Genre:

Ballet

Release Date:

May 2020

Sound Format:

LPCM 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Audio

Ratio:

16:9

Display:

NTSC

Catalog Number:

OABD7256D

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake (The Royal Ballet)

Marianela Nuñez (Odette / Odile); Vadim Muntagirov (Prince Siegfried); Elizabeth McGorian (The Queen); Bennet Gartside (Von Rothbart); Alexander Campbell (Benno); Akane Takada (Prince Siegfried's younger sister); Francesca Hayward (Prince Siegfried's younger sister);

​Swan Lake is perhaps the best-loved of all the classical ballets and has a special place in The Royal Ballet’s repertory. This new production by Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett features additional choreography while remaining faithful to Petipa and Ivanov’s classic. John Mcfarlane’s opulent designs provide an atmospheric, period setting for this enthralling love story, illuminated by Tchaikovsky’s sublime score. Marianela Nuñez brings both poignancy and glitter to the dual role of Odette / Odile, with Vadim Muntagirov as the yearning Prince Seigfried, while the corps de ballet are showcased at their spellbinding best as the enchanted swans and cygnets.

Reviews

"Nothing short of a triumph - Such is the good will towards the Royal Ballet’s new Swan Lake that when the curtain rises on Act III, an empty set gets a spontaneous round of applause. But for ballet fans this has been a long time coming. The company’s previous version — Anthony Dowell’s 1987 monstrosity — was characterised by fussy costumes, garish sets and enough gilding to rival a Fabergé egg. Choreographer Liam Scarlett may not have torn up the rule book, but his new production is nothing short of a triumph. Scarlett understands that if the narrative is to make any sense at all the focus must lie with its men. Thus the role of Siegfried is given proper psychological weight, while the sorcerer Von Rothbart also becomes a power-hungry court adviser. Petipa and Ivanov’s iconic lake scene has been left untouched, while Acts I and IV have been sensitively overhauled. It’s all offset by John Macfarlane’s glorious sets and the best-looking tutus anywhere. Leading the opening night’s magnificent cast were Marianela Núñez and Vadim Muntagirov, fast becoming the Royal’s dream partnership. While Nuñez is never less than exceptional, the evening belonged to Muntagirov, who even managed to outshine the famous 32 fouettés with a series of whip-fast pirouettes of his own." (Evening Standard ★★★★★)

"What a magnificent achievement this is. The young choreographer Liam Scarlett has given Covent Garden its first new Swan Lake in 30 years, and it’s a winner. Big, bold and beautiful, it’s completely distinctive — Scarlett has put his stamp all over this production — yet it honours the traditions of the Royal Ballet." (The Times ★★★★★)

"The Royal Ballet’s new Swan Lake is handsome, very grand and danced to the hilt. From glittering court acts to the misty romantic lakeside, it balances spectacle, storytelling and powerful dancing from the entire company, with Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov on glorious form in the leading roles. You can see the high stakes in the way the company has thrown everything behind Liam Scarlett’s new staging, from high production values to astonishingly starry casting. It’s paid off. There’s a confidence about the performance that sweeps the evening forward, a shared conviction in the dancing, supported and framed by John Macfarlane’s magnificent new designs. Scarlett and Macfarlane follow Anthony Dowell’s 1987 production by setting the ballet in the 1890s. The prince’s birthday celebrations are held on a lawn framed by cedars, a landscape that melts away to reveal act II’s lakeside, all inky shadows and a Turner moon – although David Finn’s lighting keeps everything visible. Macfarlane’s setting for the act III court ball is a marvel of gilding, marble and painted ceilings, with proportions that keep it airy rather than heavy. His costumes have sculptural weight while moving beautifully, with the swans in delicate high tutus. The corps de ballet’s dancing combines poignant swan softness with attack and thrilling speed. A great Swan Lake must give its stars room to shine. Scarlett’s delivers in spades. Nuñez’s dancing is rich as cream, with long, floating phrasing in the white acts and seductive dazzle as the Black Swan alter ego. Muntagirov, most princely of princes, combines virtuoso splendour with aristocratic grace. Together, they create a human tenderness at the heart of this opulent new production." (The Independent ★★★★★)

"... a production fired by the closest of imaginative collaborations. It is far from a radical reinvention – the setting and choreography stay close to the 19th-century original – yet it stands out from so many other Swan Lakes in its attention to dramatic detail. When Odette’s music calls to him deep from the enchanted forest, Macfarlane beautifully transforms the stage to a blasted lake and a Turner-esque moon (David Finn’s lighting is exemplary throughout). Scarlett’s directorial hand is subtly evident both in Rothbart’s puppeteering control of the swans and in the emotionally driven dancing of Siegfried (Vadim Muntagirov) and Odette (Marianela Nuñez). There’s a rapt tenderness between the two lovers and Nuñez, exquisitely attuned to her music, conveys the pain of Odette’s slow return to life in the wild birdlike flurries that haunt her dancing. The climactic pas de deux deserves a review in itself, as does all the superlative dancing from the production’s opening cast. But Scarlett’s directorial best comes in his handling of the ballet’s close. The spell over Odette may be broken as the swans turn against their captor, but the princess whom Siegfried rescues from the lake turns out be lifeless. It’s a perfectly judged ending for a 21st-century audience – and there are tears." (The Guardian ★★★★)

Extra features

An introduction; John Macfarlane talks about the design; Darcey Bussell on the Swans