Swan Lake … an Odile-less take

MUSIC OWL AWARDS2nd – music; 1st – choreography; 2nd – for dates

When I went: 14 July 2016

Music Owl Hoot rating: 4/5

Location: London Coliseum, London

Performers: Amber Scott (Odette), Adam Bull (Prince Siegfried), Dimitry Azoury (Baroness)

Creative team: Graeme Murphy (director and choreographer), Tchaikovsky (music)

Approximate price: £77

Special points: Famous music

Best bit: Second act set-pieces

If I could change one thing: Include Odile


The ballet:

Swan Lake is probably the most famous ballet there is, partly because of the beautiful and memorable music and partly because it has become a Christmas staple and the subject of an Oscar-winning film (Black Swan) starring Natalie Portman. Different interpretations play with the themes of betrayal and lost love differently; sometimes Odile, the Black Swan, seduces Prince Siegfried and sometimes her father, the Sorcerer, is involved.

This performance:

In Graeme Murphy’s production by the Australian National Ballet, there was no Black Swan character as such, although it could be said that Dimitry Azoury’s Baroness symbolically stepped into this role. The White Swan (Amber Scott as Odette)’s despair was depicted through a descent into madness as as result of the Prince’s infidelity, and there was no Sorcerer character. The parts with Odette as a swan were shown to be part of her imagination, with old-fashioned nurses periodically appearing in a sinister manner to pull her back to reality.

The set pieces in the second act were amazing and made use of the beautiful sets, with rolling water. It almost goes without saying that all the dancing and choreography was impressive and really highlighted the best points of the score.

I found the overall effect to be very moving if dark, and would really like to see other interpretations of this work.

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