12-17 January 2015
Reviewed by Michelle Llabani
A rainy day in January greeted us for our trip to the Royal & Derngate in Northampton. With scarves on heads we parked at St John’s car park (about 100m from the venue) made our way up the hill to watch the Moscow City Ballet performance of Swan Lake.
This was the first ever ballet I had seen in a theatre, and I was genuinely excited to experience everything ballet had to offer. We were watching Giselle, performed by the Moscow City Ballet with music composed by Adolphe Adam, however the performances rotate between Giselle and Swan Lake, so I would check before booking tickets if you were hoping to see a particular performance (Monday and Tuesday is Giselle, Wednesday to Saturday is Swan Lake).
The opening scene is set in the hills surrounding the Rhine in Germany with the Gamekeeper Hilarion vying for the attentions of Giselle, a humble peasant girl. The staging is sumptuous and costumes simple yet effective. What follows is a story of love, betrothal and betrayal. The first act ends with Giselle dying of a broken heart.
In all honesty, after the first act had finished we were slightly underwhelmed. I had expected to be sucked into the drama and the beauty, however still felt it really hadn’t captured me. After discussing why we felt something was missing we came to the conclusion that either the music was not loud enough… I wanted to feel it as well as hear it, or the music wasn’t vibrant enough to inspire the dancing. So it was with a little disappointment we returned for the second half.
I am pleased to say that the moment the curtain lifted for the second act I was much more enthralled. The setting was the ethereal world of the Wilis (broken-hearted female ghosts), where Giselle and her suitors found themselves after her death. The dancer moved beautifully with the music, with an amazing performance from the Prima Ballerina Lilia Oryekhova. Finally I was able to escape fully into the world of Giselle and the Wilis and feel that emersion I had hoped for.
All in all, it was a lovely evening out, with the second half definitely outshining the first. That was the first Ballet I have been to, but it most definitely won’t be the last.
Tickets cost from £16 to £35 (plus £2.80 transaction fee).
Moscow City Ballet’s Giselle and Swan Lake will be at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton until 17 January 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01604 624811.
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811