Swan Lake, presented by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia, Regent Theatre, Ipswich, Saturday March 7

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, Swan Lake

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, Swan Lake - Credit: Archant

The ballet world is awash with Swan Lakes at the moment.

Saturday evening’s performance was the Russian company’s 41st since 30 December, and both English National Ballet and the Royal Ballet have had their own versions running in London.

Cinema goers all over the country can see the Royal’s production on March 17 when it is beamed live from Covent Garden. And here were the Russians from Siberia in Ipswich on Saturday showing us what makes this the most popular ballet in the world: its universal themes of love, betrayal and forgiveness, the dramatic struggle between good and evil, represented by the pure white Swan Queen and the evil Black Swan, and that magnificent Tchaikovsky score.

Theirs is not is a high end production like the Royal’s, with its massive budget, but the Siberian production has been spruced up since I saw it last – some of the costumes have been refurbished – and the stage picture looks good with its flock of 18 swan maidens moving in graceful synchronicity beside the misty lake.

Marina Volkova as both Odette, the forlorn tragic Swan Queen, and Odile, her glamorous and seductive doppelganger, and Egor Osokin as Prince Siegfried made a romantic and elegant central couple. Both of them are tall - she used her long arms to beautiful effect, and his height gave extra elevation to his jumps (even if his landings weren’t always the tidiest). Their lakeside duet omitted some of the high lifts, and so lost some impact, but they made up for this with some bravura dancing in the Black Swan Pas de Deux in Act III, with Volkova making light work of the famous 32 fouettés.


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Fine support came from Daniil Kostylev as the villainous Von Rothbart, played here as a sort of evil nemesis stalking the Prince, and the quartet of cygnets, danced with near-perfect precision, was a great crowd-pleaser.

Two stars not on stage were the solo violinist, with her excellent playing of the Russian Dance (a bonus of this version as it is not normally included in Western productions) and the solo trumpeter in the Neapolitan Dance.

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JAMES HAYWARD

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