SWAN LAKE at Bath Theatre Royal

Saint Petersburg Classical Ballet’s primary appeal to UK audiences is in offering unrefined presentations of the classics, that is, without any confusing contemporary twists. Their present offering is thus straight out of the drawer marked, ‘Classic’s’. There is nonetheless plenty of refinement in technique. The current production is substantially a repeat of last year’s featuring the same principle dancers, save for Evgeny Silakov who takes the role of the evil sorcerer, Rothbart. (My original review here)

The two principals, Mr.Vadim Lolenko and Ms Natalya Romanova have achieved a technical assurance with each other that produces, in their lakeside pas de deux, a filigree delicacy that perfectly matches the melancholic mood of the bewitched princess, Odette, and her cohort of swans. Ms.Romanova again shows that mastery of technique that matches her fluidity of movement to the emotional narrative of Tchaikovsky’s score. She moves as if in something more substantial than mere air, something altogether more viscous that allows her to shape the stuff around her and seems to hold her whilst facilitating her perfect articulation.

Mr. Lolenko gives us that detached air of nobility that is the hallmark of many a Ruritanian prince. Let a masculine ‘grace’ be his watchword; thus does he inspect the bevy of hopeful maidens arranged by his mother for his perusal and thus does he execute his solos.  His athleticism is controlled and refined, a perfect foil and match for the lyrical delicacy of Ms.Romanova as Odette.

Mr Silakov delivered the dark heart of the story with a vigorous malevolence and it occurred to me it would be interesting to see a production that alternated with the tragic ending and the triumph of Rothbart and the sacrifice of true love.

The size restrictions of the Theatre Royal stage were again evident with some of the villagers and court scenes looking dangerously close to rush hour on the Paddington concourse. A little culling would not go amiss and would eradicate the little moments of bumping that were the result of overstuffing the stage with talent on a couple of occasions.

As before, Tchaikovsy’s music was well served by the Hungarian Sinfonietta Orchestra under Vadim Perevoznikov.

The production remains, for a new generation of ballet lovers, a wonderful introduction to one of the great works of the genre. There is no room for disappointment in a no nonsense interpretation that is served by some outstanding talent which is a delight to experience.    ★★★★☆   Graham Wyles  7th February 2018