Review: Swan Lake at Aylesbury Theatre

PUBLISHED: 09:32 19 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:10 20 February 2013

Review: Swan Lake at Aylesbury Theatre

Review: Swan Lake at Aylesbury Theatre

Reviewer Stephen Bourke enjoys Russian State Ballet's Swan Lake at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.


Russian State Ballet's Swan Lake, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

March 16, 2012

By Stephen Bourke

Without visiting a place it is difficult to avoid the stereotype idea of what it must be like. Thus my view of Siberia as being just cold and grey and very little else leaves me guilty as charged. How pleasant it is then to have such enlightenment when in the presence of the Russian State Ballet of Siberia, performing Tchaikovskys Ballet Swan Lake.

Many of the performers hail from Krasnoyarsk, which is a city in size similar to that of Birmingham; and most graduated from the Krasnoyarsk State Choreographic School and from there to the State Ballet Theatre.

This was a thoroughly delightful performance coming right at the end of their current UK tour and portrayed verve and dynamism with colour, drama and magical ballet; all synonymous with Russian Ballet Companies. With Russians they do it perfectly or not at all, and to see a full theatrical production with a full cast and full orchestra was very gratifying and a tribute to the Waterside Theatre. It seemed that the Bolshoi in Moscow or the Royal Opera House itself would not have been any more graced than by this production.

The opening scene in the Castle Grounds, where a party is being held for Prince Siegfried on his coming of age, is a very colourful spectacle full of sumptuous costumes and mimed heavy drinking. It is here where the Queen presents the Prince with a necklace and reminds him that tomorrow he must choose a bride.

However, it is Scene 2 by the lake that the ballet really captivates. Visions of graceful swans moving around the set with such perfect formations, along with the hauntingly beautiful music in synchronisation are spellbinding. It is here that the Prince meets, and falls in love with Princess Odette who is under the spell of the Evil Genius and destined, along with her flock, to remain as a swan. Only Siegfrieds declaration of true love can save her, which he immediately pledges.

The entire scene is represented by ballet of the highest quality and not just by the principal dancers, although they are absolutely on top form and maintain a very light-hearted manner, contrasting with the drama that is unfolding. Scene 3 has us in the Palace in readiness for the occasion where Siegfried must choose a bride, although, having already made up his mind, he has invited Odette to the ball.

During the ball a succession of potential brides dance for the Prince but he has eyes only for Odette who, by now, he thinks has arrived although as he later realises, too late as it turns out, is really the daughter of the Evil Genius, although one would expect the Black Swan costume might have given him a clue. Again the ballet is of the highest order and beautifully performed. In realisation of his mistake Siegfried rushes to the lake to beg forgiveness from Odette and is destined to sacrifice his life in confrontation with the Evil Genius to break his spell.

All in all an exceptional production performed beautifully and professionally, aided by the flawless Tchaikovsky musical score of the Russian State Ballet Orchestra, I had to remind myself that this was Aylesbury.

  • Find details of shows and book tickets for Aylesbury Waterside Theatre by calling 0844 8717607 or book online at

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