Swan Lake, Norwich

Swan Lake is one of those ballets that everyone knows and has an opinion about. Real enthusiasts will have seen its countless times and be ready for just about any and every interpretation.

Swan Lake is one of those ballets that everyone knows and has an opinion about. Alongside Tchaikovsky's other great ballet scores, the Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, it forms a mighty trio, and real enthusiasts will have seen its countless times and be ready for just about any and every interpretation.

From a Russian company you would expect a production steeped in tradition, with much attention paid to detail and less to artistic flair. Yet this production at the Theatre Royal from the Moscow City Ballet, formed back in 1988, lacks the discipline you would want and struggles to convey the sheer passion of the piece.

In general it is on a very slow burner with the opening act, set in court, looking overcrowded and uninspired with only the jester (Roman Arkhypov) providing some much- needed light relief.

Matters improve considerably with the appearance of Odette (Talgat Kozhabaev), who is a perfect Queen of the Swans, being elegant, expressive and vivid. The swans themselves, often numbering up to 18, are faultless and the dancers finally start to match the complexity of the music.


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Evil sorcerer Von Rothbart (Dmitry Romanov) adds some old-fashioned drama to the production and the final act – which sees both Odette and her Prince perish – is impressive, with the audience finally starting to care.

This timeless tale of love, betrayal and loss has much to offer and it takes a brave and talented company to pull it off totally. Moscow City Ballet is almost there.

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t Swan Lake continues until Wednesday February 26. The company performs Cinderella from Thursday February 28 until Saturday March 26. Box office: 01603 630000.

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