Swan Lake at London Coliseum
Russian ballet is famous for its excellence and is always a pleasure to view. Tchaikovsky’s charming classic Swan Lake – performed by the eminent St Petersburg Ballet Theatre – is presented in all its magnificent glory at the London Coliseum this summer. Featuring some of world’s most illustrious dancers, the piece is a lavish feast of visual beauty and grace accompanied by the magical score of an iconic composer.
Prima ballerina Irina Kolesnikova admirably portrays shy heroine Princess Odette, as well as her manipulative, seductive nemesis Odile. Her agile finesse expresses vulnerable delicacy as Odette is turned into a swan by maleficent magician Rothbart to thwart her union with her beloved Prince Siegfried (Denis Rodkin) – and Odile, who resembles her, is sent to deceive and lure Siegfried away from her. True to the original narrative, this production maintains the traditional happy ending rather than the more melancholy finale of contemporary interpretations.
Kolesnikova’s moving, captivating and flawless performance is one of the highlights of this show. Incorporating tremendous pure emotion into the role combined with intuitively exquisite movement, she is the Meryl Streep of ballet. Another extraordinary dancer, Bolshoi Ballet’s Denis Rodkin portrays the prince with artful finesse. Dimitry Akulinin is terrific as the wicked Rothbart. That he has also played the part of Siegfried with great success is a tribute to his versatility.
The choreography is brilliant: every scene enacted is precise, elegant and visually powerful, with suspense increasing throughout via astounding and emotionally gripping movement, gesture and Tchaikovsky’s enchanting music (thanks to the impeccable English National Opera Orchestra, conducted by Vadim Nikitin). The complex dance steps are discerningly timed and beautifully performed as a dazzling ocean of swans reveals a flowing tapestry, an almost comical evil sorcerer enacts his wiles, or lovers Odette and Siegfried intertwine in a poignant pas de deux. Stage design is grand and spectacular, with resplendent colour and texture, and costuming is radiantly stunning.
Tchaikovsky’s well known and cherished work is a joy for both adults and children. A truly lovely classic realised with a rendition that is as sublime and exceptional as one could expect from a masterpiece, St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake is a treat to behold.
Photo: St Petersburg Ballet Theatre
Swan Lake is at London Coliseum from 21st August until 2nd September 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.