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The tour of Matthew Bourne/New Adventures' Swan Lake opens next week in Plymouth.

 

Could you please put your thoughts on this thread?

 

 

Ian has linked this article in the Dance Links Forum:  http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/oct/14/how-we-made-matthew-bourne-swan-lake

 

 

I first saw this Swan Lake in its opening run at Sadler's Wells in 1995 with no preconceptions other than that I had read so many reviews of previous works that I really wanted to see something by Matthew Bourne.  At the time there was a lot of coverage in the dance press of Swan Lake's centenary including some wonderful articles on the histroy of Swan Lake by Giannandrea Poesio.  

 

When I saw this Swan Lake for that first time, because I had been reading so much about Swan Lake, it occurred to me that, to me, the structure is very conventional!  I still believe that so many years down the line.  I would love to hear what other people think about this.  The other thing that struck me was how much sense it made to have male swans.  I love watching water birds and, beautiful and graceful though they are, I always feel that swans because of their strength (and potential aggressiveness) are masculine birds.

 

I am really looking forward to seeing the production at The Lowry in a couple of weeks.

 

Please do join in the conversation!

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When I saw this Swan Lake for that first time, because I had been reading so much about Swan Lake, it occurred to me that, to me, the structure is very conventional!  I still believe that so many years down the line.  I would love to hear what other people think about this.  The other thing that struck me was how much sense it made to have male swans.  I love watching water birds and, beautiful and graceful though they are, I always feel that swans because of their strength (and potential aggressiveness) are masculine birds.

 

Thanks, Janet.  You've taken me back to my own first time of seeing this, again back in 1995, and reminded me just how blown away I was by it when it was new to me.  I think I barely moved a muscle during Act II, so entranced was I by it.  And I agree (and still do) about the inherent masculinity of swans.  It took me several showings of a "normal" Swan Lake before I stopped feeling it was weird seeing women dancing them.

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I love this version of Swan Lake, as well as more traditional ones and am looking forward to seeing it live.  What always blows me away is how "dancey" the Swans are - I just want to join in.  Whatever arguments people may have for and against reworking the classics, Matthew Bourne's work is always a brilliant musical interpretation.  Although I admire much of Matt Eks work, I cannot watch his Giselle as it is so against the feel of the music.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Gosh it's late but I'm just back home in Nottingham from seeing Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in Leicester this evening. I'm buzzing and not sure how I will sleep! I've seen the production several times before in various theatres and with different casts but tonight for me was electric! 

 

Firstly in terms of viewing experience, this was my first visit to Leicester Curve Theatre and I booked without knowing the sight lines or seating layout so was a bit shocked to arrive and find that Row A, where I booked, really is practically on the stage. I have never before been literally so close to dancers performing (within 2 metres, really!), which was an incredible experience. I could see every tiny facial expression by every character and they all just blew me away with emotion, all the way through, it was so powerful. None of them broke character at any time, they were so good.

 

The Swan/Stranger was danced by Jonathan Ollivier and The Prince by Simon Williams. Well I say 'danced' but it was so much more - I was emotionally transported during this performance.....can't find the words really, they were superb. The Prince was so vulnerable he broke my heart right from Scene 1; the Swan/Stranger was so intense, so menacing and aggressive at times it scared me. Just incredible performances by both of them. Really good performances by ice cold Queen, very funny Girlfriend and private secretary - sorry, didn't buy a programme so didn't get their names.

 

The swans were fantastic (great dancing and dramatic performances from all the male swans and again, such intensity of emotion) - sitting so close to the stage for the first time I found out they do in fact hiss in this production! And that was quite intimidating! I was bitten by an aggressive swan as a child so am still a bit nervous of swans in general. That is what Bourne captures - yes swans are graceful but they are also fierce and aggressive. This production has always 'made sense' to me and has much more of a real meaning to me than the classical version (although I love that too for the classical dancing). It makes so much sense to me to have male swans. 

 

Anyway, what a night. Now I remember how truly amazing this production is and why in fact I have already booked tickets to see it 2 more times in 2 more venues....When they announced the tour, I immediately booked 3 venues and then questioned my judgement as to whether it was really worth it. After tonight, I know I was right - yes for me it's worth it. There are no 32 fouettes in this Swan Lake but there is so much more in Matthew Bourne's version. I love it, love it. 

 

The cast this evening at Leicester Curve (sold out all week by the way) got a standing ovation - it happened spontaneously, everyone felt it was right and wanted to do it. And that is a testament to Bourne and his company's achievement with his Swan Lake - it reaches the hearts of people, they feel it, they get it, they respond........

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Excellent write up nottsballetlover; I’ve seen this on TV and I am really unsure about going to see it live. I love Swan Lake and I’m not convinced by the re-interpretation! Your review is changing my mind though. It’s coming to Milton Keynes at the end of January and the seats are already fast disappearing.

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nottsballetlover, thank you for that.  I remember sitting within what I used to refer to as "sweat-flicking distance" of the dancers - I think it was during the West End run at the Dominion Theatre, although it might have been at the Piccadilly - and it is a really powerful experience, as you say, and the hissing can be quite intimidating.  And Ollivier is certainly one of the best Swan/Strangers there's ever been - some people on these boards, I seem to remember, think he's even better than Adam Cooper was originally.  I certainly thought it was pretty much level-pegging when I saw him. 

 

Oh, and buying a programme wouldn't have given you the name of the dancers, unless they've started giving out casting sheets.  They just display the entire cast for each performance in the foyer.

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Almost on topic - if you have a moment after the show, when we've been to the Curve, where the theatre is in the middle of a larger building, after the show they raise the sides so you can see the backstage area.    As non dancing DS's vocation is backstage this was a real experience for me, a glance into his world ... and impressive on any level, to understand the mix of new and old, modern technology and basic manual equipment that goes back hundreds of years.

 

Did you know, for example, that over 50 backstage crew are used to stage BRB's Nutcracker?  Takes 30+ crew just to keep the scenery moving!

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Well Matthew Bourne/New Adventures Swan Lake has just completed a week of performances at the Lowry.

 

I first saw this production in 1995 during it's first run and have seen it on many occasions since.  I was going to post on Tuesday evening after the first night but I am glad I waited until tonight.

 

I think that Matthew Bourne has assembled a wonderful cast for the current tour and the production looks absolutely dazzling.

 

I was going to say that Tuesday evening's performance was the best I have ever seen of this production but then I saw the 2 performances today.

 

This afternoon we saw Glenn Graham as the Swan - his movements were frenetic and almost visceral; he and Sam Archer as the Prince had a terrific rapport.  It was a magnificent performance.

 

On Tuesday evening and tonight we were privileged indeed to see Jonathan Ollivier as The Swan and Simon Williams as The Prince.  If I had posted earlier I would have said that Tuesday's was the best performance I have ever seen of this production but I have got to say that it was surpassed by tonight's!  It was so enthralling that I kept on forgetting to breathe!

 

Jon Ollivier has always had a powerful stage presence and his performance as The Swan (and The Stranger) is quite overwhelming.  I just could not take my eyes off him.  I think his strength and magnetism throughout made the final scene where the other swans had turned on him more shocking and moving  than ever.  Simon Williams gave a beautifully nuanced performance as The Prince.  In their scenes together I was just swept away.  Maddy Brennan and Michela Meazza were both icilly (is that a word?) remote as The Queen and Kerry Biggin was particularly wonderful as The Girlfriend.  The Swans were outstanding.

 

It really was a breath-taking and utterly magnificent performance.

 

Miss this production at your peril!

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Well having just returned from the Lowry, I totally agree with everything nottsballetlover said.

 

I was totally blown away by what I watched tonight.

 

We also saw The Swan/Stranger danced by Jonathon Ollivier and The Prince by Simon Williams and the interaction between the two of them especially in Act 4 was mesmerising and incredibly moving.

 

Tonight The Queen was danced by Michela Meazza, The girlfriend was Anjali Mehra and The Private Secretary, Jack Jones.

 

It was great to see Glenn Graham dance this eve as I have watched him many times with Phoenix Dance.

 

I could happily go and watch this cast again, everyone danced their parts to perfection and the characterisation was upheld throughout.

 

A standing ovation in Salford tonight too, maybe it was for the very pleasurable sight of Jonathon Ollivier in leather trousers in Act 3!!!

 

I would have missed my train for him nottsballetlover hehe :-)

 

Sorry agree with you too Janet, think we were posting at same time. We're you sat on front row of stalls this eve?

Edited by Kitschqueen_1
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Dd and I have to wait till next year to see this , have only seen it on tv so far. DD very excited and can't wait especially as a couple of years ago Adam Cooper was the teacher and judge in the one and only festival she has taken part in. He taught some of the choreography from swan lake and he gave DD a commendation and shook her hand for the way she performed the piece, something that she will remember for ever.

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You are in for a treat! I have also seen the original cast dance it on tv many times but I was not prepared for how powerful it is when seen live.

 

How exciting for your dd to meet Adam Cooper, he was the original Lead Swan but for me now Johnathon Olivier will be forever etched into my memory! <3

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  • 2 weeks later...

Foteini Christofilopoulou was at the photo call at Sadler's Well's for the Matthew Bourne Swan Lake. Here are a couple of example photos:

 

 

11228003224_45a1c23d8c_z.jpg

The Swan - Jonathan Ollivier (Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake)

© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

11228006094_982e139b4b_z.jpg

The Swan - Jonathan Ollivier, The Prince - Sam Archer (Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake)

© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

See more...

Foteini Christofilopoulou - Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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And here are some more pictures from the short photocall with two casts.  Jonathan Ollivier as The Swan with Sam Archer and Simon Williams as The Prince and Madelaine Brennan and Michela Meazza as The Queen.

 

Matthew%2BBourne_s%2BSwan%2BLake%2BDecem
 
Sam Archer - The Prince, Jonathan Ollivier - The Swan and Swans 
 
Matthew+Bourne_s+Swan+Lake+December+2013

 

Michela Meazza - The Queen and Jonathan Ollivier - The Swan 

 

More pictures on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

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I see Sadler's Wells is offering a "pop-up dining experience" in conjunction with the production:

 

"SWAN LAKE POP-UP DINING EXPERIENCE

Enhance your visit to Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake at Sadler's Wells this Christmas with a pre-show festive dinner in the warmth and comfort of the theatre, in a specially created seasonal pop-up restaurant.

Taking inspiration from Matthew Bourne's modern day classic Swan Lake, the restaurant will provide the perfect pre-theatre dining atmosphere, and you have the choice of two or three courses for your meal."

 

Taking a leaf out of the ROH's book?
 

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Is this danced to recorded music, or is there an orchestra? I have seen some other dance performances with recorded music and I felt it was a bit flat - I think I'm beginning to realise that the music is just as much a part of the evening as the dancing, the staging etc and you can't beat a live band....

Graham

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It was danced to recorded music at the Lowry so presumably is for the rest of the tour including Sadler's Wells.  I thought it was a decent recording and it didn't detract from the power and grace of the performance.

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Saw Bourne's Swan Lake again this afternoon at Sadlers. Talked to a lady sitting next to me who said 'I could watch this on a continuous loop'. That pretty much sums up how I feel as well. No wonder they get standing ovations everywhere they go (and did today of course). I was physically shaking and shivering with emotion in parts today - I know that sounds a bit weird but it's so intense as a piece, just wonderful. 

 

They are well into their tour now and the swans have bonded and grown into a much more powerful flock now than when I saw them in Leicester a month ago. Nasty hissing things they are! Today I was focussing much more on their swan-like arm, hand and head movements - remarkable.

 

In Leicester, Simon Williams broke my heart as the Prince. Today he was the Swan/Stranger, Astounding dancer/actor that he can transmorph (is that a word?) so utterly and completely, as these are such different roles. He was powerful and totally absorbing as The Swan and incredibly sensual as The Stranger.

Today was a debut for Andrew Monaghan as The Prince (I know that from Simon Williams Twitter feed) and wow, he was so perfect for the role. So vulnerable and alone from the opening scene, starved of love from his mother, so lost and confused, he had me in floods of tears by the end.

 

The Girlfriend was Kerry Biggin, wonderfully funny. The queen was Madeleine Brennan, chillingly cold towards her son.

 

For Sadlers, they have a live orchestra and it was excellent. Didn't buy a programme so don't know who was conducting but it was pacey and really well played/ conducted stuff. Great to have an orchestra  - it added to the magical emotional atmosphere.

 

Mr Bourne was in the audience this afternoon, along with what looked like some of the alternate cast members, all applauding loads. You can sense there is a real team strength and camaraderie within the company and that really projects in every single performance. 

 

Just wonderful. Sorry, rambling a bit - difficult to put into words this production. So glad it happened in my lifetime. Can't wait until the next one! Looking for more tickets as I speak......travel no object!!

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