her balances were extraordinary and her fouettes were beautiful and secure. Unfortunately I'd been marveling at her technical prowess all the way back in the second act, in the white swan pdd. I dont want to see technique in the lakeside acts, I want to see magic. Her arabesque is beautiful, but there were way too many 6 o'clocks & not nearly enough poetry for me.