Well, Swan Lake last night - wow.
I had forgotten just how dazzling the sets are when you see it live, especially that Act 3 set, which provoked oohs and ahs from the audience and its own ripple of applause. All a fit setting for some downright wonderful dancing from the whole cast, but particularly, of course, from Nunez and Muntagirov. Her Odile was incredible last night - evil, seductive, tantalising, drawing Siegfried in then rejecting him each time at exactly the right moment. Muntagirov portrayed Siegfried perfectly as the gauche, inexperienced young man overwhelmed by what he thinks is love when seduced by Odile.
To say nothing of their dazzling technique. Nunez pulled off at least 5 turns on one of her fouettés - I lost count! - and then couldn’t resist breaking into a grin of accomplishment as people began to applaud! I love that she is so human onstage. And of course, Muntagirov’s sequence of amazing double double tours, landed bang on the nail, and those soaring leaps that seem to hang in the air.... no wonder there was a standing ovation, it was richly deserved.
Excellent support from Sambe as Benno (although I still think Benno has far too much to do in this version), and Magri and Kaneko as the princesses - beautiful dancing from them all.
The Corps were on fine form too and lovely to see Annette Buvoli as a big swan. I’ve been impressed by her lately and I hope we see a lot more of her in solo roles. Also loved Pajdak and Kay in the Czardas.
The orchestra would have been good except for that execrable brass section which always grates on me, and some (to my inexperienced eye) quite sloppy conducting occasionally from Kessels - tempi a bit all over the place, and was it my imagination, or did he start them off too soon for Kaneko’s Act 1 solo? She was still preparing when the music began and she had to move smartly to catch up - which she did very efficiently.
And I sure do dislike that ending. Although Muntagirov made it more moving for me than I had previously found it.