Review: BALLET Swan Lake Royal Opera House, London
Tuesday 21 January 1997
Deborah Bull, who excels in demanding, plotless works, is not ideally suited to the role of Odette / Odile. It is one of the toughest in the repertoire, not only technically but dramatically because it demands tragic lyricism from the white swan queen and bravura sexuality from the black. The dual role allows the dancer to run the gamut of her acting skills but occasionally requires a greater dramatic range (and more stamina) than many dancers are capable of. Most dancers tend to polarise into Odettes or Odiles. Indeed, Natalia Makarova so despaired of finding dancers who could embrace the dualism of Odette / Odile as convincingly as she had that in her 1988 production for London Festival Ballet she cast the roles for two different dancers. Deborah Bull dances the roles as if Odette were the false woman constructed by Von Rothbart to lure Siegfried, and Odile the cynical reality. Odette is just Odile keeping a straight face minus the lipstick.
Bull had an additional hurdle to face in the shape of an unfamiliar and slightly inexperienced partner. That she was able to get through the pas de deux intact is a testament to her seasoned professionalism. We must assume that Anthony Dowell would hardly have pushed Urlezaga on stage in a state of unreadiness so the hiccups must have been acute stage fright. Lifts seemed a particular hardship and in the third act some were missed out entirely. He had less trouble with his solos: his pirouettes, fast and furious, were boring a neat little hole in the floor. I should perhaps note that the packed house - and these people had paid to see Darcey Bussell and Adam Cooper, remember - roared with delight.
Urlezaga certainly looked the part and undoubtedly made every effort to dance it. However, his lightning promotion to princely status would seem slightly premature at this stage in his Royal Ballet career. He was still down to dance with Darcey Bussell this evening but she is apparently not fully recovered so he gets a second chance with Deborah Bull instead. It can only be an improvement.
Tonight, Weds, Fri, 29 Jan, 3 Feb, Royal Opera House, London WC2. Booking: 0171-304 4000
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 4 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Cannes Film Festival rejects women from red-carpet screening of pro-LGBT romance 'Carol' for not wearing high heels
'We didn't really think we'd get away with it': The astonishing story of how two young Irish men completed an audacious £7m art heist
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Eurovision Song Contest 2015 final: As Google celebrates the competition with a Doodle, here are 7 things you might not know
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
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
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland