Swan Lake review, Royal Opera House: The Swan Queen and Prince trade bright chemistry as well as dazzling turns

The Royal Ballet’s ‘Swan Lake’ revival puts a little less weight on the wicked magician Rothbart, and on the Prince’s friend Benno

Zoe Anderson
Wednesday 02 March 2022 14:06
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<p>Yasmine Naghdi steps in for a recovering Marianela Nuñez as the Swan Queen</p>

Yasmine Naghdi steps in for a recovering Marianela Nuñez as the Swan Queen

The Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake makes a confident return to the stage despite the disruptions of Covid-19. On opening night, Yasmine Naghdi steps in for a recovering Marianela Nuñez, giving a sensitive performance as the Swan Queen.

Created in 2018, this Swan Lake is a major undertaking, with sumptuous designs by John Macfarlane and production by Liam Scarlett. It’s a staging designed to last for decades – which tends to mean revisions over time. That’s harder for this first revival, shadowed by Scarlett’s tragic death last year. This revival is essentially the same, though there’s a little less weight on the wicked magician Rothbart, and on Prince Siegfried’s friend Benno.

The production’s greatest strength is its second act, with a traditional text and Macfarlane’s painterly, moonlit lake. The swans sweep in: there’s scale and power to the dancing of the corps de ballet, set off by sharp footwork. It’s a fine frame for Naghdi and Vadim Muntagirov as her prince.

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