The Wednesday evening Swan Lake with Polina Semionova and Marcelo Gomes (substituting for the injured David Hallberg) was a tour de force, one of the best technical displays I have seen. The Act II pas de deux was electrifying as Polina captivated the nearly full house with endless pirouettes and balances. Marcelo was Marcelo, consistent as a strong and attentive partner with the ability to compliment Polina with his own solid solos.
In the pas de deux, Polina’s effortless supported turns were remarkable, with eight supported pirouettes followed by another nine later; amazingly, she did not strain to get the turns in and Marcelo did not need to provide much support. I also liked their dramatic overhead lifts. In another section, Polina balanced in arabesque for at least ten seconds, maybe more. I mentioned in her Don Quixote review that she can hold endless balances, with the music her only limit as conductor David LaMarche had to move on with the remainder of the pas de deux. In her solo, she performed a triple pirouette with a double turn in attitude, all nicely controlled.
Marcelo matched her with a solo that featured double tours to a nice plié and double tours to a prolonged balance in arabesque. I’ve seen him in this role a number of times and he is always consistent, never wavering. His turn section featured single turns a la seconde with triples thrown in, punctuated by a quadruple pirouette. Her fouetté part was similar to Don Quixote, starting out with a triple pirouette with alternating single and double fouettés to a nice finish.
On the dramatic side, Marcelo brought out the best in Polina, who can be reserved and understated in her acting. Marcelo is always expressive and excels at small details such as interacting with guests at his birthday party and expressing childlike glee at receiving a crossbow as a birthday present.
Polina’s only problem Wednesday evening was extracting a flower from a bouquet to present to Marcelo during the curtain calls. She tried once, twice, three, four, five times to extract that stubborn flower, but her spindly arms could not get the job done. Finally, she gave up and handed the entire bouquet to Marcelo, well deserved.
I decided to attend the performance at the last minute and obtained back balcony seats. The house was packed, with the orchestra section sold out. From my high perch, I could really see the geometric patterns of the corps in Act II. In one section, there are two sets of nine dancers, all making a 3X3 square. In another section, the swans make a triangle with five dancers on each side, and eight in the middle of the triangle. In another, 24 swans filled the stage, with two sets of nine dancers on a line with six in the middle. It was fascinating watching the patterns and the corps did a great job dancing as one.
I also enjoyed the pas de trios with Devon Teuscher, Christine Shevchenko, and Jared Matthews. Devon and Christine are getting bigger roles and I look forward to seeing more from them. Watching Benno always reminds me of Herman Cornejo in that role, with powerful exaggerated separation double cabrioles on a diagonal. Alexandre Hammoudi stuggled a bit as von Rothbart as his arabesque balance was very short and halting.
Note: photos are from a previous performance, July 2, 2011.