Moscow City Ballet – Swan Lake Review

Richmond Theatre – 30 January 2019


Swan Lake is ballet composed by Tchaikovsky, which depicts a tragic love story between a Prince and the Queen of the Swan. Swan Lake is one of the most popular and well known ballets and is being brought to life by Moscow City Ballet. Moscow City Ballet presents Swan Lake at Richmond Theatre.

As a ballet virgin I was excited about seeing this world renowned ballet.

The conductor enter the auditorium to a slight ripple of the string section bow’s tapping against their stands, but no fan fare from the audience. Once the music began I was filled with anticipation for the ballet to begin. The curtain rises and the set was somewhat under whelming, perhaps as the stage is small the space was kept clear of scenery and props for the dancers to fill the stage. They certainly did.

The palace is set for a party to celebrate Prince Siegfield birthday and all the courtiers are there to raise a glass and celebrate. I wasn’t sure initially who the lady in the long dress was but realised she was the Queen informing the Prince it was time to chose a bride. On hearing this the Prince runs off to the lake where he encounters a bevy of swans. The ballet dancers were effortlessly graceful and really en-captured the characteristics of a swan. The Prince is not alone as the evil sorcerer watches his every move. Odette, the Queen of the swans appears and captivates Prince Siegfield. She glided around the stage as if on ice, with delicate legs movements replicating the shiver a swan does with its feathers. Her arms portrayed the neck of a swan, beautiful.

Rothbart the evil sorcerer shadows the Prince’s movements with menace. On returning to the palace the Prince is presented with a number of female suitors from different parts of the world, depicted by the fabulous costumes. This was also a show case for other ballerina’s to shine. I especially liked the Spanish entourage.

I did not know the story and as there are no words spoken I found it a little hard to grasp what was going on. I felt this would of been helped by a little more expression from the dancers, some of the ensemble pieces felt flat as if just going through the motions, with some timings seeming a little off. However, the jester bursts on to the stage and demands your attention. His expressions did convey more of the general plot to me.

The orchestra were faultless and I felt myself drifting away to the lake via the music rather than the dance. The oboe player gave me goose bumps and I was impressed by the harp player, which was in fact a keyboard.

The whole performance was executed with huge talent, expertise and poise. With leaps, lifts and awe-inspiring pirouettes, that left me feeling dizzy just watching. An intriguing introduction to the ballet world, well worth a visit.