St Petersburg Ballet Theatre: Swan Lake

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Swan Lake Corps de balletSt Petersburg Ballet Theatre have produced an excellent show in their current touring production of Swan Lake. There’s something deep and wondrous about a story that still inspires numerous productions (such as last year’s offering from the Shanghai Ballet) and interpretations – from the ludicrous in Top Secret (1984) to the obsessive in Black Swan (2010).

A more traditional route is taken here, with clean, strong movements and storytelling. Irina Kolesnikova was stunning as both the White Swan, Odette, and the Black Swan, Odile. Her makeup as Odile was hued red and severe, while Odette had a softer appearance.

However, the transformation between the two went beyond the superficial, with Irina’s dancing as the Black Swan sharper than Odette’s, Odile’s cruel taunts torturing the love-sick, Prince Siegfried.

Alexander Volchkov, was delightful as Siegfried. For all the complicated routines, Alexander made his effort look effortless. Aleksey Lisitsin’s Rothbart was a perfect villain in look and form. As wonderful as all the costumes were, Aleksey’s costume – half owl, half diabolical sorcerer – was a standout, his dark wings moving brilliantly on stage.

The remainder of the company also excelled, particularly the myriad of swans that appeared whenever the story found itself at the lakeside. It was compelling to watch their choreographed sequences, but really the swans were always at their most stunning when posing and holding absolutely still.

Perhaps the highlight of the night was the Jester, played in wonderful fashion by Sergei Fedorkov. His playfulness and hilarious physicality was a welcome addition to the main story, and –  based on the applause throughout – was easily a crowd favourite (leads notwithstanding).

Against stunning backdrops, the company succeeded in telling this oft-told story well, giving the audience something fresh and entertaining.

Swan Lake
Princess Theatre, Spring Street, Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 21 June 2018 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 1 July 2018
Information and Bookings: www.st-petersburg-ballet.com

Image: Corp de Ballet in Swan Lake – courtesy of St Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Review: David Collins

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