Review: Swan Lake, Sheffield City Hall

Swan Lake
Swan Lake

A touring production by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia of one of Tchaikovsky’s romantic masterpieces came to Sheffield’s City Hall. 

The music is provided by the Russian State Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Yudasin, whose magnetic presence draws all the strands of this haunting, melancholy work together. The sets and costumes are elegant.  The tone international.

Marcello Pelizzoni is utterly credible as the young prince. He brings out Siegfried’s uncertainties, vulnerability and remorse. He achieves height as well as grace in his movements; and is memorable in moments of reflection as well as passion.

Elena Svinko, in the double role of Odette and Odile, the prince’s two contrasting lovers, is elegant and mesmerizing.

Pavel Kirchev as Baron Rothbart, the destructive figure responsible for disrupting and distorting the prince’s perceptions, is all the more effective for remaining in the background in the earlier scenes.

The corps de ballet’s dance of the swan maidens is mysterious and sad. The show elevates by its combination of visual and orchestral pyrotechnics, but is shot through with a deep sense of loss.
Tchaikovsky was born twenty years before Chekhov, but his work is equally informed by a sense of personal and social dislocation at a time of change. For all its romanticism, this ballet has a contemporary resonance.

*Alan Payne