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Your Reaction: The Mariinsky Ballet's Swan Lake 2014

What did you think of the Mariinsky's performance of Konstantin Sergeyev's classic production of Tchaikovsky's romantic masterpiece?

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

2 August 2014 at 10.41am | 21 Comments

What did you think of the Mariinsky Ballet’s Swan Lake?

The Mariinsky Ballet's Swan Lake runs until 14 August 2014. Tickets are sold out for the full run, but returns may become available.

The Mariinsky Ballet's Summer 2014 performances at the Royal Opera House are presented by Victor Hochhauser.

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

2 August 2014 at 10.41am

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged by Konstantin Sergeyev, Mariinsky Ballet, Oksana Skoryk, Production, review, Social Media, Swan Lake, Timur Askerov, twitter, your reaction

This article has 21 comments

  1. Gillian Crow responded on 2 August 2014 at 12:11pm Reply

    The technique, timing and precision of this company puts the Royal Ballet to shame. The corps dancers are perfection, everybody dances on the beat and moves as one. Skorik is slightly too athletic for my taste and the tempo sometimes dragged a little. But a wonderful performance last night (1st August) which can hardly be bettered.

    • Susan M Taylor responded on 3 August 2014 at 8:07pm

      I couldn't agree more! I was there at the performance on 1 August and I just wished that the evening would never end. I was so pleased that Ms Skorik put on a wonderful performance ( I can't believe that she is the same girl in David Kinsella's short film "A Beautiful Tragedy") My goodness how she has blossomed - she is truly a great dancer. She was a gorgeous Odette (those arms and hands - fabulous). She epitomised the Swan Queen and a proper minx as Odile! I agree with all the comments about the magnificent corps de ballet too, they were so in time and visually stunning. I must give a special mention to Vladislav Shumakov who gave a jaw-dropping performance as the Jester! Also to be commended is Konstantin Zverev who played an evil Von Rothbart. All in all it was a performance I will never ever forget and hopefully I will be there in London to see the Magnificent Mariinsky when they grace us with their presence again.

  2. Johnners responded on 2 August 2014 at 3:45pm Reply

    Oxsana Skorik demonstrated last night that she is undoubtedly one of the very top ballerinas in the world. And the corps was exceptional too.

  3. meg responded on 2 August 2014 at 9:09pm Reply

    I loved their performance. stunning!

    This was not tragedy, ended happily. I was impressed, and was encouraged.

    I wish I could watch it again.

  4. Peter Vintner responded on 5 August 2014 at 2:01am Reply

    Monday 4th August. Uliana Lopatkina was simply a class above all others in the role of Odette /Odile - elegant and assured, and full of emotion. Surely one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation. It was clear that many of the audience were there to see her, and they weren't disappointed. What makes her performance even more astounding is that she is now 40 years old - an age when most ballerinas have retired from the stage.
    But really the entire cast were on top form, and it's difficult to pick out single exceptional performances as there were so many.
    I would think Ms Lopatkina must be retiring soon and I can't imagine we'll be seeing her dance in London again after this tour. It was a real joy and privilege to see her performance tonight.

  5. r.a. responded on 5 August 2014 at 12:44pm Reply

    Yes, it was a real privilege to be in the audience last night. Uliana Lopatkina is a most wonderful artist. Her Odette/Odile is without compare: Act I Scene II was absolutely mesmerizing. And her performance in La Bayadere in London a few years ago was equally compelling. I do hope this is not the last we will see of her in London - has she announced that she will be retiring?

  6. Charles-E. C. responded on 5 August 2014 at 6:31pm Reply

    Stepping out of the ROH on the 4th of August after having attended what was most probably the most elegantly and subtly performed Swan Lake in years has been a sweet -and-sour moment: one of these post-enchanting moments when you're figuring out there are little chances to ever see again such perfection on stage in your life.
    It took us some time to gather our minds and try to figure out which kind of absolute beauty and perfection Uliana Lopatkina achieved here, yet supported by an amazing selection of outstanding ballet dancers the Mariinsky can foster like no one else.
    Lopatkina's art seems beyond any contemporary ballerina's technique: her soulful and sensitive interpretation of Odette, doubled by a bewitching and dazzling interpretation of Odile is not only displaying a brilliant tribute to Marius Petipa's choreography, but is as well transcending Tchaikovsky's masterpiece by serving its purpose with humility and emotion.
    A rare moment of excellence.

  7. Elizabeth Bunch-Wachowicz responded on 5 August 2014 at 9:23pm Reply

    I came to London from the states JUST to see Uliana dance Swan Lake. Absolute perfection. There are no words to accurately describe her performance and her dancing overall. I've been a serious fan of ballet all my life, and in my opinion no one holds a candle to her. The corps were just brilliant as well. The Russian style of dance is in a league all its own. I still can't believe I actually had such an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience!

  8. catherine responded on 5 August 2014 at 10:16pm Reply

    Swan lake -monday 4th:
    Pure beauty, elegance, style, extraordinary performance... The whole cast were stars...
    We were really moved and speachless how beautiful and perfect the performance was. Well done Mariinsky and the russian ballet school...

  9. Jill responded on 6 August 2014 at 3:39pm Reply

    Lopatkina dazzling but I couldn't feel a sense of longing or tragedy. The happy ending comes across as a cop-out - listen to the music! In any other production the jester would drive us mad but Tchakenko took the role brilliantly. Prince's friend Kimin Kim seems to have everything - glorious physique, beauty and accomplishment. Would be a wonderful Prince. Yermakov as von Rothbart was outstanding even in this company - sinuous, evil and, um, sensual. I will always come to see the Kirov (as I still think of them).

  10. Sholpan responded on 6 August 2014 at 4:13pm Reply

    Xander Parish and Yulia Stepanova are absolutely amazing! BREATHTAKING PERFORMANCE by Mariinsky Theatre! Thank you for bringing them!!!

  11. Mario responded on 7 August 2014 at 9:41am Reply

    Yulia Stepanova on Saturday was the most delicate dancer I ever saw, and I saw many. Tenderness and utter poetry of her portrayal of Odette brought tears to my eyes. Xander Parish was her Prince. Together they formed a very credible, romantic couple.

    The beauty of Mariinsky's Swans is unsurpassed. One has to see those 32 glorious Vaganova trained ballerinas together on stage to believe it.

    A truly unforgettable performance.

  12. Maggie Birkett responded on 7 August 2014 at 1:26pm Reply

    Swan Lake 4.08.14.
    Uliana was amazing to watch as Odette/Odile - so incredibly ethereal and elegant. I wanted to watch it all over again!!Music was so moving. Thanks for a magical evening.Look forward to future visits.

  13. Professor Adrian Sterling responded on 9 August 2014 at 11:33am Reply

    Swan Lake Matinee 2 August 2014

    I first saw Swan Lake 74 years ago, performed by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The soloists included the world famour Vera Nemchinova and Paul Petrof. Since then I have seen many other great dancers perform, including Toumanova, Riabouchinska , Makarova and Fonteyn.

    In my view the performance of Yulia Stepanova at the 2 August Matinee ranked in excellence with those of all those great performers, and I hope you will pass this view on to her.

    In addition all the other soloists including especially Parish and Popov gave wonderful performances.

    As to the Corps de Ballet, it was superb and unequalled.

    Congratulations to all.!

  14. Professor Adrian Sterling responded on 9 August 2014 at 11:53am Reply

    Swan Lake Matinee 2 August 2014

    Additional comment

    Congratulations also to Conductor Repnikov and Orchestra on splendid music performance.

  15. Meggie Hou responded on 15 August 2014 at 1:16am Reply

    Swan Lake on 4 August, 2014
    It was a privilege to see Ulyana Lopatkina dance Swan Lake. On the stage she is the most living Odette/Odile with emotion, grace and sensuality. Her performance is a pure poetry, it brings the supreme art and power out of ballet, it makes ballet at its best.

  16. Meggie Hou responded on 15 August 2014 at 1:38am Reply

    Swan Lake on 4 August, 2014
    It was a privilege to see Ulyana Lopatkina dance Swan Lake. On the stage, she is the most living Odette/Odile with emotion, grace and sensuality. Her performance brings the supreme art and power out of ballet, it makes ballet at its best.

  17. Sheila South responded on 15 August 2014 at 1:11pm Reply

    What a wonderful performance I saw last night! Swan Lake danced by Ulyana Lopatkina, was spell binding. The whole cast were just stunning, the costumes were so beautiful and the orchestra was amazing. The jester was just superb. I am loving the Mariinsky ballets.

  18. Bernadette responded on 16 August 2014 at 7:19pm Reply

    I took my husband to see Swan Lake yesterday evening, August 14, to the 7.30pm performance of Swan Lake and was disappointed by Anastasia Matvienko as Odette/Odile. Technically she could not be faulted, but sadly there was no heart or emotion in her interpretation of this leading role. I wanted to fall in love with Odette and be seduced by Odile as I had been by Ms. Skorik's performance on the 2nd of August. Ms. Matvienko never smiled and performed with one, pained expression throughout.

  19. Ms Lopatkina is THE (not “one of”, but I say, “the”) most exquisite Swan Queen (and her mysterious counterpart, of course) of our time. No one else but Ms Lopatkina has that mixture of delicateness, sincerity and purity, innate warmth and soulfulness, genuine forgivingness, and regalness. She has the most profound of expressions. She does so without letting anyone see her strictly disciplined minds and totally controlled body from head to toe (to finger tips); and without needing to show off her skills like most others do.
    Her artistry goes beyond just being unequalled; because her soul becomes that of a character, and above all, that of the music; with music, she floats on stage (cheating gravity, as someone else has described; it is a wonder how she can express all the human emotions from the deepest of her heart and with warmth, while she “is” airy and weightless); and her soul transcends audiences into a timeless space, in which we become hypnotised as we breathe in the magical air.
    I feel so privileged to have been able to travel to the lake side where her story unfolded. Her maturity, in particular, as an artist, is apparent in her all-embracing reactions to her fans (these qualities are the quintessence of entertainment in her comical roles as well). I hope she will come back to London during the Mariinsky’s next tour here.
    I thought that Mr Ivanchenko absolutely deserved of Ms Lopatkina’s (Odette’s) love albeit his awful mistake (I mean, of making a pledge to a black swan!) with such noble presence on stage; I had learnt of a reputation of this coupling online previously, but the night’s performance exceeded my expectations. Besides, he looked much more handsome, taller and sublime on stage than in his online profile photos!!
    Since I first “discovered” Mr Yermakov online, I was looking forward to seeing him live. Oh, he did not disappoint. He was captivating and fantastically evil as von Rothbart, as I had anticipated; one of the reasons I like him is because he is tall, very, like 6ft 2in; well, one should have a height of at least 6ft, anyway; I like a tall and handsome man like him, but then, who doesn’t?
    I was also very impressed with Mr Tkachenko, the Jester; is he really “only” a Coryphee, for God’s sake!!?? He was a super busy boy during Mariinsky’s London tour this summer (Troubadour in R&J, wonderfully mischievous Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in engaging Trio in Concerto DSCH, as well as Spring in Cinderella). I shall look forward to his next appearance.
    Ms Tereshkina is one of the very best and consistent 32 fouettés en tournant doers in the world today; she does not move an inch. I had bought a ticket just to see her black swan do them. She may have moved just about 1.1 inches on the night, but oh boy, she can turn. Her foot works are one of the most stable; no wonder why she was awarded a Virtuosity Prize. She has an acute sense of body and space, and she absolutely excels in her interpretation of passion and intensity. She is however not just a mesmerising black swan. Her Odette was no airy one like Ms Lopatkina, but wow, it was deeply painfully beautiful.
    Mr Shklyarov has such a charisma, grabs audiences’ hearts with an immediate and instantaneous gravity from his sincerity and expressiveness.
    Although with a sense of disappointment to receive the news of cast change from Ms Yekaterina Kondaurova, for my third Swan Queen, I trusted the Mariinsky’s choice of giving Ms Skorik a chance. From her profile photo, I guessed that she would be an excellent black swan, and this feeling was proved right, she was indeed intriguing with strong foot works. In her white swan, her transfer of energy appeared to be slightly abrupt at times, but this is a very minor quibble, compared with her all important interpretation of the whole piece, both as white and black swans, which was wonderful.
    Mr Askerov was a fine Prince Siegfried. He is not the tallest in the Mariinsky, but makes an elegant and sincere prince while regal and eloquent when required.
    Mr Stepin, may still be a Second Soloist, which I guess is because he does not do daring-do showing-offs, but he is one of my favourites for his elegance. As the prince Siegfried’s friend, he was to me a much nobler than a Korean dancer (the latter’s jumps were, on the day I saw him, all over the place).
    I was not particularly impressed with last year’s Bolshoi’s Corp de Ballet. They seemed not to have rehearsed enough on the ROH’s stage, much smaller than that of the Bolshoi’s.
    But this was not the case with the Mariinsky’s. Everyone cannot help themselves for commenting on the level of Mariinsky’s Corp de Ballet; and with a good reason. Only the best of the best dancers can be in the Mariinsky’s Corps. Of the seven performances I attended, there was only one incident where there was a minor disturbance on a slippery stage (without the dancer’s fault, I must emphasise; during the Ball scene in Cinderella: the condition of the stage closer to the edge seemed somewhat wrong on the day).
    Four Cygnets in the three performances I saw were all absolutely perfectly synchronised, incredible.
    Some individuals were given solo performances during this summer’s London tour, all of whom proved themselves to be worthy of their roles; they could easily be genuinely soloists in other companies, I am sure.
    Of all the orchestra belonging to Opera/Ballet Houses, only a few can genuinely impress me with their music performances. Without reservation, I can say that the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra is one of them, along with la Scala and a few Deutsche (German) Oper/Staatsoper (Opera/State Opera) House Orchestras. In the beginning they seemed not to have warmed up enough, but soon, played with such enthusiasm, especially for Russian music.
    They were not all perfect though, in particular, in their Brass section in later dates; there were a couple of moments that I was wondering, “Are they just bored after a week playing the same Swan Lake?” or “Wasn’t Stravinsky their favourite Russian?” May be they were starting to feel exhaustion for living in a hotel for three weeks; still, they were far superior than ROH orchestra (though sorry to say this), who has a lot to learn from the Mariinsky’s orchestra.
    My special congratulations to their Violin and Cello Soloists; their performances are genuinely impressive, so as are Woodwinds.

  20. Peter Toth responded on 30 August 2014 at 2:50am Reply

    I was heartbroken to discover that Yulia Stepanova would not be dancing Odette/Odile on 5 August as originally planned. However, Alina Somova was exceptional in the role - stunningly beautiful in every way. Konstantin Zverev danced Prince Siegfried that night and was phenomenal. I can't believe that the same dancer is capable of taking on the entirely different role of Von Rothbart in the space of a couple of weeks! The corps de ballet were 'to die for'. This performance was one of the most mermorable events of my entire life and I was so lucky to be right next to the orchestra and the stage. Thank you ROH and thank you Mr. & Mrs. Hochhauser and The Maryiinsky Theatre for making such an event possible!

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