Natalya Makarova's Swan Lake (1988)

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Credited cast:
Elizabeth Anderton ...
Johnny Eliasen ...
Evelyn Hart ...
Martin James ...
Peter Schaufuss ...


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Did You Know?


Natalia Makarova:  dancer famous for dancing the roles of Odette and Odile in other productions, and who choreographed the production, plays an uncredited bit role as a serving maiden in the opening party scene. See more »


Version of Great Performances: Swan Lake (1998) See more »

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Magically atmospheric and superbly choreographed and danced
1 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In the ballet genre Swan Lake is one of the all-time greats, musically and choreographically and Odette/Odile would be a dream dual role for any ballerina. While not the best Swan Lake on DVD(personal favourite would go to the 1982 performance with Anthony Dowell, this Swan Lake is extremely well done. The hindrances are very few, for me the only ones were the ghost-bird apparition image of Rothbart flying over Odette and Siegfried, which didn't blend well within the sets and seemed tacky, silly and unnecessary(not to mention non-threatening, it would have been far better with him in a non-human costume), and some of the second half- not all- being a little too darkly lit. The camera work also has moments where it is rather misty-eyed but this is a DVD issue and not with the production itself. Onto the numerous things that were so good about this Swan Lake, the sets had a real sense of mystery and magic which made the atmosphere of the story further stronger and the costumes are equally beautiful to look at. The lighting on the most part is very fitting within the mood of each scene. Tchaikovsky's superlative music is performed by an orchestra that is alive to power and nuances and Graham Bond gives an authoritative reading that accommodates the drama while letting it come alive as well. The choreography is still traditional, often very true to Petipa's choreography, yet with some lovely inventive touches, plus it looks very poised and elegant with the difficult steps and balances looking effortless. There is emphasis on the darker aspects of the story but the mystery and magic is never lost as a result, the final scene is also moving- even though a happier ending- and plausible, if that doesn't please you trust me there has been far worse. Evelyn Hart's Odette is mesmerising, remote yet never too cold, her expressions enough to move one to tears. Her lines are very graceful, beautifully balanced and extraordinarily well-controlled, and there are steps where it is easy to lose your balance. Her Odile is not quite as good but she is still cunning and seductive, a great contrast, and dances her just as well, I just connected more with her Odette. Peter Schaufuss is appealingly youthful and masculine, even when allowing Siegfried to go on a journey character-wise Schaufuss is not bland at all. He is a very powerful dancer with his lifts smoother than most leading men, and he does act very well if not as expressively as Rudolf Nureyev and Vladimir Vasiliev. The Corps-De-Ballet are very well-rehearsed and are as dynamic as the dancing, in fact all are good though Rothbart could have been more sinister. All in all, atmospheric, magical and danced and choreographed superbly, a winner. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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