DANCE Swan Lake Royal Albert Hall, London
Saturday 31 May 1997
But I could have told you all that without seeing the show. The question is not whether ENB's Swan Lake succeeds as a conventional production (which is obviously impossible) but whether it works for the venue and audience for which it was designed (which it does).
The Albert Hall has its own performance logic: a solo Sinatra can spellbind; military bands can thrill the blood; but medium-sized spectacle is less sure of its effects. Derek Deane's choreography is certainly most successful when he is handling large ensembles, which he does with most style and skill in the white acts. The house grew dark, the stage glowed with Patrick Woodroffe's ghostly blue light, the floor was eerily carpeted with dry ice, and gradually the stage filled with a monstrous regiment of wildfowl. Of the 60 women on show only 27 are regular members of the Olivier Award- winning company. The hired help (whose availability for work is for the most part unsurprising) were cunningly deployed so that the core corps (as it were) did the tricky stuff while the other ranks did a bit of synchronised flapping on the sidelines. The result was rather magnificent.
Meanwhile, at the heart of this feathered phalanx nestled what for many punters was the Sole Purpose of Visit. Altynai Asylmuratova dances Odette/ Odile with a grandeur and intelligence that reminds us that there is rather more to this ballet than white tutus and dry ice. While our eyes are upon her we believe absolutely in the strange tale of the tragic princess trapped forever in the plumage of a swan. Her phrasing is miraculous and she coped superbly with the need to twist and turn the choreography to give everyone a tantalising glimpse of her artistry. Her sexy, wicked and resourceful Odile captivated Roberto Bolle's handsome Siegfried, leaving him oblivious to the real Odette perched 45-feet up in the organ pipes. At the climax to the ballroom pas de deux a shudder of triumph ran across her torso and a thrill of pleasure ran through the audience.
Ballet directors are obsessed with the idea of new audiences: Christopher Gable says Northern Ballet has found one; Anthony Dowell is going to Hammersmith to look for one. Derek Deane has even got the Princess of Wales talking about this strange tribe of ballet virgins waiting to be seduced by the right marketing mix. To judge from Thursday's excitable response and the murmur of satisfaction emanating from the departing crowd, I think some of Deane's converts could well be on for more of the same. Whether that turns out to be conventional ballet or merely the arena variety remains to be seen.
To 11 June (0171-589 8212)
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas TV guide 2013: Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
The Harry Hill Movie, film review: Screenplay isn't so much offbeat as utterly feeble
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >