The Australian Ballet’s latest rendition of the traditional Swan Lake is a breathtaking experience from the opening right through to the journey home. Supported by Nicolette Fraillon conducting Tchaikovsky’s legendary score with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, this version strives to combine the traditional version with Graeme Murphy’s ‘reimagining’ of the ballet ten years or so back.
For those not familiar with Swan Lake, here is the synopsis (courtesy of the Company’s website):
“Princess Odette, transformed into a swan by the evil von Rothbart, is able to regain her human form only at night. This cruel spell can only be broken by a vow of eternal love and fidelity. The lonely and disconsolate Prince Siegfried encounters Odette by a lake and swears his love for her. The following evening a ball is held to celebrate Prince Siegfried’s coming of age. Von Rothbart appears with the beguiling Odile. Captivated, Siegfried is seduced by Odile; he breaks his vow, condemning Odette and her fellow maidens to remain swans for eternity. Siegfried flees to the lake to beg forgiveness from Odette but it is too late. As she transforms into a swan for the last time the Prince, bereft at the loss of his beautiful princess, drowns himself in the lake.”
Stephen Baynes’ choreography showcases the dancers amazing ability and agility, whilst remaining true to the production. There were a few moments that were less than sharp for a production of this calibre, but overall the standard of performance ranged from quite good to brilliant. There was a brief moment which made for an audible gasp from the audience at the end of Act 1, where Prince Siegfried almost tripped over his cape during an exit. Thankfully he did not cause injury to himself nor did it interrupt the performance apart from the initial reaction.
The lead dancers in this performance, Adam Bull (Prince) and Amber Scott (Odette), have a chemistry that gives intensity to their moments together on stage, and they set the standard for the rest of the corps who rose to the occasion. The soloists each hold their own in their individual showcases, and look to offer a great future of creative talent to the company.
Of course the lighting by Rachel Burke, and in particular the projections of the swans courtesy of Domenico Bartolo were divine, as were the costumes and set by Hugh Colman.
This much-loved production of Swan Lake is well worth the night out purely for its splendour and elegance, it is a testament to the artistic brilliance of David McAllister and The Australian Ballet. Bravo!
Reviewed by Darren Hassan
Venue: Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 5-11 July 2013
Duration: 2 hrs 45 mins including 20 min interval.
Bookings: Book at BASS
Photo Credit: Amber Scott and Adam Bull in Swan Lake. Photo by Jeff Busby.