Thursday, January 10, 2008

They lost some swans?

Really did not mean to review the Vilnius 'Swan Lake', having seen it umpteen times, and probably reviewed it before. (Actually, it seems, I haven't).

OK then; like 'La Bayadere', a sumptuous production with beautiful costumes, and the nice Miki Hamanaka and the lovely Nerijus Juska as the main protagonists. The full fairy tale experience, with the traditional steps by Petipa. Orchestra played quite well, under Robertas Servenikas - winds a little rough, as often, but the oboe and the solo violin did their solos beautifully (who is that violinist?).

I thought Ms Hamanaka was a bit perfunctionary in the second act when she was the white swan (Odette); she was more in charge in the third act as the bad, bad, black swan (Odile) - but actually, I preferred the dancer who did this part triumphantly in Tbilisi (whose name continues to escape me). Here Ms Hamanaka was just a little too fragile. Nerijus Juska danced Siegfried beautifully, oh so elegantly in his white tights. Aurelijus Daraskevicius was powerful as the baddy Prince von Rothbart - our Aurelijus somehow seems to be pre-destined to play baddies; in 'Zorba the Greek' he does a great thing with menacing knees. Valerijus Fadejevas was a wonderful fool, though his knees could have been straighter at times; the jumps were a bit limited - but the personality was great - he could even have done it a bit more over the top. I see he is getting on a bit.

The swans - well yes, the swans - they were beautiful, but I could have sworn that on one side of the stage were two less than on the other side. Hmmm. I suspect the original version may have had more than 20 or so swans. In the four little swans thing (think Morecambe and Wise, if you are British) I got the impression that one of the cygnets was new. You know how they all do identical movements, while their hands are crossed in front of them? So all the feet go and the heads bob up and down and sideways, and they never look at each other. Imagine the horror of being a ballerina in this and suddenly you look into the eyes of the person next to you - which of you is in the wrong? It was only the tiniest moment, though.

The house was packed, but the applause for the conductor - oh dear! I sat at the wrong side of the auditorium and was horrified when I suddenly saw him standing on his podium ready for take-off. After the interval I concentrated on his entrance, spotted it, and had to do a long solo-applause before people launched in! Much like Molly Flatt of the Guardian who does lone standing ovations.