And it could be argued that Derek Deane’s in-the-round production for English National Ballet, where he was artistic director in the 1990s, is THE ultimate treatment of this very special ballet.
Rarely has a dance work owned a space as totally as Deane’s Swan Lake in-the-round owns the cavernous Royal Albert Hall. Here a flurry of 60 swans (augmented from the traditional 32) turn the vast arena into the eponymous lake – the realm of the villainous sorcerer Von Rothbart – creating dazzling patterns which can be discerned and enjoyed from the stalls – lakeside, as it were – as well as from the RAH’s higher reaches.
Moodily lit by Howard Harrison, Acts II and IV (known and the white Acts) are transporting, and offer the ideal setting for the love story between the bewitched Swan Princess, Odette, and Prince Siegfried.
Swan Lake is a ballet that beautifully balances the intimacy of its love duets with the magic and vibrancy of the ensemble pieces. Acts I and III take place in the palace where Siegfried is heir to the throne, and Peter Farmer has designed eye-filling, opulent costumes, as well as using the RAH’s Victorian splendour to create the illusion of a resplendent court.
For this glorious and much-loved show, which has gained acclaim wherever in the world it’s been performed since its 1997 debut, English National Ballet’s company is augmented to 120 dancers, all meticulously marshalled, prompting The Observer to comment of the swans: ‘To see them move and breathe as one is profoundly touching.’
Tchaikovsky’s score is performed live by the English National Ballet Philharmonic.
It may seem like a long way away, but ENB’s Swan Lake in-the-round is a much loved work and tickets will sell fast, so it makes sense to book well in advance.
|What||ENB, Swan Lake in-the-round 2020 Royal Albert Hall|
|Where||The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
18 Jun 20 – 28 Jun 20, 19:30 Mats Sat 20, 27; Sun 21, 28; Thur 25 at 14:30 Dur.: 2 hours and 50 mins inc two intervals
|Price||£15-£90 (luxury packages available)|
|Website||Click here to book|