Toronto – REVIEW
By: Fridae Mattas
On Tuesday March 1st 2011 in Toronto it was opening night at The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts for the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet’s version of Swan Lake with the Winnipeg Symphony orchestra playing the one and only Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to accompany the dancers. After all, you can’t change the music Tchaikovsky composed specifically for this ballet. My obsession with Ballet goes way back, as a child I always wanted to be a Singer, an Actress, a Doctor or a Ballerina. It is not uncommon for a little girl to want to be a Ballerina or any of the other career choices above. Ballerinas are appealing because they are so elegant, graceful and fluid. It always is utterly breathtaking to watch how a Ballerina tells a story through her movements and this group of Dancers did just that. I took Ballet when I was younger and still take a few drop-in classes but I could never be a professional dancer that is serious dedication and my passion is singing but I will always love Ballet! When I received the invitation to this Ballet I immediately lit up with excitement and started doing pirouettes and split leaps, I had to see Swan Lake! What makes Kirov’s Swan Lake special is the fact this Ballet Company is the real deal. Mariinsky is known to be instrumental in the development of Russian Choreographic Art with first showings at the St. Petersburg Bolshoi (Stone) Theater back in 1783. The Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet of The Mariinsky Theater St. Petersburg, Russia has presented thousands of Ballet’s and Opera’s since 1885 on the Mariinsky Theater’s stage in Russia. The Mariinsky version of Swan Lake was choreographed in 1950 by former star dancer Konstantin Sergeyev (1910-1992) who became artistic director in 1951. The choreography that was originally by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov in 1895 is still incorporated in today’s performances and credited for the specific scenes the choreography is used in. This Ballet has been performed by every existing Ballet company out there and they all throw in their own individual twists to the story, most recently the third act of the Ballet is portrayed in the Academy Award winning film known as “Black Swan”. The story is of Prince Siegfried (Vladimir Schklyarov) who falls in love with the Swan Queen Odette (Viktoria Tereshkina), who is under the spell of an evil sorcerer Rothbart (Konstantin Zverev). Odette and the other swan maidens can’t become human until Odette finds her true faithful love to break the spell, however they can take human form at night. I missed the first half of act one so I didn’t see the grand entrance but a few minutes after we sat in our temporary seats the Prince dropped his cup, he tried picking it up yet couldn’t seem to hold onto it. That was the only slip we noticed from Schklyarov (Prince Siegfried) a minor flaw my younger sister actually pointed out and we were at the back of the theater at the time. There were moments during a few of the Prince’s Birthday Ball scenes where the timing was off with the group looking a little clustered and confused not as distinctive as the lines should have been. Ballerina Down! Ballerina Down! In the second act one of the swan maidens fell and ran off the stage, she should have just got back up and went on with the show unless she was ill or injured. The costumes and set were amazing, they looked really pretty when all of them were leaping together and in different directions. They even added eight black swan maidens to the mix in the third act it may have been the fourth I honestly cannot remember. I wish Odette’s costume was a little more distinct maybe a few more sparkles because from the back of the Sony Centre it was hard to tell who she was when she danced together with the swan maidens but closer up obviously it was a no brainer. The minute Viktoria Tereshkina (Odette/Odile) hit the stage it was like magic, she floated over with her long muscular legs not at all extremely frail as many of the other female dancers looked. She danced with strength and elegance, at times my eyes were watering; I was getting emotional because her dancing was incredible. She was extremely poignant encapsulating every step faultlessly to the music with flawless transitions. Her extensions and arabesques were clean and controlled Tereshkina is majestically angelic as Odette the ‘White Swan’ evoking the true beauty and spirit of a Swan Queen. The evil twin Odile (The Black Swan) makes her appearance with her father the evil Rothbart in the third act where the famous Pas Des Deux takes place. The Prince is tricked into thinking Odile is Odette and that basically ruined the chance for the Swans to be human again. Viktoria Tereshkina danced the part of Odile with attitude, seduction and passion attacking those prominent 32 Fouette rond de jambe en tournant’s with fierce fervor delivering what every young ballerina hopes to achieve. This scene was very well done, the effects of Odette projected in the background during the moment when the Prince gave his devotion to Odile and Odette was fated to be under Rothbart’s spell forever, enhanced the story making you feel like you were a part of all the drama. Another set detail I noticed that was quite interesting was the electronic Swans that ran on a conveyor belt like they were floating along on a lake, those were too cute. The Prince (Vladimir Schklyarov) did well, he dance with zeal throughout the entire performance and held tightly as he spun and lifted Tereshkina. Honorable mention goes to The Jester Grigory Popov who was absolutely spectacular with his genuinely energetic leaps, pirouettes and fouette’s, he was giving the Prince some serious competition. This version of Swan Lake ended with the Prince begging Odette for forgiveness trying to convince her that he indeed wholeheartedly loved her and not Odile hoping he could reverse the spell. Of course Rothbart pops in for a quick dance off but the Prince wins and rips off one of Rothbarts wings to show that he is victorious breaking the spell. The crowd gave the performance a standing ovation, the kids who came were awake after this four act ballet (Two and a half hours) and that means it was good enough to keep them and us interested. The Mariinsky Kirov Ballet Company put on an emotionally charged electrifying performance, I would watch it over again all week if I could actually, every day if possible but I would end up jumping on stage wanting to join and they would probably ban me! Only a few performances left Toronto, this ballet is a must see! You will not be disappointed and that is a guaranteed promise, although you may get a different cast of Dancers (The dancers who performed opening night will be closing the run on March 6th) it is still worth the experience, Mariinsky (Kirov’s) Swan Lake is Fridae approved!
For tickets call 416-870-8000, click or go to the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts website. A monstrous thank you goes out to the lovely people at Flip Publicity & Promotions Inc and KL Strategic Communications.
COPYRIGHT ©2011 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved.