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New Ratmansky Swan Lake to premier at Zurich

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I have seen Peterson's Swan Lake, and it is decidedly not a reconstruction. That is made clear in the linked piece.

Peterson has streamlined his version for audiences by omitting select national dances from Act III and has added a few of his own dances (including the Act I waltz and a Pas de Trois in Act III). These highly refined additions are stylistically consistent with the original. In addition, he has carefully restored rarely seen Act IV pantomime passages.

I can't speak definitively about stylistic consistency, but said pas de trois in Act 3 was quite hokey. There was also an exceedingly stupid dance for four men that bordered on the typical shenanigans of the mercifully absent jester and a somewhat awkward "melancholy" solo for Siegfried at the end of Act 1, which is practically obligatory these days.

From his program notes:

What I began to witness years ago (as had my teacher [Leila Haller]) were aspects of "Swan Lake" inexplicably being changed, slowly and in small increments, and altered in successive productions. Iconographic moments I had come to cherish were disappearing bit by precious bit.

Peterson admits that his focus is on the "surviving nucleus": the Ivanov acts. The rest he felt free to change--and did. At best he restores some favorite details of his, but the 1895 production it's not, nor is it anything like what Ratmansky did with Paquita or Sleeping Beauty. It's not terrible (except, perhaps, Act 3), but it's also not exceptional.

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Yes, it's entirely possible this version by Peterson may be different from the one I saw three years ago, although the PR for that production also touted his commitment to history. The bit about the "damaged icon" was present then, too.

Dilution of the known original text and my respect for it became the motivation in a decades-long search for technical, choreographic and stylistic truth in the hope of retrieving and preserving details quickly disappearing. Information gathered through the years from very experienced ballet professionals has been poured back into this production in the hope that it will be preserved for future generations. So many of the great artists and inheritors of that information whom I have spoken to, worked with and observed, are no longer with us. Ballet is a delicately ephemeral art whose tradition is in constant threat of being lost, particularly those few 19th century classics that have survived. It has been my sincere and fastidious quest to preserve those detailed and charming aspects of a 19th century heritage ballet. What is lovingly presented to you in this Swan Lake is an attempt at resuscitation and restoration of a great work of art. A window into the past somewhat subjectively presented to you by an obsessive researcher into technical, stylistic and kinetic detail and given a contemporary theatrical sensibility.

Based on what I saw, Peterson’s desire for preservation is not universal. Evidently, whatever he considers unessential is open to being re-choreographed, which Washington Ballet acknowledged in the link Helene provided. But we'll know soon enough what the production is like. I hope you will be spared that third-act quartet of roughhousing young men.

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I am really excited to see Ratmanksy reconstruct Swan Lake here in Zürich. It is a fair reward for the company after an amazing season that has largely gone unnoticed. Ballett Zürich is also know for the release of many DVDs, so I personally hope that Zürich release it with principal and graceful swan Viktorina Kapitonova.

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