Visual Splendour of Swan Lake in Perth

 

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Irina Kolesnikova and Dmitri Akulinin: Odette and Prince Ziegfried in Swan Lake, Act II

 

On Saturday night, my partner and I headed to His Majesty’s to watch the much awaited performance of Swan Lake by the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Ask anyone in the street what ballet they know of, and you are likely to hear them utter the words Swan Lake. Swan Lake is well known and loved and the world famous St Petersburg Ballet Theatre company are touring Perth with this masterpiece for a short season.

As we sat waiting for the performance to begin, members of the audience (myself included) gazed at the beautiful interior of His Majesty’s, the intricate patterned dome above the stalls, the front panelling above the stage and the lush red curtain. The construction of His Majesty’s dates back to the early 1900’s and it is noted as being the only remaining theatre of Edwardian style in Australia.

The performance of Swan Lake is divided into 4 Acts with 2 short intervals – it’s worthwhile picking up a program as it provides a synopsis of the storyline of Swan Lake,  some fascinating background information, and a beautiful pictorial.

The storyline revolves around the main character Prince Siegfried who must find his love and bride to be as he comes of age. Firstly, there’s his Mother to contend with,  he faces treachery along the way due to the machinations of the evil sorcerer Rothbart and his daughter Odile, and worst of all, his true love is a swan by day and a woman by night! Will Siegfried claim his true love Odette and break the spell? Apparently the answer to that question depends on which production of Swan Lake you see - you'll have to go along to the St Petersburg performance to find out!

 

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 The St Petersburg Ballet in Swan Lake Act II with Irina Kolesnikova dancing as Odette

 

The backdrops are enchanting - my personal favourites were the misty backdrops of the forest and lake in Acts 2 and 4. The beautiful scenery provided the perfect setting for the performance, along with the dramatic overtures of Tchaikovsky's score.

Ballet – the poise, grace and sheer talent of the 60 strong team of performers is amazing – you have to see Swan Lake for yourself to appreciate the length and breadth of their talents. Behind that genteelness, poise and grace, what goes on behind the scenes – the many hours and hours of painstaking dedicated training by each artist to craft their skill and hone their art amazes. Along with their grace, the strong physique of the performers and their technical prowess truly astounds - the dancers leap then float across the stage in turns.

The costume sets worn by the performers are beautiful – each Act brought its own unique style with the costume sets - sequins, beaded, bold colours, gentle pastels, and the contrast of the black and white in the lake scenes. The costumes also help to craft the story for the audience – with Rothbart clothed in the inky black darkness appropriate to an evil sorcerer, while our hero and heroine are garbed in stunning white outfits.

Mention needs to be made of the outstanding lead performances Prince Siegfried, Rothbart, and Jester. The jester in his bright costume in his few moments of lighthearted teasing with Prince Siegfried were priceless. But the star of the show is no doubt the Swan Queen Odette and Rothbart's daughter Odile.  Graceful, delicate and ethereal, she truly owns the stage, whether leading her cohorts in the lake scenes as the Swan Queen, or dazzling the court in her Act 3 tour de force as Odile.

Unbelievable is the one word that comes to mind – the magnificence of the performers of St Petersburg Ballet shone through brightly in the breathtaking performance of Swan Lake. The performers received a well deserved extended ovation from the crowd, who were highly appreciative of this chance to witness world class traditional ballet performed to perfection.

Event Details

Venue: His Majesty’s Theatre, Hay Street, Perth

Dates: August 1 to 11, 2013

Performances are available during the daytime and evenings.

Tickets: For tickets, tour and event information for Swan Lake, visit Ticketek.

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