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Swan Lake

Music by Tchaikovsky

English National Ballet

Palace Theatre, Manchester

8 October 2014

English National Ballet's Swan Lake.  Photo by Annabel Moeller.

English National Ballet’s Swan Lake. Photo by Annabel Moeller.

This is a thrilling production of the classic ballet.

All the essential elements are present: beautiful performances of choreography by Petipa, Ivanov and Ashton; a vibrant rendition of Tchaikovsky’s rich and complex score by the Orchestra of English National Ballet; an elegant and erotic swan/princess in Alina Cojocaru and with Alejandro Virelles taking full command of the role of the gallant Prince Siegfried.  Both principals, incidentally, making their debut in these roles – it didn’t show at all.

What the production had as well, though, was a prominent place for Rothbart, the raven/sorcerer (James Streeter).  You were made much more aware here of his power, of the circumstance that the princess was in thrall to him.  Many times she was drawn by the flap of his wings as towards a vortex.

As well as the central drama – with the odds stacked against Siegfried and Odette, how can their love prevail? – the ballet offers myriad occasions for exhilarating dance: one of its great strengths, exploited to the full by the troupe.

It is, in truth, a wonderful production and is touring the UK until January 2015.  Further details can be found here.