A hundred and forty years after its premiere with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Swan Lake continues to touch audiences with the pathos of love in the face of deceit and death.
The Queensland Ballet puts on a world class performance of classical ballet at its best.
If the daily news does not provide you with enough drama about a dark Russian connection, consider the menacing Baron Von Rothbart (Vito Bernasconi), a sorcerer who captures maidens and turns them into swans. Imagine a lake created from the tears of the wretched swans!
Princess Odette (brilliantly danced by Yanela Pinera) is gathering flowers by the lake when the sorcerer Von Rothbart appears and casts a spell to transform her into a swan.This evil spell can only be broken by someone who swears his love for her.
In the courtyard and castle nearby Prince Siegfried (performed strongly by Joel Woellner) is dismayed at the impending prospect of becoming King with the daunting responsibilities of high office. The Queen Mother (Zenia Tatcheva) presents him with the gift of a crossbow. He sees the white swans overhead and follows them into the night.
Down by the lake Prince Siegfried is amazed to see a white swan approach and transform into the beautiful Princess Odette.Their pas de deux is an expression of love and beauty. One particularly poignant passage is danced to the stark simplicity of harp and violin alone.
Siegfried moves to shoot Von Rothbart with the crossbow but Odette warns that, if he succeeds, the spell can never be broken. Siegfried swears his vow of eternal love to Odette. Prophetically she warns him that if he breaks his vow, she is doomed to remain a swan forever.
But the dark side is up to no good. Back at the ballroom of the castle later Prince Siegfried dances with princesses from countries around the world. Von Rothbart arrives uninvited with his daughter Odile (the black swan) disguised as Odette (the white swan). Siegfried believes Odile to be his swan princess and swears she is his chosen love. Alas, this dooms Odette.
“The course of true love never did run smooth”.
Odette forgives Siegfried for his unwitting betrayal and they agree to remain together until death. Their love proves stronger than the sorcerer’s dark magic. As the couple throw themselves into the lake Von Rothbart too is destroyed.
Yanela Pinera shows great virtuosity in dancing both roles of Odette and Odile. She exhibits subtle but significant character changes between the two roles, highlighting the “fearful symmetry” of this ballet (to borrow a phrase from William Blake).
The familiar, wonderful music of Tchaikovsky is performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra with a freshness of expression, as if it were opening night in 1877 in old Moscow.
Artistic Director: Li Cunxin
Choreographer: Ben Stevenson OBE after Petipa and Ivanov
Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Nigel Gaynor
Music performed by: Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Costume and Set Designer: Kristian Fredrikson
Lighting Designer: Glenn Hughes
Performances: 5-13 May 2017
Running time: Two hours with one 20-minute interval.
— Matt Foley(Performance seen: Wed 10th May 2017)