Delia Mathews‘ Odette is one of the most exquisite characterisations of the role I have ever had the pleasure to see. (Her Odette is excellent too.) Rarely have I been more moved by the slow story of new love which is the Act II pas de deux. Mathews found the lyricism inherent in the narrative, and matched it with dancing that was beautifully serene. Steps were unrushed and were given “soul”. She found the drama in the dancing.
Yes, there were a few ribbon mishaps. Yes, Peregrine nearly brought down the backcloth and nearly killed two members of the cast in doing so, and yes Lesley Collier is right about Natalia Osipova’s port de bras, still a little Bolshoi and not yet 100% Ashton, but by goodness, I don’t quite care really, when the rest is as charming and lovely as this was.
This was as close to perfect a playing of this most delightful of ballets as I could have wished for. In fact, it was perhaps one of the happiest and most fulfilling times I have had at the Royal Opera House, for ballet, or for opera.
Of all the Swan Lake performances I have seen this season, this was the best. A strong statement but one borne from fact, consideration and some portion of emotion.
This was again a white swan which in some ways failed to take full, tragic flight. Natalia Osipova’s Odette did not fully convince me that she was in distress of despair at finding herself imprisoned, doomed by curse. Instead, there was as with last time, some kind of detachment in the performance. This was dancing (not acting, mind) which lost the emotional thread, even though the performer herself may have been lost (or rather, fully invested) in the role.