Arts: Dance: More means a great deal less for swans in a flap
SWAN LAKE ROYAL ALBERT HALL LONDON
Monday 21 June 1999
Actually, this business of size is a fallacy. To have 61 swans on stage at once seems to me too much; they look better in the passages where there are fewer of them, spread out in more legible patterns. And although it is an ingenious idea to quadruple the showpiece pas de trois, dancing out in four directions from a central point so that everyone in the audience, spread all around the stage, gets a head-on view, it does look a little odd. It would help if the four male soloists could keep in time with each other and the music. Surely this could have been put right during the five-week Far Eastern tour already undertaken?
Don't get me wrong. Everyone chops and changes Swan Lake nowadays and I have almost given up hope of ever again seeing a good, straightforward production that truly preserves the best of the original. Deane's amendments are no worse, no better than most, only bigger.
This is, after all, supposed to be a love story; the two principals count for a lot more than a large corps de ballet and sprawling ensemble dances. And that's the problem about doing Swan Lake in the Albert Hall and other big halls; the story gets lost among the crowds and the vast distances. And that is quite apart from the distraction created in this performance by the dancers making all their entrances and exits up and down the steep steps that run through the audience.
On opening night even Thomas Edur could not really make anything of the hero, Siegfried. Yes, he looks extremely handsome, dances admirably, and conscientiously paces round trying his best to look involved, but it is all vague and unfocused.
As for Margaret Illmann's Odette-Odile, I wonder what came over her. I've seen her look much better elsewhere in other ballets. With her arms flapping constantly up and down, her dancing was both flamboyant and at times insecure. To say that it was also inexpressive might be unfair. She showed two expressions; open-mouthed and miserable as the Swan Queen, and then open-mouthed and smiling as her wicked double in the middle act.
The cast changes at every performance, so you might strike lucky another night. What isn't likely to improve much is the orchestra, which is stolid and scratchy. Their positioning up above the stage doesn't help the acoustic.
Till 26 June, 0171-589 8212
An enlightening finale for Don DraperTV
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 JK Rowling horrified by Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis's raunchy photoshoot
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 Georgia Army veteran arrested for breaking window to save dog has charges dropped
- 4 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
- 5 Melissa McCarthy's brilliant response to one sexist question posed to her on the red carpet by a male reporter
Cannes Film Festival rejects women from red-carpet screening of pro-LGBT romance 'Carol' for not wearing high heels
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
Love, Cannes film review: Visceral brilliance sets Gasper Noé drama apart from standard porn
Game of Thrones: 10 most controversial moments amid beheadings, blood and incest
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Labour leadership: Battle lines are drawn as members battle over party's ideology at first hustings of the contest
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland