The Russian National Ballet and Russian State Ballet of Siberia returns to Cardiff for another spectacular repertoire of classics – The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and not to mention, the epitome of Romantic ballet with a longstanding history of some 135 years, Swan Lake.
Performed to the fascinatingly engaging melodies of Tchaikovsky’s first ever ballet score, the melancholic adaptation of Swan Lake tells the tale of princess Odette, who was turned into a swan by the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart. The spell can only be broken by a vow of eternal love. This ballet in two acts is notably the most demanding of all – musically, technically and emotionally – yet Ekaterina Bulgutova, 28, was able to portray the contrasting roles of Odette and Odile with utmost precision and exquisiteness, perfectly arched feet and an arresting elegance. Vyacheslav Kapustin, 29, who played Prince Siegfried, was exceptional towards the end of the show and left the audience in awe with an impressive Tour Jeté, which further dramatized the agony of the heartbroken prince. Both shared good chemistry during moments of pas de deux, although several awe-inspiring lifts of the ballerina kept audience on the edge of their seats. Not to be overshadowed by the leads, one of the most remarkable danseurs was 21-year-old Mikhail Khushutin, playing the role of Benno, who had extraordinary poise despite having to pull off technically demanding steps.
The experience of the show – particularly highlights like the 32 fouettés of the black swan – was enhanced with sensational visual effects and accompaniment of the glittering performance by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia Orchestra. Each scene was as equally breathtaking, as were the extravagant costumes worn by the dancers, and they performed their final curtsy of the evening after a finale that deviated from the traditional adaptation.