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Kiel Ballet - Swan Lake - Kiel - December 2017

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Two of my favourite Northern Ballet dancers joined Kiel Ballet this season so, after a little bit of digging into the company and discovering that another ex-NB favourite was already there, I decided to make a trip to Kiel to see Swan Lake.  The company consists of 20 dancers so I was interested to see what they would make of Swan Lake; I was assuming that with such a small company most, if not all, of the dancers would be on stage.  The Artistic Director and ballet staff are ex-Hamburg Ballet.


I managed to get a seat on the front row of the stalls (row 3 for this production) and the first thing I noticed was the enormous size of the orchestra!  Needless to say that they sounded terrific.  The front row turned out to be perfect too.


The programme was brief and I don't speak any German so I had to trust that I would realise what was going on.  As it happened the action was very easy to follow although I did spend the first 10 minutes or so thinking that I was at a performance of Sleeping Beauty!  The set was minimalist and fashionably grey; it allowed the dancers to make the most of the rather small stage.


Act 1 is all about Odette being born and growing up.  Odile and Rothbart are lurking around from the start.  Rothbart is a magician who seems to have been employed as the entertainment at a party.  He bewitches Odette at the end of act 1.  There is a pause before act 2 which is basically traditional.  I thought the set here was incredibly clever.  With such a small company there were only 8 swans but the use of long angled mirrors above the stage made the stage seem full of swans.  It was a very effective device indeed.  Act 2 was the first time we saw Siegfried.  


After the interval, act 3 was the ball room scene with the foreign princesses wanting to be chosen as a bride for Siegfried, Odile trying to bewitch him and Siegfried realising he has been tricked.  The performance moved seamlessly into act 4 which was mostly Odette and Siegfried.  The swans appear briefly at the fight rages between Siegfried and Rothbart.  The end is ambivalent ... did Odette and Siegfried sacrifice themselves or not???


It's a very attractive company and the performance was excellent.  Ex-NB favourite Victoria Lane Green was just gorgeous as Odette; she was very convincing as the young princess and then tragic as the swan.  Her Siegfried was Amilcar Moret Gonzalez.  Lucia Solari was most notably one of the swans and a cygnet.  Jeremy Curnier led the corps and had some nice solos in act 1.


All in all I had a very successful trip to Kiel and can't wait to go back and see more of this company.  Their rep seems to be made up of cut down versions of the classics and rather interesting looking mixed programmes.




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  • Jan McNulty changed the title to Kiel Ballet - Swan Lake - Kiel - December 2017

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