Birmingham Royal Ballet
The Lowry until 26 September, then Touring
Swan Lake has returned to The Lowry this September – in this lavish, romantic and stunningly beautiful production by the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Swan Lake is arguably the most famous ballet in the classical repertoire, certainly one of ballet’s greatest love stories and a personal favourite of mine. Headed up by David Bintley CBE and with choreography by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and Peter Wright, this production by Birmingham Royal Ballet is one of the finest that you will ever see.
Powerfully illuminated by Tchaikovsky’s striking score, Swan Lake depicts the story of Prince Siegfried’s love for a beautiful princess named Odette. Odette has been cursed by the evil sorcerer Baron von Rothbart and must spend her days as a swan, only returning to human form between midnight and dawn. The sorcerer’s wicked enchantment can only be broken if someone who has never loved before swears an oath of undying love. However, Rothbart further complicates the lovers by introducing a beautiful black swan, Odile.
Prima ballerina, Céline Gittens is captivating playing the twin roles of Odette and Odile – she turns effortlessly, for what seems like an eternity, on one spot alongside Tyrone Singleton, her Prince Siegfried. The whole company are outstanding – but the harmony between the two principles during their pas de deux is spectacular. Singleton demonstrates strength, energy and passion against Gittens’ purity and elegance – both dancers are masterful storytellers.
Philip Prowse’s set design is majestic and detailed from the grand setting of the reception at the castle to the haunting embankment at dawn. The costume design is a marvel – heavy, bejewelled and rich attire for the regal scenes, yet the dancers move with ease. The twinkling white tutu’s worn by the swans give a stark contrast against the medieval backdrop of red, black and gold opulence. Atmospheric lighting design by Peter Teigan fully complements the graceful magic of the dancers on stage by conjuring up a sense of autumn and the haze of sunlight drifting through the trees; the cascading dry ice creates a haunting lakeside setting for the shimmering formation of the spectacular female corps de ballet, twinkling and moving perfectly as one body.
The wonderful sound of the soft padding of pointe shoes across the Lyric Theatre at The Lowry, backed by Tchaikovsky’s legendary lyrical score delivered by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia make this a first rate production – thrilling, beautiful and faultless.
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake continues at the Lowry until Saturday 26 September 2015.
With First Steps: A Child’s Swan Lake on Friday 25 September at 1pm.