Swan LakeSaint Petersburg Classic Ballet @ Storyhouse 30/1/20
One of the most iconic ballets graces the stage at Storyhouse tonight as we welcome the young stars of the Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet to Chester.
Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, SWAN LAKE – a ballet that was originally snubbed by audiences when it first premiered in 1877 – continues to entertain with its timeless tale of love and loss. A doomed princess and her maidens are put under a treacherous spell by a sorcerer named Rothbart and damned to an eternity living life in daylight as swans on a lake filled with their own tears.
Under the expert direction of Marina Medvetskaya, founder of the Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet company and former prima ballerina, it is no surprise that the performance is flawlessly choreographed. The set, simple yet elegant, glows behind the dancers, a small castle sitting atop a striking group of mountains. In true celebration of the artform, a live orchestra complements the performance, adding classical purity to this traditional Russian staging and heralding the eventual dramatic conflicts.
From its opening sequence, we are introduced to our protagonist. Perhaps the most pivotal sequence of the entire performance, and one that young ballerinas worldwide dream of undertaking, is the princess Odette/Odile lead role. The room falls silent as the elegance of Odette, portrayed by Alina Volobueva, sweeps across the stage. Not only is her presentation stunning, with white feathers placed delicately on her crown, but she carries a world of emotion in her eyes; the true sadness of what has happened to her can be felt by the audience as her fate is kept in the hands of her one true love, Prince Siegfried. Her role as both black and white swan shows a high level of dedication, true expressiveness. The acting is breath-taking.
The performance throughout is filled with a cast of other light-hearted characters, such as the irresistibly amusing jester, astounding us with his charm and perfectly-timed pirouettes. Most intimidating, however, are the piercing white eyes and stark make-up of Rothbart, which heightens the deviousness of his character as he dominates the stage with terror.
As Swan Lake celebrates its 143rd anniversary this month, the timeless piece still brings delight to new audiences around the world with its glimmer of magic. The Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet have brought their own innovative approach to a much-loved tradition. Simple, yet powerful.