THE last time this tale of love and trickery swanned into Sheffield's Tudor Square it was at the hands of Yorkshire's ground-breaking Northern Ballet Theatre.
With Moscow City Ballet the enduring story is given a very traditional treatment with occasional contemporary flourishes which merely serve to the heighten the drama, poise and elegance of a piece that shows no signs of waning in popularity, even in these challenging times.
Under the auspices of legendary ex-Bolshoi Ballet soloist Victor Smirnov-Golovanov, the Russians return with a visual treat coloured by Elisaveta Dvorkina's beautiful costumes and some of the most talented feet in the world.
Of course, fuelling these divine movements is Tchaikovsky's inspiring an immediately familiar score, delivered flawlessly by the company's own touring orchestra.
Across four acts audiences are imbibed with the lavish opening court scenes celebrating Prince Siegfried's 21st birthday and the relative bleakness of the lake, brought to life by the challenging routines of a chorus of angels decked in white – and later black as evil sorcerer Von Rothbart's plan unfolds – caress the stage.
Siegfried's betrothal ball is arguably the biggest feast for the eyes as the Prince's potential suitors fill the stage with demanding style and delicate touches from the soloists for which the Moscow movers are famed. But it is the final act as Odette is finally freed from her confinement as Queen Of The Swans by the Prince's love that brings some of the most celebrated moments, executed with all the spectacle, skill and visual beauty that one might hope for and expect.
Swan Lake is here until Saturday.
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