Mesmerized yet again by ‘Swan Lake’
The Mariinsky Festival ended Sunday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center with a performance of the Kirov Ballet “Swan Lake” led by the triumphant, redemptive Diana Vishneva.
Emphasizing abstract classicism, Konstantin Sergeyev’s 1950 edition of the Petipa/Ivanov ballet doesn’t retell the familiar story but merely refers to it from time to time. However, Vishneva restored its dramatic intensity with dancing that pulled you deeply into Odette’s plight.
If her White Swan emphasized emotional values without sacrificing purity of style and technical refinement, Vishneva’s Black Swan piled on the diva mannerisms and special effects: Many extra high-speed supported turns in the adagio, double fouettes in the coda. She found powerful support in the Siegfried of Igor Kolb, a superb partner and a dynamic if uneven soloist. In the Act 2 duet, time stopped as Vishneva bent so far forward in a supported balance that her nose nearly grazed her knee. In the Act 3 duet, hearts raced as she suddenly flew across the stage at Kolb like a bird of prey. In such moments, these artists created a sense that the whole trajectory of “Swan Lake” could change, that we were watching some glorious, elemental improvisation. Maxim Chashchegorov’s thrilling jumps as the evil Rothbart made him a worthy threat to Kolb; for once the character’s wings seemed to be taking him somewhere.
Without outclassing their counterparts in the Friday cast, Tatiana Tkachenko, Nadezhda Gonchar and Vasily Scherbakov made the Act 1 pas de trois a showcase for the bold attacks and easy elegance that seem characteristic of the upcoming Kirov generation. Unfortunately, the feeble national dances of Act 3 proved that there’s still plenty of major challenges for that generation to conquer.
Andrei Ivanov returned as the omnipresent, virtuosic Jester on Sunday, and Pavel Bubelnikov again conducted the company orchestra.