Lina Seveliova is a true ballerina. Her Odette perfectly captured the gentle preening and serenity of the swan, contrasting the seductive flash and technical brilliance of her dazzling Odile.
Bill Stephens OAM, Canberra Critics Circle,
15th September 2019
For many people “Swan Lake” IS classical ballet. No surprise then that these two Canberra performances by The Imperial Russian Ballet Company have been sold out for weeks, providing an auspicious start to an extensive tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Through its annual visits over the years with colourful productions of classical ballet favourites, the company, under the artistic directorship of Gediminas Taranda, has built up a well-earned reputation for the quality of its dancers and its excellent production values.
This year’s production of “Swan Lake” lives up to that reputation. It’s a very traditional Russian production in which the four scenes are presented in two halves. Danced to an excellent recorded soundtrack, the ballet opens with a party in the garden of Prince Siegfried’s castle where the guest gather in preparation for a ball that night at which Siegfried is to select a bride from four young women selected by his mother.
This scene introduces the company by providing opportunity for a series of well-staged ensemble dances which are beautifully executed by the dancers costumed in pretty softly flowing costumes in muted shades. The costumes for the ballroom scene retain the muted palette with the soloists costumed in brilliant reds, blacks and golds for the specialty dances.
For the most part, this production adheres to the original Petipa choreography, but Taranda is himself an inventive choreographer, and has taken the opportunity to add pizzazz, particularly to the ensemble dances in the opening scene, and in the ballroom, with masterful flourishes and groupings to heighten the excitement and spectacle.
He wisely left Petipa’s original choreography intact however for both the white scenes, and with 18 swans moving in perfect unison, filling the stage, costumed in elegant, gently drooping tutus, the effect is as mesmerising as you could wish.
Dancing the dual roles of Odette-Odile, Lina Seveliova is a true ballerina. Beautiful placement, graceful arms and back, impeccably phrased dancing, she appeared completely engrossed in each of her characters. Her Odette perfectly captured the gentle preening and serenity of the swan, contrasting the seductive flash and technical brilliance of her dazzling Odile.
Offering a rather under-stated interpretation as Prince Siegfried, Nariman Bekzhanov nevertheless partnered Seveliova attentively and negotiated the technical demands of the role with aplomb, while elegant Vladimir Dorofeev successfully captured the dark menace of the evil Sorcerer.
The national dances in the ballroom scene provided opportunity for tantalising glimpses of the depth of talent among the handsome well-drilled ensemble which impressed with the attention paid to the detail of the choreography. Outstanding, not only because of their eye-catching red costumes, The two Jokers, Denys Simon and Ruslan Soengoshev, danced with irresistible verve, with Simon displaying particular panache with his characterisation.
Between now and the 27th October, The Imperial Russian Ballet Company will visit 22 centres throughout Australia during their 2019 tour, before heading to New Zealand. If they head your way, don’t miss the opportunity to see this lovely production.
Reviewed by Bill Stephens – Canberra Critics Circle
From Russia With Love.
Damien Lee, Brisbane Spectrum,
11th October 2019
There was a buzz of excitement at the Ipswich Civic Centre last Friday night, as local ballet enthusiasts prepared to take in the majesty and technical brilliance of the Imperial Russian Ballet Company as they presented “Swan Lake” to the appreciative crowd.
Leading this company of 40 dancers, selected from the major ballet schools of Russia, is the Bolshoi’s Gediminas Taranda, who has tweaked and scaled this production so that it can play as many regional centres as possible.
“Swan Lake” is one of the iconic and much loved classical ballets of all time. While this production largely follows the traditional storyline and choreography, Taranda has added his own flair and interpretations in part which certainly brings this piece into a new era. The light and shade gains the perfect response from laughter to emotional sighs, as they audience is swept from the palace to the lake and back again.
Lina Seveliova, dancing the dual roles of Odette-Odile is an absolute tour de force on stage. Her principal ballerina status is well deserved as she displays such strength and skill in her performance. Seveliova was captivating from start to finish.
The ensemble of dancers are well drilled, rehearsed and get the opportunity to showcase their talents individually as the ballet progresses. In true Russian style, their technique is precise, and well executed, and they all look beautiful to watch.
The costumes, scenery and lighting is befitting any company, and bring the colour and energy to the ballet. The company fills the stage in a brilliant performance of ballet, all set to the sweeping Tchaikovsky score. The much anticipated “Dance of the Cygnets” didn’t disappoint scoring a heartfelt round of applause from the appreciative audience.
As the Company was taking their bows, the audience were cheering, yelling for more and bravo. I agree whole heartedly. Bravo Russian Imperial Ballet for bringing Swan Lake to the regions. More, More and More please as I know many leaving the Ipswich Civic Centre were already thinking toward 2020 and the next chance to see the company present “The Nutcracker” and “Don Quixote.”
Don’t miss this company, it’s ballet at its finest that will leave you wanting more.
Reviewed by Damien Lee – Brisbane Spectrum