Swan Lake ballet. Music by Tchaikovsky. Book by V. P. Begitchev and Vasily Geltzer. "Tragic" choreography by Rudolf Nureyev in the tradition of Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa. Directed 2014 by Manuel Legris at the Vienna State Opera. Stars Vladimir Shishov (Prince Siegfried); Olga Esina (Odette/Odile); Dagmar Kronberger (the Queen); Eno Peci (Rothbart); Alice Ferenze, Kiyoka Hashimoto, Masayu Kimoto, and Greig Matthews (the Prince's Friends); Gala Jovanovic, Oxana Kiyanenko, Laura Nistor, and Prisca Zeisel (The Big Swans); Maria Alati, Ioanna Avraam, Eszter Ledán, and Rui Tamai (The Cygnets); Oxana Kyanenko, Flavia Soares, Alexandru Tcacenco, and Andrey Teterin (Spanish Dancers); Kiyoka Hashimoto and Richard Szabó (Neapolitan Dancers); Alena Klochkova and Alexis Forabosco (Polish Dancers); Alice Firenze and Mihail Sosnovschi (Hungarian Dancers); Maria Alati, Ioanna Avraam, Eszter Ledán, Reina Sawai, Rui Tamai, and Nina Tonoli (The Young Noble Ladies); Christoph Wenzel (The Prince's Tutor); Gabor Oberegger (The Majordomo); and the Corps de ballet and Students of the Ballet Academy of the Wiener Staatsoper. Alexander Ingram conducts the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Sets and costumes designed by Luisa Spinatelli assisted by Monia Torchia; lighting by Marion Hewlett; staging by Manuel Legris, Alice Necsea, Lukas Gaudernak, and Jean Christophe Lesage; directed for TV by Michael Beyer. Released 2014, this Blu-ray disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A+
Rudolf Nureyev created his version of Swan Lake in 1964 for the Vienna State Ballet. When the folks at Vienna decided to revive and record it in 2014, they knew their recording would have to compete with the much-admired Swan Lake produced in 2005 by François Roussillon at the Paris Opera Ballet (starring José Martinez/Agnes Letestu).
First Vienna management boosted dancer morale with the decision to forgo guest stars and work solely in-house. This helped to free up money to design and make new sets and costumes. I think director Manuel Legris and lighting designer Marion Hewlett worked early with videographer Michael Beyer to give him good access and light. Beyer responded by making an exceptionally beautiful ballet video. He begins his show with nature shots of magnificent real swans and he adds unusual images such as the statute below. This stone swan serves right now as PC wallpaper in my office:
The Vienna Siegfried (Vladimir Shishov) seems to be the happy, healthy chap that any Prince should be:
But is depicting Siegfried as such a handsome hunk consistent with his fate to come? Contrast Shishov with the image of José Martinez below as Siegfried in the Paris Opera Ballet show. From the opening moments on you see Siegfried depicted as a troubled, even neurotic, soul headed for disaster:
Siegfried enjoys his informal birthday party with friends:
But after the party, Siegfried dances a solo piece in which he does seems to be worried about something:
The Tutor urges Siegfried to go hunting at the lake where he might find swans. Siegfried heads out with his new crossbow and is astonished to meet a beautiful woman at the lake. The woman explains her predicament and how she needs a man to love her and be faithful to boot!