Swan Lake

Swan Lake ballet. Music by Tchaikovsky. Book by V. P. Begitchev and Vasily Geltzer. Original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. Konstantin Sergeyev directed this performance, with his own revised choreography, in 2006 at the Mariinsky Theater in St Petersburg. Stars Ulyana Lopatkina (Odette/Odile), Danila Korsuntsev (Prince Siegfried), Alexandra Gronskaya (The Queen), Pyotr Stasiunas (The Tutor), Andrei Ivanov (Jester), Ilya Kuznetsov (Rothbart). Other dancers are Irina Golub, Yekaterina Osmolkina, and Anton Korsakov (Prince's Friends); Yevgenia Obraztsova, Svetlana Ivanova, Irina Golub, and Olesya Novikova (Little Swans); Alina Somova, Viktoria Tereshkina, Yekaterina Osmolkina, and Tatiana Tkachenko (Big Swans); Xenia Ostreikovskaya and Daria Sukhorukova (Two Swans); Ketevan Papava, Elena Bazhenova, Islom Baimuradov, and  Andrei Merkuriev (Spanish Dance); Yana Selina and Maxim Khrebtov (Neapolitan Dance);  Polina Rassadina and Artem Yachmennikov (Hungarian Dance); Galina Rakhmanova, Viktoria Kutepova, Marianna Pavlova, Yulia Slivkina, Andrei Yakovlev, Dmitry Sharapov, Alexander Klimov, and Karen Ioannisyan (Mazurka). Valery Gergiev conducts the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Ballet. Set design by Simon Virsaladze; costumes by Galina Solovieva; directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon; produced for TV by Giles Oakley and Peter Maniura. Released  2008, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: B

The Nureyev Swan Lake (Paris Opera Ballet) , with it's allegory of the lost of innumerable civilizations, is the standard to which all other recordings of Swan Lake must be conpared. Subject Mariinsky version of Swan Lake has no such sweeping pretentions: it just tells the story nicely in a way all can easily enjoy it.

Our Prince Siegfried here (Danila Korsuntsev) is a nice guy who enjoying his carefree bachelor years:

The birthday party with Siegfried's friends. In the lower left you see the jester (Andrei Ivanov). He's an astonishingly agile and fast dancer who is constantly pushing himself into the action to try to steal the show:

The Queen (Alexandra Gronskaya):

Another character dancer, Pyotr Stasiunas, is the blundering tutor. Here the Jester is getting him drunk. After this, the tutor will spend most of party trying, with no success, to get a pretty girl to kiss him. He does get, however, 2 nice roses:

The pas de trois danced (from left to right) by Yekaterina Osmolkina, Anton Korsakov, and Irina Golub. (Irina went on later to be a star in Jewels and The Nutcracker.)

Can you guess this is the bad guy Rothbart (Ilya Kuznetsov)?

Ulyana Lopatkina as Odette. She has the same department-store-manikin expression throughout the whole of Act 1:

The girls in the corps are pretty, but they could use more rehearsal. Here the front rank is too far forward. Files 3 and 4 are too far apart, breaking the single rectangular formation into two smaller rectangles. Their unison dancing doesn't have the same precision you see with the Paris Opera Ballet. Still, the Act 1 white scene is quite beautiful:

Now we are in Act 2 with the Queen's formal party for Siegfried. Of course there are various dances. Then the Queen has a surprise for her son: he gets to pick a bride from six beautiful princesses! These dancers have expression on their faces like real girls.  Here is the the princess I would have picked:

The Queen doesn't know, of course, that Siegfried is in love with a swan. She (and the Jester) are astonished when Siegfried turns down all the girls offered to him. Suddenly Rothbart appears with his daughter Odile, who by black magic has been made to look like Odette:

As Odile, Lopatkina cuts loose and shows a wan smile:

Overwhelmed by the smile, Siegfried forgets his pledge to Odette and proposes marriage to Odile. He gets a very quick rejection!

Back at the lake, the swan-girls are dismayed to hear what has happened. Now suddenly there are black swans also:

Siegfried goes to the lake to tell Odette that he was framed:

Odette knows that Siegried is just a young and inexperienced prince who has a good heart. She forgives him for dumping her so quickly. I'm not going to tell you how this all ends---to find that out, you'll have to buy the disc:

You can pick this disc with confidence if all you are looking for is a pleasant show. It's probably a good example of the Russian style of presenting Swan Lake. The music is fine. The video is not perfect, but it looks brighter on my plasma display than in these screenshots.  Based on these comments and my criticisms earlier, I arrive at a "B" grade for this title.