ABT is on tour in Australia, performing Swan Lake and a mixed rep bill. The company performs Swan Lake Tuesday (Isabella Boylston/Daniil Simkin), Wednesday (Misty Copeland/Alexandre Hammoudi in the matinee and Gillian Murphy/James Whiteside in the evening performance) and Thursday (Paloma Herrera/Cory Stearns) followed by a mixed rep bill consisting of Bach Partita, Seven Sonatas, and Fancy Free Friday though Sunday. All performances are at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane. Here are Swan Lake reviews I’ve found:
ABT’s opening night performance “…was filled with admirable dancing but empty of emotional resonance.”
Hee Seo’s visually lovely but theatrically muted Odette was beautifully shaped in the physical sense, but there was little idea of what she wanted, or did not. After meeting Cory Stearns’s Siegfried, Seo rarely looked at him, mostly gazing down demurely or looking up to the heavens piously. Stearns is a fine classicist with aristocratic lineaments, but he and Seo lacked chemistry. The approaches each took didn’t catch fire when put together. It was therefore not entirely surprising in the third act to find Odette’s doppelganger, Odile, short on charisma. Seo wore a black tutu and a wide smile … but the spark stopped there.”
Like many critics, she is not enamored with McKenzie’s Swan Lake version:
The third act slides into a brutally truncated fourth act that unbalances the ballet badly.
Artistic director Kevin McKenzie’s production of Swan Lake doesn’t knock your socks off, but it is a solid, traditional presentation marked by high-quality dancing at all levels; with an occasional hint of Hollywood. The multi-layered sets are handsome, the costumes attractive and Tchaikovsky’s music beautifully played by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under Australian-born conductor Ormsby Wilkins.
Securing the American Ballet Theatre has been a coup for Queensland and Brisbane, and the full house showed its thanks with a well-deserved standing ovation.