Swan Lake – a story of love and loss, selfishness and sacrifice, with the traditional lack of female empowerment. But by far the most powerful performance of the evening was Elena Svinko’s incredible balance, poise and grace as Odette the swan (and Odile the black swan).
Georgiy Bolsunovskiy convincingly portrayed the naivety and gullibility of Prince Siegfried, and was positively resplendent in a pair of white tights that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. However he was overshadowed by the evil raven, Baron Rothbart, performed by Maksim Ikonostasov, exuding malevolence from head to toe.
Ivan Karnaukhov outshone them both by bringing boundless energy to the role of Benno, routinely jumping to dizzying heights.
Even with the Prince’s mind-boggling choice of legwear, the prize for most impressive costume goes to the Queen (Vera Surovtseva), in jewellery that sparkled as she moved and a royal blue velvet dress with a dangerously long train, adeptly avoided by the other performers. It is she who gives the young Prince a choice of who to marry out of 5 exotic princesses. We are treated to a display from brides of 5 different nations – I found most of them difficult to identify, although the Spanish bride (Anna Amelchenko) and her accompanying matadors made a valiant effort to meld the passion and oomph of flamenco with the steady power and grace of ballet.
The Russian State Ballet Orchestra brought Tchaikovsky’s music to life. In Act I, the orchestra certainly provided the lion’s share of emotion in the performance, however the dancers rallied in Act II, to appropriately convey the celebration of love and the mourning of its loss.
Low-budget graphics projected on to the back of the stage were an interesting choice, reminiscent of the electronic Christmas cards my aunt sends me each year. Otherwise the scenery remained largely unchanged for the duration. Good use of light, shadow and colour helped the audience to understand the dynamics of the characters interactions.
The piece as a whole followed a fairly traditional pattern of the introduction of a character, followed by their spotlight segment, and then an interaction with other characters. This system offered structure and clarity to the plot, but did at times detract from the flow of the performance.
Despite one or two criticisms, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and would recommend it as a classic performance of a traditional ballet.
© Starbuck Friend 2018
The Russian State Ballet of Siberia will be performing Romeo and Juliet tonight (Weds 4th April 2018) at 7:30pm before continuing on their UK tour. Tickets £25.50-£36.50. For more info or to BOOK ONLINE www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.