Monday, April 21, 2008

The Swan Lake

The National Academic Bolshoi Ballet from Belarus is performing the Swan Lake in Cairo. Decided to go see the performance with a bunch of friends.
Having seen the original Bolshoi Swan Lake many years ago, I was very keen to see it again. Also, wanted to hear the musical score once again, because this was the first time that Tchaikovsky or a symphonic composer had composed music for a ballet. Otherwise, it was always done by specialist composers who composed only for ballets. Also, it is amazing that at the instance of the ballerina playing Odette, Tchaikovsky had to change the score for the Grand Paus, and, actually copy another ballet composer's music. Can you imagine what he must have gone through? This was unheard of at that time!


Prince Siegfried, heir to the kingdom, must chose a wife at his birthday ball. Upset that he cannot marry for love, Siegfried escapes into the forest at night. There he spies a swan, and, learns that she is none other than a beautiful maiden - Odette - who has been cursed to be a swan by the evil sorcerer - von Rothbart - and only true love would free Odette.

Von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his own daughter Odile, making her seem identical to Odette. The prince mistakes her for Odette, dances with her, and proclaims to the court that he intends to make her his wife.
Only a moment too late, Siegfried sees the real Odette and realizes his mistake.

Realizing that the spell can never be broken, Odette and Siegfried drown themselves by leaping into the lake. This causes von Rothbart to lose his power over them, and he dies as a result.


While this is not the original Bolshoi from Russia, the performance was not bad. I thought the ballerina playing Odette and the dancer playing the sorcerer were very good but the lead dancer playing the Prince left much to be desired. He lacked the grace, the flexibility and the emotions that he should've have displayed. I suspect the ballet company realized as much, cos the part of the Prince was much shorter than it should have been.

Also, they changed the end of the story. In this version, the true love between Siegfried and Odette defeats von Rothbart, who dies after the prince breaks one of his wings. Odette is restored to human form to unite happily with the prince.

The stage decor was very interesting, and the costumes were quite decent. I thought the Cairo Orchestra was quite good.

While it may not have been a fantastic experience, it was nevertheless enjoyable.


Anonymous said...

Where can we watch this swan lake show?

Manisha said...

Unfortunately, at this point in time only on You Tube!

You will haveto keep an eye out for events in Cairo Opera House...hopefully, they will perform sometime soon again....