Quite who suggested the subject matter of Virginia Woolf for a new ballet, and quite why they did so, is anyone’s guess*. Still good art can come from unlikely places, or can be sourced from curious themes, and McGregor’s art suceeds: this Woolf works. It sketches powerful moments – indeed in some places, it achieves a rare beauty all of its own. Parts I and III of this triptych are by far the strongest. Part II feels like the campest thing ever committed to stage. (More on that later.)
Here’s a brief reflection on the Royal Ballet’s Swans and other denizens of Swan Lake I have seen this season live.
The Operatunist’s Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake 2015 awards 😀
- Best Odette overall: Salenko/Nunez tie (Salenko for dance, Nunez for acting)
- Best Odile: Osipova
- Best all rounder: Nunez
- Best Act II pdd: Obraztsova
- Best acted Odette: Nunez, no contest.
- Best acted Siegfried: Golding from far away. Less so in cinema.
- Best Siegfried: all have good traits. I will go with Golding.
- Best Pas De Trois guy: James Hay
- Best PDT girls: Yuhui Choe and Francesca Hayward
- Best Neapolitan boy: James Hay
- Best Neapolitan girl: Yasmine Naghdi
- Best von Rothbart: (c’mon…no contest) GARY AVIS!
- Best couple I saw: Salenko and McRae
- Ideal couple: Golding and Obraztsova
- Honourable mentions: Melissa Hamilton as one of Two Swans.
- Best conductor: Boris Gruzin ^___^
- Most disappointing: Osipova’s Odette.
- Most impressive: Osipova’s Odile 😀
- Golding’s Waltz moment, and his leap to the death
- Salenko’s beating wings from deep cambré
- Nunez’s re-enchantment and her ‘wait, boy.’ finger in the mime
- James Hay’s gorgeous tours
- Melissa Hamilton and sisters rising on pointe to circle Odette
- Talented baby swans!
- Osipova’s crazy fouetté combo
- Takada’s échappés
- Obraztsova’s lyricism and time stopping lifts
- McRae’s billion mile an hour turns in Act III
- The jocular cook
- Girls on pointe on stools
- The beautiful Act II curtain
- The very lovely (at times rickety) swansleigh to heaven
- Vadim Muntagirov
- the Rothbart imps (one being swatted with a fan)
- Marriott’s Rothbart’s ‘WOOO!’ face at the Queen
- Hearing Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous music so much.
I hope the Dowell production informs any new production. Rumour has it that Liam Scarlett may be attached to the project. Although Act I is very fussy, and very orange and Act III is too dark for some, literally – it is I gather textually pure. For this reason I am glad to have seen it.
Let’s keep the Ashton Neapolitan and the baby swans. Doing away with the Rothbart costume would be ideal – as would a wholesale tidying up of costumes in the non white acts. (Too much distraction!) I wouldn’t mine tulle or tutu for the swans. Let’s not get too neoclassical for the choreography. The Dowell text is largely fine, as is the musical editing. Ok, so the tutor could probably get kicked but no Jester, and no fishdives either! Set it back in fairytale-land. And, keep the sad ending!
(Hope you’re reading, Liam. I’ll be glad to help out. :P)
This was a “Lake” I was looking forward to seeing, not least for the prodigious (ever growing) talents of Vadim Muntagirov, but also for the fact that it would be my last viewing of the Royal Ballet’s venerable production.
What a delight to have this piece danced so well. Yes, yes, I know it’s a hodgepodge of music, barely Tchaikovsky at all some would suggest and would that it were not, because he’s rolling in his grave at the traducement of this cut and pasted score etc., etc. Sure, the music is a bit hit and miss, and the conducting too but I came for the dancing (or rather, for Vadim Muntagirov) and went home happy.