REVIEW: English National Ballet put on ‘truly magical’ Swan Lake performance

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson - Credit: English National Ballet

One of the most famous ballets in history was performed perfectly at the Bristol Hippodrome last night (Tuesday) and Mercury reporter Ellie Young went down to check it out.

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson - Credit: English National Ballet

The English National Ballet (ENB) returned to the city theatre yesterday with Derek Deane’s version of Swan Lake.

Made famous by Tchaikovsky’s immaculate score, this performance was one I had been looking forward to since it was announced.

I also had the pleasure of introducing my friend to her first ballet and I could only hope the ENB would put on a performance she would never forget.

The story of Swan Lake is one which has been remade several times on stage, screen and in children’s books.

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson - Credit: English National Ballet


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Odette (Erina Takahashi) is cursed by the evil warlock Rothbart (Junor Souza) who turns her into a swan when the sun is up.

Elsewhere, Prince Siegfried (Francesco Gabriele Frola) is ordered by his mother the Queen (Stina Quagebeur) to find a wife.

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While out hunting, the prince and Odette meet and fall in love, much to the warlock’s displeasure

The set was detailed and stunning, making the audience feel like they too were in the woods, a grand castle or by the lake.

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson - Credit: English National Ballet

The costumes were periodic and suited the setting well, complimenting the complex moves of the dancers.

The orchestra was one of my favourite parts of the show.

The feeling and emotion put behind every swish of the baton by music director Gavin Sutherland was mesmerizing.

Now on to the main event, the lead principals of Frola and Takahashi really took hold of their characters with both hands and you could feel their raw emotions.

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

The English National Ballets performance of Swan Lake.Picture: Arnaud Stephenson - Credit: English National Ballet

The talented duo commanded the stage in their pas de deuxs, a special highlight for me was seeing Takahashi in the role of the evil doppelganger Odile and the menacing nature of her character when dancing with Frola.

Souza did a terrific job as the ballet baddie – garnering a ‘boo’ from the crowd in a panto-esque nod – but not before bowing for his own well executed performance.

But no ballet would be complete without the company and what a company the ENB is.

The swans were the stars of the show in my eyes, with perfect timing, delicate movements and beautiful artistry.

A stand-out dance sequence, which I could not end this review without mentioning, is the Dance Of The Cygnets.

The perfect synchronisation and skill required to do this bit of choreography justice is second to none and the four dancers who took on this challenge did very well indeed.

This show is one of the best for first time ballet-goers to see; the story is timeless and easy to follow and with this show, you will not be disappointed.

Swan Lake will be at the theatre, in St Augustines Parade, from tonight (Wednesday) to Saturday at 7.30pm each evening.

There will be a matinee at 2pm tomorrow (Thursday) and 2.30pm on Saturday.

Tickets, priced £12-50.90, are available at www.atgtickets.com/bristol

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