The Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield this week hosts The Russian State Ballet of Siberia accompanied by The Russian State Ballet Orchestra for the ballets The Swan Lake (Mon, Tues and Weds) and The Nutcracker (Thurs, Fri and Sat) on their 20th anniversary tour of the UK.
Founded in 1978, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia is a classical ballet company based at Krasnoyarsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre. Under the direction of Artistic Director Sergei Bobrov and Technical Director Vitaly Mikhailov these young and incredibly talented dancers, who are highly acclaimed worldwide, are one of Russia’s best ballet companies. This 2021-22 tour of the UK is just at the beginning of its run and has a long list of venues before it finishes in Bristol at the end of March.
The theatre was packed out on a Tuesday night with an excited audience eager for some culture and entertainment. The orchestra kick started proceedings with the conductor and musical director, Anatoly Tchepurnoi, popping his head out to encourage a raptuous response, which he received!
As the curtain rose the stage was filled with the pure beauty of the dancers and the cinematic backdrop of the lake and the chateau.
Prince Siegfried, played by Georgii Bolsunovskii, takes centre stage with his friends having a few drinks to celebrate his coming of age. His mother, the Queen,played by Vera Surovtseva arrives to inform the Prince that he must marry. He will chose his bride at the forthcoming Grand Birthday Ball. The Prince is forlorn but his friends soon cheer him up. You would think that Bolsunovskii has springs on his feet as he spins and bounces around the stage with incredible strength and buoyancy.
For Act 2 the background changes to the glittering lake with shimmering water and snow topped mountains. A flock of white swans fly across and the Prince is drawn to one in particular, the spellbinding Odette, danced by the graceful and powerful Natalia Bobrova. The tears of her Grandfather formed the lake after Odette’s mother fell in love with an evil knight who left her to die and neglected his child. Grigorii Botenkov takes the role of the evil knight, Baron Rothbart, who turns himself into a raven to haunt Odette. If Odette marries her father’s power over her would disappear and the Prince promises to save her. This can only be done however by him dying himself.
The dancers are light on their feet and the performance is energetic and fast. It is incredible
escapism to lose yourself in the atmosphere, dancing and the music as this tells narrative rather than words. .
The second half begins with the scene set for the Birthday Ball – the Queen introduces maidens from around the world who dance in an attempt to woo the Prince but he is not interested. His heart was already captured by Odette. Baron Rothbert in disguise arrives with Odile, dressed as a black and red swan, played again by Natalia Bobrova. Siegfried recognises she dances like Odette and chooses her as his bride. Rothbert reveals his identity and Odile laughs as the Prince rushes to the Lake.
Odette is distraught and her fellow swans reassure her. The Prince begs forgiveness and realises that he must sacrifice his life for her. The water takes the lives of the Prince and the Baron in a dramatic conclusion.
Put simply, Swan Lake is a love story and one of the great Romantic ballets performed for nearly 140 years. Interestingly it started as a hastily put together production to keep Tchaikocsky’s niece and nephew entertained, part of which he combined with other ballets to create the masterpiece that was Swan Lake. Initially it was not a huge success and tweaks had to be made and it wasn’t until after Tchaikovsky’s death that it really became celebrated for its sheer beauty .
Tickets cost from £15 (plus £3.65 (transaction fee).
The Russian State Ballet of Siberia is at The Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield until Saturday 15 January 2022
For more information or to book tickets visit https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/russian-state-ballet-of-siberia/ or call the box office on 0114 249 6000
The Lyceum Theatre, 55 Norfolk Street Sheffield S1 1DA
Further tour dates can be found here http://www.raymondgubbay.co.uk/whats-on/the-russian-state-ballet-of-siberia-2022-uk-tour