Swan Lake, Russian State Ballet of Siberia, Ipswich Regent, Friday, March 11

The dance of the four cygnets from the Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia's production of

The dance of the four cygnets from the Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia's production of Swan Lake - Credit: Archant

The success of any production of the ballet Swan Lake has to rest on the performance of the dual role of Odette, the princess condemned by a magician’s spell to spend her daylight hours as a white swan, and her evil double, Odile, the seductive “Black Swan”.

This role is the ballerina’s Everest.

The success of any production of the ballet Swan Lake has to rest on the performance of the dual role of Odette, the princess condemned by a magician’s spell to spend her daylight hours as a white swan, and her evil double, Odile, the seductive “Black Swan”. This role is the ballerina’s Everest.

On Friday night, our tutu-ed mountaineer with the Siberian ballet was raven-haired, sorrowful-eyed Ekaterina Bulgatova. She made an exquisite Odette - her expressive arms and restrained technique suited the role perfectly - and even though her Odile could perhaps have projected a more malign seductiveness, and despite a momentary loss of balance at the end of the immensely difficult sequence of turns in the “Black Swan” pas de deux, these did not detract from a performance of genuine quality.

As Siegfried, the hapless prince who falls for Odette only to be tricked into betraying her by the superficial charms of the Black Swan, promising Yury Kudryavtsev made an elegant hero. If slightly overshadowed by the flashier style of Georgiy Bolsnovskiy as his friend, Benno, in the opening scene. He came into his own in the lake-side scene, with his sure and sensitive partnering of Bulgatova in the beautiful “white” pas de deux.


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In the same scene, the four cygnets garnered much applause for the immaculate precision of their famous dance.

The production has its flaws. Choreographer Sergei Bobriov over-complicates the story by imposing a psychological interpretation which makes the wicked sorcerer, Von Rothbart, a kind of projection of the dark side of Siegfried’s personality, the ending is confusing - does Siegfried drown in the lake? - and, to be honest, after some years of touring, the sets are starting to look a little tired. The company has recently mounted a brand new production back home in Krasnoyarsk, and perhaps we will be able to see that one when the company returns to the UK next year. It seems, though, that this Tchaikovsky masterpiece runs in the blood of these talented dancers and musicians, and I was left with the feeling that nobody does it better than the Russians.

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JAMES HAYWARD

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