June 28, 2003, 8pm
-- Metropolitan Opera House, New York
On the last day
of their spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, American Ballet
Theater gave a solid performance of Kevin McKenzie's production of the
full-length classic, "Swan Lake." With elaborate sets and lavish
costumes by Zack Brown, and superb performances from the dancers in leading
roles, the Saturday afternoon audience had much to applaud about.
Jose Manuel Carreño's
Prince Siegfried beautifully complimented Julie Kent's pure and innocent
Odette while providing a wonderful contrast to Kent's seductive Odile.
displayed exquisite control of his pirouettes, powerful and graceful jumps,
and just enough emotion to convey but not overstate the Prince's turmoil.
Kent was stunning in her portrayal of the dual Odette and Odile characters,
with swanlike arms and delicate bourrees that made her seem to glide across
the stage like a swan on water.
Carreño and Kent worked well together
as partners, with smooth, fluid motions and well-executed lifts, especially
in the third act. In the Black Swan pas de deux, the highlight of the
performance, Carreño and Kent displayed
powerful technique in Carreño's precise
jumps and Kent's exemplary fouettes, as well the perfect blend of emotion,
especially as the plot escalates and the Prince realizes his mistake.
The highlight of the pas de trois in Act I was Joaquin De Luz as Benno
dancing with Anna Liceica and Anne Milewski. Executing his characteristic
high jumps and dancing with beautifully pointed feet and clean lines,
De Luz seemed to exude joy from his entire being. This performance --
his last with ABT -- was a fantastic finish to a marvelous career with
Although Brian Reeder and Sascha Radetsky were mismatched in size, each
dancer ably depicted his side of the shared character of the villainous
von Rothbart. Reeder, looking like the Swamp Thing, demonstrated sheer
power and evil in his elaborate mime. Radetsky, as the purple-clad wizard,
showed great attention to detail, revealing a cunning and manipulative
sorcerer with every motion, gesture, and _expression. Unfortunately, in
contrast to Reeder' towering posture, Radetsky's relatively smaller frame
did not fully convey the commanding power of the character, especially
with the princesses and Odile rising taller than him on pointe.
The ensemble supported the performances of the lead dancers well, bringing
colorful gaiety to the Prince's birthday party in Act I and the Great
Hall in Act III. However, while the choreography in Act III charmingly
represented the different countries of the princesses, the dancers were
somewhat restricted in their elaborate (yet colorful) costumes and character
The corps of swans also provided a beautiful backdrop, with solid performances
from Stella Abrera and Monique Meunier as the demi-soloists, and precise
synchrony from the quartet of cygnets, danced by Karin Ellis-Wentz, Renata
Pavam, Misty Copeland, and Maria Riccetto.
Overall, the dazzling moments provided by the leading cast and supporting
ensemble, allowed the audience to overlook small distractions, such as
the recurring sharp trills of the orchestra's strings, the unusually loud
stage (which seemed to magnify the squeaking of shoes during pirouettes)
and the clattering of pointe shoes during the swans' entrances and exits.
The audience's standing ovation at the curtain call demonstrated that
excellent dancing more than made up for minor shortcomings.
Please join the discussion
in our forum.