REVIEW: Swan Lake – St. Petersburg State Conservatory

I  don’t often go to the ballet but one memorable visit was a trip to Russia where I saw Swan Lake.

The performance was at The Rimsky-Korsakov St.Petersburg State Conservatory (Санкт-Петербургская государственная консерватория имени Н. А. Римского-Корсакова) which was the first public school of  music in Russia and was opened in 1862.

The “Russian Ballet Theatre” is the company based here, founded in 1990 by Boris  Bruskin a former Kirov dancer and now run by Bruskin’s wife Galina Petrovskaya  and son Alexander (both ex-Kirov as well), this small troupe, with its  dancers from all regions of Russia, tours regularly in Europe. Due to the popularity of the  classical ballet repertoire among tourists this company’s repertoire has been  solidified in recent years to focus on the essentials: “Swan Lake”, “Nutcracker”, and “Giselle”. The troupe performs these classics with frequent  guest artists from the Maryinsky (formerly Kirov) Ballet.

On the warm July evening, us  tourists and locals who filled into the Soviet-style hall of the Conservatory  were in for a treat.

At just two and a half hours,  this pared down version of the classic is meant to address tourists’ needs: but this briefer performance  nonetheless communicated the essentials, and under the baton of Ilya  Derbilov the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory orchestra played Tchaikovsky’s  unforgettable score beautifully. Russian Ballet Theatre provides an  option for those wishing to see international level soloists in a more condensed version of the classics and depending on the casting, this  could well be worth the viewer’s while.