Saturday 3 March 2012

Swan Lake Magic at Ipswich Regent

The Ipswich Regent Theatre was full of the magic of Swan Lake on the evening of Friday 24th February 2012 as The Russian State Ballet Siberia brought this great Romantic Ballet to the stage in the heart of Suffolk. I made the journey to Ipswich greatly looking forward to this wonderful event.

Tchaikovsky composed the music for Swan Lake in 1876 with choreography by Julius Reisinger in 1877. In 1895 a portion of the ballet was remounted as a memorial to Tchaikovsky by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. Sergei Bobrov has been Artistic Director of The Russian State Ballet of Siberia since 2002 and his production is in the style and mood of nineteenth century classicism.

In the castle grounds Benno von Somerstein and other friends of Prince Siegfried are waiting for his arrival to celebrate his coming of age. A feast begins when the Prince and his tutor Wolfgang appear. The Queen reminds the Prince that tomorrow he must formally choose his bride at the ball. When the party finishes the Prince tells Benno and Wolfgang that he wants to remain for a little longer on his own.

Prince Siegfried is magically drawn to the banks of the lake where a flock of white swans are swimming. One of the Swans tells the Prince that she is Princess Odette and that she and her companions have been bewitched by the Evil Genius who in the form of a huge black bird is constantly guarding them. By day the girls are fated to take the form of swans and only at night are they restored to their human form. The spell will be broken when a man falls in love with the Princess.

They dance for the Prince who is captivated by Odette and swears to save her from the magic of the Evil Genius. Odette warns him that the Evil Genius can only be overthrown when a man is prepared to sacrifice his life for love. The Prince invites Odette to the ball.

The Master of Ceremonies gives his final orders as people arrive for the ball. The Queen and Prince Siegfried greet their guests and the brides appear and dance for the Prince. He finds them all charming and beautiful but none to whom he can swear eternal love.

Fanfares announce the arrival of Von Rothbart and his daughter Odile who resembles Odette. The Prince becomes captivated by her. Odette tries to remind him of the Evil Genius and his dangerous magic but the Prince does not see her.

Convinced that Odile and Odette are the same girl Prince Siegfried chooses Odile as his bride. He suddenly sees Odette and realises that he has been deceived. Von Rothbart and Odile disappear leaving Odette destined to remain forever in the powers of the Evil Genius.

The Prince begs Odette to forgive him for his unwitting betrayal swearing his love. He is ready to sacrifice his life to defeat the Evil Genius and rushes into the waves carrying the tyrant bird with him. Both die in the cold waters of the mysterious lake leaving Odette grieving for her beloved Prince.

With brilliant performances from Maria Kuimova as Odette and Odile along with Kirill Litvinenko as Prince Siegfried we were all truly captivated and taken into the world of Swan Lake. The Russian State Ballet of Siberia are a ballet company of the highest quality. Alexander Yudasin conducted the Orchestra who played the familiar music by Tchaikovsky that is always very moving to hear. This was a night that everyone in attendance will remember for a long time.

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