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Swan Lake.

When the Vienna State Opera Ballet premiered its revival of Rudolf Nureyev's version of Swan Lake in late November, the public's jubilation was proof of its joy in having its own Swan Lake back again. This carefully reconstructed production gives the company the opportunity to show great artistic growth. Once again, it can count itself among the important international ballet companies.

The choreographic reconstruction was in the hands of Richard Novotny, a rehearsal assistant when Nureyev created his version on the Vienna company in 1964. Novotny's meticulous and careful work gives the corps de ballet its deserved importance and allows us to see that this version has more to offer than just Nureyev nostalgia. The weight given to Prince Siegfried makes this role equal to that of Odette/Odile.

The new production is generally praise-worthy but lacks visual inspiration, probably because of Jordi Roig's new scenery and costumes (the originals are long gone). Pastel colors in heavy materials and a stage surrounded by huge columns fail to excite. Siegfried's beige-gold outfit makes him fade into the background.

Vladimir Malakhov's prince is lyrical and romantic, technically brilliant, with light and lovely jumps. Brigitte Stadler has lovely swan arms and striking pointe work. She phrased her Odette variation beautifully, and her coquettish Odile conquered her thirty-two fouettes with flippant certainty. Together, the two principals were secure but lacking somewhat in soul. Other garlands: the Act I pas de cinq--Malakhov with Jolantha SeyEried, Eva Petters, David Cranson, and Akos Sebestyen; the Act III Hungarian dance of Seyfried and Christian Rovny; the successful segue from Act I to Act II without intermission.

Vienna is now the only company in the world with the Nureyev Swan Lake in its repertory. This careful revival is another feather in the cap of company ballet director Renato Zanella.


Lyn Seymour's lascivious double-take, as the Black Swan licks the length of her inner arm, sends the West End audience into paroxysms of delight. In Adventures in Motion Pictures's Swan Lake (Piccadilly Theatre, London, September 9, 1996-February 1, 1997) the Swan is male, as are his cob companions. British choreographer Matthew Bourne's hit version of the Tchaikovsky ballet is slated for Los Angeles in April and for New York City later this year.

The long London run has necessitated alternate casts. When Adam Cooper returned to the Royal Ballet (and then injured his foot), his role as the Swan was taken by his older brother, Simon Cooper (who's twenty-six), on leave from Rambert Dance Company, and by William Kemp (nineteen), a recent graduate of the Royal Ballet School. Former Royal ballerina Lynn Seymour (fifty-seven) came in as the Queen in October. Initially nervous after many years' absence from a major dance stage, she soon reveled in the role, performing four nights a week. Her mature Queen bears a strong resemblance to Princess Margaret, crossed with Empress Catherine the Great. Imperious in Act I, lustful in Act III, she reveals a mother's broken heart at the end. Young men who knew Seymour only as a legendary ballerina grab the chance to partner her: she dances, still, with the passion and idiosyncratic grace of her youth--and a wicked sense of humor.
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Title Annotation:Staatsoper, Vienna, Austria
Author:Teri, Evelyn
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Feb 1, 1997
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