Jump to content

Cranko's Swan Lake seen recently in Stuttgart

Recommended Posts

Though it may be not of immediate interest to most members of the forum, I do want to share my views on Cranko’s Swan Lake, which I saw in Stuttgart in Dec. Saw 3 casts: On the opening evening Alicia Amatriain/Friedemann Vogel, both under par that evening, Ami Morita/Alex McGowan, making commendable debuts, , Elisa Badenes/David Moore, the best Odette/Odile of the 3 and David Moore convincing, though not an outstanding bravura dancer.


An unusual version with a focus on Siegfried as a lonely soul. In the 1st act happier with the ordinary folk, but not being truly part of them, utterly devoid of contact with the court and with a nasty, domineering mother.

The 3rd act was for me a hugh disappointment, lacking in charm, character, the waltz and dance of the prospective brides. The court consisted of non-participating extras standing idly on an upper balcony. The brides-to-be from 4 countries dived into the national dances without much ado, giving the activities the flavour of a meat parade. Also some staging inconsistencies, with the Queen Mother and Sigfried being seated at the back of the stage and the dances facing the audience. The Neapolitan princess had a less spectacular part than her partner, who was throwing out turns and spins ad infinitum. The Queen Mother here was a totally wooden figure. And the smallish stage does not lend itself well to the pyrotechnics required of Siegfried.

That being said, the rapport between Odile and her father was prominent, interestingly emphasising her as his instrument.


The limitations however were compensated for by a compellingly tragic 4th act, where he drowned and she continued her existence as swan/human. Unlke the ROH version, where a feisty Odette found the strength to kill herself, Odette here could not climb out of her despair and the choreography reflected this. The last pdd was heart-breakingly beautiful, with Odette collapsing over and over again, images of a ragdoll with the stuffing beaten out of her.

But one last irritation: the strips of material brought on to simulate waves were so skimpy that the stage boards were barely covered. I’m thinking at this point of the Nureyev version with similar end, but where generous, billowing waves of material and, of late dry ice too, made a convincing watery grave.

I suppose that Cranko back in 1963 had few resources, Stuttgart then being a small, almost unknown ensemble, with only a world-class success (Romeo and Juliet) to its books. But surely now, I would venture to guess, a refurbishing is called for.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks for your review, ChMeBa, which I found very interesting.

I wish I could see Cranko's Swan Lake for myself.  Cranko is my all time favourite choreographer, mainly for his Taming of the Shrew though I also love his Onegin.


The emphasis on Siegtried reminds me a lot of David Dawson' Swan Lake for Scottish Ballet which I saw in Liverpool on 3 June 2016 and reviewed in Terpsichore  on the 4th. Dawson, like Cranko, has spent much of his career on the Continent where he has a big following.   I see several other parallels between Dawson and Cranko. 


 I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to Swan Lake.   I don't like to see change for change's sake, but I did like Dawson's and, from what you say, I think I might well like Cranko's.

I am in any case a fan of the Stuttgart Ballet and have been ever since the days of Richard Cragun and Marcia Haydee even though I don't get to see that company very often.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...