Standard YouTube Licence
Shanghai Ballet Swan Lake, Theater Carré, Amsterdam, Wed 30 Aug 2017.
Remco Van Grevenstein
Last Wednesday. I saw Swan Lake for the first time on stage. I had seen it a couple of times before on YouTube and other sites with performances by the Kirov (Mariinsky) Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet. This was also the first time I had sees a ballet company from China. It was fabulous. It was billed as the ''Greatest Swan Lake in the World'' and with 48 swan's it was pretty big. If you have ever been to the Carré Theatre you will know that the stage is not as big as those of most Opera Houses, but they somehow made it work.
With 48 swans as well as Princess Odette and Baron von Rothbart on stage, there were a lot of people. Choreographer Derek Deane made it possible. Perhaps they should have called this ballet Swan Sea - but who is counting?
The role of Odette/Odile was danced by Qi Bingxue. According to an interview on Dutch TV, this was the first time that she had danced in this ballet as a principal dancer. She did a great job. The role of Siegfried was danced by Wu Husheng. While I think he is a good dancer, I did not like his hesitation in the PDD. His dance did not seem to flow. The rhythm was staccato: move - break - move - break. I did not appreciate that.*
What I did like at the end was the standing ovation for the corps de ballet. It was the first time that I had seen that in a ballet or indeed any other show. After the whole company had appeared on stage the principals stepped aside so that the corps could receive their own standing ovation. Indeed the public clapped even harder for them.
According to their website the Shanghai Ballet have been touring the globe for a year, so perhaps they will show up some day at an auditorium near you.
Rothbart was performed by a chap called Wu. I can't remember his family name or find it on the Internet, but he was great in that role both as the baron and as the sorcerer.
What I missed was the lovers' sacrifice at the end. In this ballet, both Siegfried and Odette got into a small barque and sailed away into the future. A bit too tame for my taste