Swan Lake is a ballet I simply adore, and have done since 6 years old. So my expectations are always high when watching a production of it. Of the DVDs seen so far of Swan Lake, none came across as a disgrace. I was mixed and a little disappointed by this production, it's still worth watching but the Makarova/Dowell production is still the one to beat. The production values was where I was most mixed, Acts 2 and 4 were good and atmospherically done, but Act 1 was over-complicated and dense and Act 3 looked as though it was channelling Phantom of the Opera to overblown effect. The costumes are good though, in particular I liked how simple those for the Neapolitan dance were, in fact the one exception was Rothbart who was made up to look like a goofy-looking owl. The choreography is impeccable and generally tasteful, the Pas-De-Deux is just beautiful and the Neapolitan dances were effective in their simplicity. The divertissments were also well done. The climax was treated very indifferently however and the business with the tutor and the girls irrelevant. Tchaikovsky's score is phenomenal, the orchestral playing is lush, energetic and powerful when the score calls for it and the conducting helps to make a very incisive and intelligent reading. The dancing is as good as the choreography, Tiago Soares while hunky is ill at ease but the Corps-De-Ballet are very graceful and Marianela Nunez is innocent and moving as Odette and cunning and seductive as Odile with technically superb dancing. So overall, a mixed reception. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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