Birmingham Royal Ballet – Swan Lake
5 Star by Charlotte Nelson
“I’ve never been to the ballet” – those were the words you would have heard me utter a few days ago. Swan Lake seemed like the best place to start and when I saw that The Birmingham Royal Ballet were back at the Mayflower, Southampton after 19 years to perform this timeless classic I jumped at the chance.
Initially I was concerned that I wouldn’t follow the story, due to there being no narration or spoken word however, this lavish rendition of this iconic ballet was so well performed that it perfectly told the story of Prince Siegfried. He falls for a Princess who has found herself enchanted by the ruthless Rothbart who has trapped her as a Swan; with the only way out for the pair being a pledge of undying love.
The dancing, to Petipa and Ivanov’s stunning choreography, was fabulous, and all the dancers were perfectly in sync with each other and wowed during some stunning solos. Yasuo Atsuji showed off a variety of different sides to Siegfried and was perfectly partnered with Nao Sakuma who effortlessly switched between Odette (Gentle and Sweet) and Odile (Vindictive). Special mention should be made to the ladies playing the cygnets who were always perfectly in sync and precise. How they all manage to stay on pointe I will never know, making it look effortless in what can only be assumed is an incredibly uncomfortable position.
Phenomenal scenery and well timed lighting make for a spectacular backdrop to this quality production; shown most brilliantly at the beginning of Act 4 when the Swans appear from underneath the mist, decked in the incredibly designed costumes. The costumes, mostly made in White, Black and Red have been seamlessly produced and help distinguish between the characters. Accompanied throughout by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia who spectacularly performed Tchaikovsky’s score; all the elements of this production come together seamlessly to provide the audience with a thoroughly mesmerising few hours of performance.
Swan Lake has finished its run at the Mayflower, however the Birmingham Royal Ballet are back at the Mayflower in Jan 2017 for Cinderella.