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Which Swan Lake to see


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Little DD has seen numerous ballets now (mainly performed by the ENB as we are family linked to one of the dancers).  She is desperate to see Swan Lake as she feels it is 'the' ballet to watch.

 

As a result of her view (wrong or not), I want to make a real occasion of it and do it as a special treat with decent seats etc.

 

Looking for views on who the best company are to perform it and where - happy to wait for it to come round so doesnt have to be current season

 

Thanks in advance!

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Hello!  Hmmmm.....we are a bit spoiled for choice this coming winter because ENB are doing their proscenium version of the ballet at the Coliseum in the New Year, and the Royal Ballet are doing their Swan Lake at more or less the same time.  Both would be lovely for a little girl's first viewing.  The RB's version is very lush and grand, but ENB's is impressive too, and both are beautifully danced by the companies concerned.  If you want to splurge on tickets most people's budgets would go further in the Coli, but that is of course entirely up to you.  Of course, if you want to wait until ENB next does Swan Lake at the Albert Hall, that is also very impressive regarding sheer numbers of swans, and is best viewed from a bit high up. 

 

As you have just missed the Maryinsky Ballet's Swan Lakes in the summer, and bearing in mind that the Bolshoi is not coming here next summer, I would suggest striking now while the iron is hot, otherwise you might have a bit of wait on your hands!

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I'd go for ENB's, myself, production-wise.  It's very straightforward and handsome-looking, but then I am one of the many non-fans of the RB production :)

 

And of course you might want to look at the quality of the Odette-Odiles you could get :)

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I might be a relatively lonely dissenting voice here, but I was slightly underwhelmed by ENB's production. That might have been because I wasn't a big fan of the dancer playing Siegfried, though. I caught RB's on Sky Arts and was riveted by it, partly due to Zenaida Yanowsky who was utterly mesmerising as both sides of the swan. In either case, I would say you won't be disappointed. My recommendation would be to pick the favourite dancer you'd like to see in the O/O role, as that will make all the difference. 

 

As an aside, BRB's Swan Lake is terrific (although it won't be on this season). After being slightly disappointed by the Siegfried in ENB's show, I specifically booked in to see Iain Mackay in BRB's version and he was predictably awesome (as with all the male dancers at BRB). 

Edited by BristolBillyBob
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I have seen English National Ballet's Swan Lake in Manchester and commented on it elsewhere. I would recommend it.

 

I am also going to catch the Royal Ballet's on the 14 Feb. I can't think of a better way of celebrating Valentine's day which coincides with my birthday.

 

But there are two others I would like to see: Ballet Theatre UK's  when it comes North and van Dantzig's for the Dutch National Ballet which is my favourite.

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I think the advice provided in post no. seven is most prudent in and of itself.   If you do have a chance to catch Sir Peter Wright's fine production for BRB it (IMHO) currently tops all of the 'current' UK versions. (K. O'Hare has suggested that the Royal may be in line for a SL renewal in the not-too-distant future.)   In terms of European versions, I would heartily recommend Mukhamedov's created for the National Ballet of Poland in Warsaw.  I found it riveting and was fascinated by the ideas employed.  If you are looking at one of the smaller companies that travel around the UK - and will be doing so next year - I also found the concepts employed in Moscow City Ballet's Swan Lake to be most fulfilling.  They will be doing that production in Richmond in January I believe.  Richmond Theatre itself is lovely and, like the Coliseum, is a Matchem house.  This may (I'm not certain) be a less expensive alternative depending on the size of your family/party.      

Edited by Bruce Wall
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But the Siberian Swan Lake (I think it was) is less than wonderful - and slightly odd.

 

Capybara, personally I'm less concerned about the designs of the RB's production (although I don't like most of them) than I am about some of the stage behaviour: drunkenness (virtually to the point of throwing up, depending on the dancer), princes thwacking guests on the backsides with swords, that sort of thing - all totally inappropriate to a Classical ballet, however fitting they might be for Manon or Mayerling (and that's dubious!)

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(K. O'Hare has suggested that the Royal may be in line for a SL renewal in the not-too-distant future.

 

Can anyone confirm this?  If so, it is what I have been waiting for.  I love Swan Lake (who doesn't?) but the current production is fussy, over-designed, full of totally inappropriate behaviour and much too DARK.  And the costumes, yikes!  The ballroom scene appears to be populated by extras from The Masque of the Red Death.   And yes, I know black tights are very flattering but it helps if you can see a dancer's legs. 

 

The current production dates from 1987 and we have had about 4 different Beauties since then.  It's more than high time that Swan Lake was revisited and redesigned.  It doesn't have to be completely redone - choreographically it is fine but the costumes and sets must be changed and all that larking around mentioned above erased.  Oh and please no more flying monkeys.  Above all, PLEASE, improve the lighting so we can see what we are paying for!

 

Moderators, you may wish to put this in another thread as I am sure others will want to add their suggestions.

 

 

 

Linda

Edited by loveclassics
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Couldn't agree more. However, faced at the Ballet Association with a question as to whether a new production of Swan Lake was planned, Kevin appeared non-committal.

 

I was present for this BA session as well and K. O'Hare - when asked about the potential for a new mounting of SL - smiled broadly - gave a little laugh - and, leaning back, said 'that might be on the cards'.  He did in fact all but wink.  Given the casual nature of the specific forum I don't think he could have been rightfully any more positive than he was (given his responsibility to ROH Trustees, etc.)

 

I am wondering - with Christopher Wheeldon's fantastic success with The Winter's Tale - and his RB Associate position - if they might not adopt a working of his SL developments (now fostered for both Pennsylvania Ballet and the Joffrey) to claim as their next RB own. 

 

Interesting to note that almost universally all the crits of last night's launch of the new Scarlett contribution for ABT's 75th Anniversary Gala focus on its dark lighting - which many critics now seem to feel is becoming an all to regular feature of his oeuvre.  Certainly under the harsh security of rehearsal lighting in the Clore I very much enjoyed the segment rehearsed of the The Age of Anxiety during World Ballet Day.  It will be most telling to see how that particular piece brightens (or not) on the bigger ROH stage.   

Edited by Bruce Wall
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I was at Bishops Stortford tonight!

Thought it great production, loved the ending. Liked the fact that it kept true to classical roots whilst making it work for a small touring company. What they do with their non existent budget is amazing.

A very good introduction to Swan Lake, only 2 hours long, just right for a first timer.

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Southerndancemum, depending on your dd age I notice that there are children workshops associated with the Spring tour of ENB My First Ballet: Swan Lake. Along with learning some dance there is also the opportunity to look at the costumes and scenery.

 

Sorry with the update on our computer I can't see how to post links.

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I am wondering - with Christopher Wheeldon's fantastic success with The Winter's Tale - and his RB Associate position - if they might not adopt a working of his SL developments (now fostered for both Pennsylvania Ballet and the Joffrey) to claim as their next RB own. 

 

You could see it in Europe, too: at Karlsruhe Ballet in Germany, where it premiered in 2009 - photo gallery here, trailer here

It's not on this season's schedule, but I'm sure they'll bring it back. Wheeldon's SL is made for smaller companies, at Karlsruhe they only had some 18 or 19 swans.

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I am wondering - with Christopher Wheeldon's fantastic success with The Winter's Tale - and his RB Associate position - if they might not adopt a working of his SL developments (now fostered for both Pennsylvania Ballet and the Joffrey) to claim as their next RB own. 

 

It is a good production, but I have trouble imagining the RB would go for one that deviates that much from the accepted/usual story. If there is a new prosuction, I assume it would be a lot more classical (and as has been mentioned, it's made for a smaller company, not that this couldn't be adapted).

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Something you may want to consider is the costuming of the swans. At RBS the swans are dressed in long romantic tutus, at ENB they are in 'short' tutus.....from a younger girls perspective this may be important to her. As my friend know I do love a tutu and somehow the longer romantic tutu fior me just doesn't fit with my own childhood image of the swans in Swan Lake!

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