Wednesday, January 28, 2015
The 2009 performance by the Australian ballet with choreography by Graeme Murphy
It is amazing how well choreographers can convey a story without words. The sets were rather minimalist but fitted in well enough. And Tchaikovsky's music is of course always superb. Once again the men were mostly in modern suits rather than in the 19th century garb that Tchaikovsky would have envisioned but it was not too distracting in the circumstances.
When people comment on Swan Lake they mostly comment on the dancing, not the story. Yet the story is an engaging one. It is the old old story of a married man and the "other" woman. I rather related to that for reasons that are probably too indelicate to discuss. I have been cheerfully monogamous for most of my life but there were other episodes in times past. And I rather liked the "other" woman in the ballet. I would have had her.
But there was some fabulous dancing. I didn't realize the heights to which Australian dancers could rise. I found the asylum scene in Act 2 disturbing. Knowing of the real life abuses in psychiatric institutions it was a bit too real for me. And the exaggerated wimples on the nuns were both amusing and yet appropriate somehow. Kudos to the costume department.
The scene when the newly-wed wife catches her husband kissing the other woman amused me. In response to being caught the danseur does the strangest dance in order to get himself out of the situation. It reminded me of John Cleese in the Ministry of Silly Walks. It rather cracked me up. I imagine it was supposed to portray his agony of soul or some such but I could not take it seriously at all.
But definitely a credit-worthy production overall.