Tag Archives: Swan Lake

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

It isn’t hyperbole to say that Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake changed the face of classical dance forever. Retaining Tchaikovsky’s original score, the rest of the ballet is turned completely on its head. For all its fantasy, in Bourne’s hands the story takes on a much more ‘human’ form. Instead of the Odette/Odile/Siegfried triangle it is now the tale of a melancholic, maternally rejected prince whose emotional demise we track through the course of this exquisitely conceived and delivered production. It is a dark and at times sinister tale of repression and sexual fantasy, punctuated throughout with clever humour. It is also, of course, that show with the gender swapped swans: instead of the prettily prancing pens, it’s a herd of predatory and powerful cobs sizzling with electricity and a large dose of menace. In ridding the story of its expected gender roles it has much more power.

Literally seen by millions around the world, it returns in 2019 with a fresh new (though not radically changed) look for the 21st Century at the hands of original designer Lez Brotherston, with a new lighting design from Paule Constable and with a few of the more tired background characters refreshed. This is a show that even without the changes can withstand multiple re-visits.

The stage bristles with life from curtain up and with intriguing choreographic ideas and mesmerising sequences of movement throughout, it is impossible not to be captivated. Dominic North’s Prince is beautifully danced and emotionally poignant and Max Westwell has a formidable presence, ensuring a searing and memorable performance as the Swan/Stranger.

Tchaikovsky’s 1875/6 score is re-ordered here and is sufficiently varied that a modern interpretation of the story can hang on it perfectly. It is fundamentally beautiful whichever order it is played in, and in whatever era its ballet is set.

Ballet snobs will hate it, but you would need to be emotionally and artistically devoid to fail to appreciate the visual spectacle and the sheer originality of storytelling and staging. Nearly a quarter of a century on it remains as utterly perfect as it ever was. Unmissable.

Runs until 9 March 2019 | Image: Contributed

This post was originally written for the Reviews Hub

FEATURE: NARS team up with Scottish Ballet for David Dawson’s innovative Swan Lake

In preparation for their innovative production of David Dawson’s Swan Lake, Scottish Ballet in partnership with NARS makeup invited some guests for a behind the scenes glimpse of the creation of the work which receives its world premiere this month.

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Sophie Martin in rehearsal for David Dawson’s Swan Lake Image: Christina Reilly

David Dawson is a choreographer in demand throughout the world, and his work has been described as visceral and daring, always pushing dancers to their limits, challenging and extending the realms of classical technique. In the rehearsal room Dawson’s infinite eye for detail is clearly apparent, striving for perfection, making minute corrections to ensure his creative vision is represented on stage. Expect strength, darkness and precision as well as lyrical beauty when it premieres at the Theatre Royal.

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Constance Devernay in rehearsal for David Dawson’s Swan Lake. Image: Christina Riley

From the rehearsal room to makeup; the creative artists at NARS have been challenged with creating the dual looks for the infamous black and white swans Odette and Odile. Dawson’s Swan Lake is more naturalistic and the makeup look reflects this, an easily wearable day look for Odette with a nude lip and with the mere change to a strong red lip colour – the dramatic look of Odile. The looks created are also durable and easily recreatable.

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To achieve this stunning change for yourself the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil’s used were: Belle de Jour a flattering universal nude tone and Cruella a vibrant, classic red.

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NARS Belle de Jour

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NARS Cruella

The NARS counter in Frasers Department Store Glasgow offers comprehensive skin care and make up advice. Find out more here.

Scottish Ballet’s Swan Lake is at the Theatre Royal from Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 Apr 2016, for more information, see Scottish Ballet’s own website. To book tickets see the Theatre Royal’s box office on 0844 871 7647.

 

REVIEW: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – King’s Theatre, Glasgow (2014 production)

Matthew Bourne's SWAN LAKE. 15-12-20095*****

Once in a while a production comes along that restores your faith in theatre. For me Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is that show.

Since the original production in 1995, Swan Lake has been breaking records the world over (it is both the longest running ballet in both the West End and Broadway). Now firmly established as a modern classic it returns to Glasgow with a bang at the King’s Theatre this week.

1655987_690164987702206_2014433079_nUsing Tchaikovsky’s original score and the broad plot outline, the focus is redirected from Odette/Odile to the the Prince. Doomed to a life of royal duty, spoiled and saddled with a distant, un-loving mother (with whom he has a mummy fixation), he tries to find his feet in the world: dating unsuitable women, drinking heavily and struggling with his sexuality. He longs desperately for liberty and love. Bourne’s imaginative take injects a vitality, freshness and relevance to the story along with his trademark wit.

1939766_690165437702161_2012253257_nEnhanced by the fiercely imaginative design and staging by Lez Brotherston the production remains (19 years later) superbly atmospheric and brilliantly inventive. The action moving swiftly from palace to opera house to sleezy bar to ballroom with ease. There are visual gags and artistic treats throughout but to go into detail would spoil the surprise.

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1924665_690686037650101_1044259240_nAt first shadowy fragments at the edge of his consciousness, it takes until Act 2 for the now famous male corps de ballet to appear to the Prince. The atmosphere is tangible – you can feel the anticipation grow as we edge closer to the arrival of the swans. Explosive, exhilerating and electrifying – they do not disappoint. The striking sequences of movement are finely detailed, dangerously sexual and utterly spine-tingling.

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1689010_691258464259525_1985150737_nThe superb central performance by Chris Trenfield as The Swan/The Stranger is simply stunning: strong, sensual, masculine and mesmeric. Liam Mower is in turn delicately sensitive and conflicted as the Prince.

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1779039_691771810874857_1350535719_nHeard at the interval “I never want to see a bunch of women tottering around in tutus in Swan lake again”, I can only agree – Bourne leaves you in no doubt that this is how Swan Lake really should be. He also goes some way to redressing the imbalance in ballet: it is a rare treat to see the physicality and artistry of male dancers showcased like this.

Utterly moving and exhilerating it is a rare treat for the soul.

The global phenomenon is still as radical, riveting and richly crafted as it ever was and judging by the thunderous applause and standing ovation from the sell-out audience the public can’t get enough.

This is a work that truly deserves to be called a masterpiece.

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.