Friday, January 11

The Moscow City Ballet presents Swan Lake

Ringing in the New Year at the Sheffield Lyceum the Moscow City Ballet present Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The world famous ballet tells a tale of tragic romance between the Prince Siegfried and the beautiful but cursed Swan Queen, Odette.  The current tour features additional choreography and accompanying orchestra from renowned artistic director Victor Smirnov–Golovanov.  Smirnov-Golovanov is celebrated for ‘encouraging his dancers to use their own character delineation’. The result is an utterly stunning performance.

The dancers mesmerise and captivate the audience with precision movement and unspeakable elegance. Dances are executed with an accuracy which is sometimes breath-taking. The entire ensemble deliver a truly enchanting performance, the most impressive coming from Lilya Oryekhova who plays both Odette and Odile. With the challenging task of playing two opposites our female lead does a remarkable job and gives a stand out performance. The dancing is flawless and indeed swan-like, while the acting creates an almost sinister multiplicity in Oryekhova’s two parts.

Along with perfectly executed dancing the entire ensemble deliver sterling acting performances which tell the story magnificently, surpassing the need for spoken dialogue. Special mention must go to the Court Jester who played his part fantastically, contributing light comic relief without speaking a word.

Costumes designed by Russian artist Elisaveta Dvorkina mirror the grandeur and beauty of the story. Only the costumes manage to steal any attention from the magnificent grace of the dancers. The cygnets and the swans are truly mesmerising. Disguised in striking white and black plumage they captivate the audience and contribute a final flourish to the performance.

In the beautiful Lyceum theatre the atmosphere is palpable. The orchestra supply a vivid and robust account of the Tchaikovsky score generating a perfect fusion of music and movement.

As a first time ballet-goer I was completely fascinated by a love story which transcends language and time. The dancers tell the story in a way that articulating laughter and delight mixed with intense tragedy and pain. The entire production, from the choreography to the costumes, was an utter triumph. The expression of this tragic love story left the audience spellbound and the final applause justifiably brought the house down. 

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