‘Swan Lake’ review CANCELLED

Dance, Ballet
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
SWAN LAKE_The Royal Ballet_ROH.Odette_Odile; Akane Takada,Prince; William Bracewell,Queen Mother; Kirsten McNally,Rothbart; Thomas Whitehead,
Photo: Bill Cooper Royal Ballet perform Liam Scarlett's 'Swan Lake'

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

A breathtakingly beautiful new production of the classic from Royal Ballet

Liam Scarlett's 'Swan Lake' was due to return to Royal Opera House in Spring 2020, but has been cancelled due to Covid-19. This review is from its May 2018 premiere. 

The Royal Ballet’s previous production of 'Swan Lake' had served the company for 30 years. It was time for a refresh – but what a daunting task to come up with a new version of the world’s most loved ballet. Luckily, the RB’s artist in residence Liam Scarlett has risen to the challenge.

The setting (a royal court in 1890s Mittel-Europe) and all the important bits of Ivanov and Petipa’s iconic choreography are left intact – the respect for tradition and Tchaikovsky’s luminous score are evident. Scarlett has made his mark with clean lines and clear storytelling. A new prologue explains the princess Odette’s transformation into a swan. Act I is divested of happy peasants, maypole dance and comedy drunk. Instead, we have the sorcerer Von Rothbart hiding in plain sight as a Rasputin-like court adviser to the mourning Queen, and her son, Prince Siegfried, consumed with gloom at being forced to marry.

Act II has been restored to every little girl’s ballet fantasy by having all the swan maidens in tutus instead of fussy knee-length skirts – what a difference it makes to be able to see the intricacies of leg and footwork of the massed rank of corps dancers. Even the national dances of Act III, properly framed, now make some sort of narrative sense, and when Von Rothbart’s dastardly Odile/Black Swan deception is revealed, a phalanx of black swans emerge thrillingly out of the chaos on stage, dancing with malign triumphalism. Most daring is Scarlett’s bleak ending – no celestial love boat for this Siegfried and Odette. Take a tissue.

John Macfarlane’s sets and costumes are lusciously rich and detailed, and there’s a magical camera-dissolve scene change between Acts I and II. The first night cast also dance for the live cinema screening on June 12 – and Marianela Nuñez’s Odette/Odile, honed over her 20-year career at the Royal Ballet, is a breathtaking performance. She luxuriates in every moment of playing the evil temptress Odile, then breaks your heart as the bereft Odette. Vadim Muntagirov’s Siegfried is her perfect anguished foil; the trio of Alexander Campbell, Francesca Hayward and Akane Takada are light as air and utterly commanding in Act I’s carefully preserved pas de trois and in Act III.

Did I come out wanting to put on a tutu and attempt 32 fouettés? Yes, I did. Would I want to watch this production for the next 30 years? I think I just might.

By: Siobhan Murphy



Users say (1)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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1 person listening

Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House is graciously captivating in every single way.

Swan Lake is a magnificent, opulent production filled with elegance and darkness.

It portrays such a strong, powerful image and a dramatic storyline that it truly is breathtaking to see the Royal Ballet perform it immaculately.

The Royal Ballet has put on tremendously exciting ballet productions at the Royal Opera House, but Swan Lake is truly thrilling and stunning to witness live on stage.

I became so transfixed with the magic of Swan Lake’s whimsical production and Tchaikovsky’s memorable music.

Every step of the way the story became stronger and stronger.

I absolutely fell in love with such eye-catching acts and jaw-dropping costumes.

The costumes were definitely a highlight for me. They looked exquisite and incredibly beautiful. Simply speechless just thinking about the costumes. It broadened my imagination and my horizons for sure just looking at how everything came together so perfectly.

It was all rather magically alluring and I loved it.

I would definitely go back again to see it.

I completely recommend everyone to go and see this incredible take on such a beautiful classic.

The evening was definitely memorable. To see all the gracious ballet dancers synchronised with one another was pure magic.

Perfectly performed and the costumes are to die for. There were a dream to look at. Especially the tutus.

It really felt like I was witnessing a real herd of swans gracefully gliding across the stage.

This will probably sound stupid for some, but I just love the sound of a ballet dancer dancing on stage.

The sounds they create with their ballet shoes is extremely satisfying and very intriguing.

Princess Odette is phenomenal and the whole cast were just on point.

The ending was so unexpected and I loved the new twist on the story.

Once again the Royal Ballet has done a tremendous job and hasn’t disappointed at all.

Swan Lake is probably one of my favourite stories when I was growing up, so seeing it come to life was a dream come true.

Don’t miss this gorgeous, charming production.

Love MD.


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