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Swan Lake - Tchaikovsky DVD

| DVD

This new staging of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake from the Royal Swedish Ballet features a dance ensemble of breathtaking wonder in a majestic staging true to the values of the original production. Choreographer Sir Peter Wright has built up the role of Prince Siegfried, giving him a greater presence right from the beginning when he appears as a mourner at the funeral of his father. Sir Peter also emphasises the darker forces that will destroy the romance between the Prince and Odette, the swan transformed into a beautiful maiden. These touches are manifest through the granite-like grandeur of the castle exterior and the skilful deployment of chiaroscuro, notably in the scenes by the lake where the indigo and royal blue contrast with the brilliant white worn by the corps de ballet. There are many other imaginative touches in the choreography, from the swans' initial entry, seemingly self-propelled to suggest their airborne flight overhead, to the comical turn of the bandy legged cygnets in the "Dance of the Little Swans". Nathalie Nordquist is an enchanting Odette, and, with a slight change in makeup, a characterful Odile. The Prince, danced by Anders Nordstrom, cuts an aristocratic figure, making an elegant partner for Odette. The swans are the last word in poise and grace. On the DVD: Swan Lake is presented in 16:9 anamorphic format with the option of stereo or surround sound. The picture quality is first class with good front-to-back depth. The orchestra may not be the world's most glamorous but there's compensation in hearing this score played in the theatre acoustic for which it was written. The special features are just that: an audio commentary on the plot, a list of notable productions, an interview with the two principal dancers, a history of the Royal Swedish Ballet from Director Peter Jacobbson and, best of all, an interview of wisdom and insight from Sir Peter Wright, the choreographer, entitled "Love Transcends Death". --Adrian Edwards

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