Reviewed by Jan Dixon
Visual and musically stunning production of Swan Lake by the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia! This is being shown at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until 1st February 2020 – a must-see performance for any ballet enthusiasts!
This review is based on the opening night of Swan Lake on Wednesday 29th January 2020. It was the first performance in a run that finishes on 4th April 2020; the Director Carlos Acosta CBE was in the audience in the Dress Circle viewing the production with well-deserved pride.
Swan Lake is known for the beautiful music composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, which the Royal Ballet Sinfonia played to an extremely high standard, conducted by Paul Murphy and Leader Robert Gibbs. They deftly showcased the crescendos and searing melodies of the composition, with the harpist providing a sweet undercurrent throughout a number of arias.
Sir Peter Wright and Galina Samsova produced this classical ballet; a romantic story of love found and lost in tragic circumstances. The leading man, Tyrone Singleton (Prince Siegfried), took centre stage, accompanied by Tzu-Chao Chou (Benno) his equerry. Both danced with enthusiasm, especially Benno in his frantic attempt to try and coax Prince Siegfried into celebrating his 21st birthday; temporarily putting to one side his duty to choose a bride. His companions danced with passion and vigour; demonstrating the strength and athleticism required as dancers. Miki Mizutani and Maureya Lebowitz as the two courtesans trying to tempt the Prince were delightfully light on their feet, successfully portraying coquettishness.
Celine Gittens (Odette/Odile) was superb as the prima ballerina, showcasing her incredible talent to the highest level. The accompanying swan maidens (18 in all) were spectacular in their co-ordinated choreography (by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and Peter Wright); visually very impressive.
Sumptuous costumes provided an amazing backdrop to all the scenes; especially in Act III, when the Grand Reception is held. The three foreign Princesses; Delia Mathews (Hungarian Princess), Polish Princess (Samara Downs) and Miki Mizutani (Italian Princess) performed their solo routines very well; portraying the particular cultural dance of their heritage. Credit must certainly go to the costumer Lorna Burke, who had the audacious of managing 170 costumes in all!
An intrinsic part of this performance were the set designs by Philip Prowse, with lighting by Peter Teigen. These provided an amazing backdrop to the ballet, successfully creating the illusion of a castle courtyard, ballroom and a moonlit lakeside. These scenic designs and lighting really drew the audience into the ballet storyline, enhancing the stage for the exquisite performers.
Very, very highly recommended; definitely worth a 5 star rating! The performance is in four acts, starting at 7.30pm ending at approximately 10.20pm. There are 2pm performances on certain days.
The Mayflower Theatre is very close to railway links with a variety of car parks close-by. It is advisable to check the nearby Southampton football club fixtures as this can have an impact on the volume of traffic entering/leaving Southampton. Do allow for this when travelling to the venue. The theatre looked stunning, with comfortable seating and plenty of leg room. Staff were very welcoming with a high standard of customer care.
Tickets cost from £12 to £49.50 (booking fees may apply).
Swan Lake is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from 29 January to 1 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811