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RB Swan Lake, Winter 2007


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4mrdncr saw the Swan during a ballet-packed trip across the pond and remarked upon it in a review of ABT performances.

Has anyone else seen it this run?

I am sorry to say that there were 4 casts I would liked to have seen, but as I cannot accept the current Anthony Dowell production, I therefore did not go any of the performances which I regret. If you have standards I think it is important to keep to them.

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I saw it in May with several casts and can't wait to see it again in Philadelphia next month, with a different cast. Quite simply, the current RB version has the very finest 'white acts' (2nd & 4th scenes) on the planet because these are the 1895 originals by Lev Ivanov, as deciphered by R.J. Wiley from the Harvard Sergeyev Collection's Stepanov notes. Segments of the other two scenes (1 & 3) -- such as Petipa's original Pas de Trois in Act I - are also from the Harvard notes and, thus, are real treasures.

What's bad: the stage settings and many of the costumes. Also, some of the newer (non-1895) choreography, such as the overly-frenetic dance of the fiancees in the 3rd scene, is awful. But don't let the 'ugliness' of the production blind you from the beauty of the reconstructed parts -- esp. those two white scenes.

p.s. - The RB white acts are even better than those of the Kirov. Anybody familiar with the Kirov Swan Lake will recognize a lot of the choreography in the RB's A4, including the 'weaving' of the black swans into the stage picture, use of the Drigo-Tchaikovsky interpolations (Valse Bluette, Un Poco di Chopin), etc. It's the Kirov staging -- only purer & better. Don't let the wacky costumes and filigree-wires settings get in the way!

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Like Leonid I really dislike this production, not some much for the decor which I think is totally misconceived, but for the drunkeness and bad manners which Dowell has incorporated into the production. The choreographic text hower is pretty good, with some exceptions.

The Act I pas de trois was staged by Irina Jacobsen and is, I think, inferior to the more straighforward version formerly danced by the Royal Ballet. I don't like David Bintley's Act I waltz, but then I think any choreographer told her or she must incorporate stools and a maypole into the number is working under a considerable handicap - unless you happen to be Petipa or a contemporary of his.

Acts II and III are pretty faithful to the Sergeyev text, as is the last Act with one exception. Towards the end of the Act Odette and Siegfried used to walk together towards Rothbart forcing him to retreat momentarily by (I imagined) the shear force of their love for each other. Now Odette is carried forward in low lift while she does a developpe - ber point shoe aiming for what in a mortal man might be described as a sensitive target! It's more "dancey", I suppose, but less effective than a simple walk.

The two casts I saw were Soares (who is injured) and Nunez whose performance sharpens and deepens all the time. The second cast was Lauren Cuthbertson, reasonably competent, but not I think ideally suited to the role, and Rupert Pennefather who could become a real Danseur Noble, if he could only look a little more involved with his partner. He's scheduled to partner Nunez on the tour, so perhaps he will respond to her.

Earlier in the season I saw Tamara Rojo partnered by Carlos Acosta and I think you would have to travel a long way to see better.

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