Swan Lake at the English National Ballet Online
The English National Ballet is giving dance lovers a chance to catch up with some of the best performances presented over the years. The latest is Tchaikovsky’s ultimate ballet classic Swan Lake. The Derek Deane production features lead principals Isaac Hernandez and Jurgita Dronina as protagonists Prince Siegfried and Odette. Originally created in 1997 for the Royal Albert Hall and then re-adapted for a standard stage, the performance was recorded at the Liverpool Empire in 2018 during the ENB’s yearly national tour. The music was performed live by the English National Ballet Philharmonic.
The story begins with sorcerer Rothbart casting a spell on Odette, condemning her to live as a swan by day and only return to her human form at night. Prince Siegfried meets Odette by the enchanted lake of tears as he goes hunting one night, and he learns her sad story. He attempts to save her but encounters many an obstacle. Rothbart tricks him by presenting him with Odile, the black swan, whose resemblance with Odette deceives the prince and leads him to select her as his promised bride, inadvertently condemning Odette to her tragic fate.
The most striking elements of the production are the beautifully designed set and costumes, which often make the show look like a classical painting in motion, as well as the harmonious ensemble choreographies, which are truly mesmerising. The tale itself has its dramatic slumps. These gaps in plot development are partly filled with dynamic pieces such as the court dances and graceful compositions of the swans by the lakeside. While technically strong, the dancers never quite stir the emotional chords and the leading couple lacks chemistry. Overall, however, Deane’s Swan Lake is a feast for the eyes and every fan of the genre must seize the opportunity to enjoy this show.
Photo: Laurent Leotardo