Raising the barre
Liam Scarlett may not have torn up the rule book, but his new production is nothing short of a triumph.
Emma Byrne, Evening Standard
Royal Opera House Artist in Residence, Liam Scarlett’s acclaimed version of Swan Lake makes a triumphant return for its first revival. From the pas de chat Dance of the Cygnets to Tchaikovsky’s melodic masterpiece, it has always one of the most well-known, technically challenging and emotionally charged ballets. In this fresh incarnation, Marius Petipa’s and Lev Ivanov’s classical work is skilfully interwoven with Scarlett’s contemporary choreography to create a spellbinding modern spectacle.
The Royal Ballet Company in full feather
Scarlett’s much applauded 2018 production of Swan Lake at the Opera House was a newtake on tradition. The Company was a vision of ivory plumage, and John Macfarlane’s grand designs transformed the stage from the candles and gilded columns of the Prince’s palace, to an ethereal lake beneath a full moon. It’s a spectacular staging that carries through to the 2020 revival – and allows Tchaikovsky’s symphonic score to truly take flight.
A regal retelling
A tragic romance, Swan Lake tells the story of Odette – the princess cursed to be a swan by day, only returning to her human form after dark. Although she captures the heart of Prince Siegfried, the star-crossed pair are ensnared by the devious Von Rothbart – a character fleshed out in Scarlett’s version. He tricks the besotted Prince into declaring his love for the sorcerer’s daughter, in disguise.
The climactic pas de deux deserves a review in itself, as does all the superlative dancing from the production’s opening cast. But Scarlett’s directorial best comes in his handling of the ballet’s close.
Judith Mackrell, The Guardian
5 March - 16 May 2020
Royal Opera House
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