Swan Lake is one of the all-time great ballets that I never tire of watching. This production is watchable, but at the same time I found it lacking. The video directing and editing is too hasty and not intimate enough. The video directing has too many angles where it slices up movements and bodies, too many close-ups from the waist up, too much cutting off the feet, and annoying sweeping crane shots. And the editing reveals too many mistakes like some wobbly transitions out of movements and Irina Golub tripping up(slightly) in the Dance of the Little Swans that could easily have been edited out.
Valery Gergiev's conducting is very musical and has a lot of attention to balance, textures and orchestral detail, and there is some authority as well, but at the same time the overall reading is not theatrical enough and sometimes too plodding especially at the ends of scenes where notes have lengths and pauses that go on for far too long. The big finale should chill the blood and move the heart but is too understated here. I have nothing to criticise the dancing and choreography, the choreography is just terrific and all the dancing is superbly controlled, graceful and flexible. What bothered me was that with a few exceptions there was a lack of personality.
Uliana Lopatkina dances beautifully with an entrance that will send shivers down your spine, but I found her overall performance too remote(even for Odette) and cold. She doesn't convey enough of the vulnerability of Odette and while she fares a little better as Odile she could have been more cunning there too. Danila Korsuntsev again is a technically great dancer and I did like that Siegfried matures in the later acts, but to start with I did find the overall portrayal too light-hearted and boyish. I didn't feel enough of the spark between the two, as well danced as the Pas-De-Deux number(s) are they lack spontaneity and doesn't generate enough warmth. Ilya Kuznetsov's Rothbart is disappointing as well, I found his performance rather on neutral mode with little of the sinister personality coming across. His make-up is pretty appalling as well.
On the plus side, Andrei Ivanov's Joker/Jester is full of character and does very well in tying scenes together. Alexandra Gronskaya is brilliant also as the Queen, beautiful and very benevolent. The Pas-De-Trois is danced very efficiently and charmingly by Irina Golub, Ekaterina Osmolkina and Anton Korsakov with plenty of cleanliness and precision. But the stars are the Corps-De-Ballet, who are just superb. Their lines are immaculate, and full of style and grace. The lakeside scenes are beautifully rendered and it all feels very cohesive. The National dances also fare excellently, the Spanish dance is particularly splendid.
The costumes and sets are beautiful to look at, while the image quality is excellent and the sound equally, excepting a more forward sound for the percussion, spot-on. The choreography as mentioned is wonderful, while the orchestral playing is full of lush pathos and stirring power, so musically it is just as good. Overall, was lacking for me and somewhat of a mixed reception but the production values, orchestral playing, some of the cast and the choreography really bring it up a few notches. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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