Swan Lake with Osipova and Acosta, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, October 2012Posted on 11 October 2012
For those lucky enough to have tickets for last night’s Swan Lake, Odette/Odile was danced by Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova partnered by the Royal Ballet’s Carlos Acosta as Prince Siegfried. They were terrific together.
Osipova was in the news recently when she and Ivan Vasiliev quit the Moscow’s Bolshoi and joined the Mikhailovsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, one reason being frustration with the Bolshoi’s casting policy. This enabled her to replace Tamara Rojo in this performance, Rojo having recently left to become artistic director of the ENB. Despite having barely danced the role before, Osipova gave a wonderful characterisation of Odette/Odile: a suitably frail Swan Queen with beautifully fluid movements in Act II, a seductive Odile in Act III, and finally showing great emotional and spiritual strength as she faces Von Rothbart’s entrapment in Act III. There was excellent chemistry between her and Acosta, and his dancing showed huge strength, precision and emotional commitment to the role. He performed magnificently in his solos, and his deft partnering allowed her full rein.
Among the rest of the cast, Gary Avis was a dramatically perfect Von Rothbart, and though the swans danced well, the female corps in Act I seemed a bit ragged. In the pas-de-trois from that act, Itziar Mendizabal and Hikaru Kobayahshi were excellent as the two girls, and Act III showed some fine character dances. The Spanish dance and the Mazurka were excitingly performed, Ricardo Cervera was outstanding in the Czárdás, performing with enormous attack, and Yuhui Choe and Paul Kay were sheer delight in the Neapolitan dance.
This production has seen several small improvements over recent years but I still find the supers a clumsy irritation at the start of Act III, and the dappled lighting in Act IV can look a bit odd when there are only four swans on stage with one in darkness. Overall however the Company did a great job under fine musical direction from Boris Gruzin in the pit, who started slowly and built up well to the dramatic highlights.
Future performances of Osipova with Acosta on October 13 and 25 are a sell-out, but the present run of Swan Lake continues until November 24 — for details click here.