Mesmerising Rendition of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall

London – The English National Ballet’s Swan Lake in the round had its grand debut in 1997. This magnificent production was choreographed by Derek Deane, the then-director of the company, and has since enchanted more than half a million viewers. Although the vastness of the Royal Albert Hall might overshadow some of the ballet’s delicate nuances, Deane’s rendition focuses on delivering an awe-inspiring spectacle, enhanced by theatrical dry ice effects. The vision of 60 swans clad in glittering white tutus, gliding in unison on pointe, is truly breathtaking.

Tamara Rojo is mesmerizing and poignant as Odette, and exudes confidence and allure as Odile. Her Prince, portrayed by Matthew Golding, a guest artist from the Dutch National Ballet, impresses with his pristine technique, soaring leaps, and flawless turns. Their partnership particularly shines in the Black Swan pas de deux, executed with exceptional flair. While Golding’s technical brilliance is evident, Rojo’s profound emotional depth and tragic intensity make her performance truly outstanding.

Aside from this slight contrast in emotional delivery, the evening is a spectacular success. Deane’s choreography employs a range of inventive, if occasionally bold, techniques. Peter Farmer’s designs continue to dazzle, with the Act 1 costumes in muted shades of grey-green and gold being especially delightful. The ENB dancers are impeccably refined, a testament to Rojo’s leadership as the company’s artistic director. The Act 1 pas de douze is performed with remarkable precision, highlighted by the excellent performances of James Forbat and Adela Ramirez. Ksenia Ovsyanick brings a serene presence as the lead swan, Désirée Ballantyne radiates as the princess, and Nancy Osbaldeston and Yonah Acosta add zest to the Neapolitan Dance, despite their prolonged wait on stage.

This grand-scale ballet operates on multiple levels. There’s the compelling drama of the performance itself, somewhat tempered by the expansive venue, and the impressive spectacle of the event. It’s heartening to watch these young, often less experienced dancers, rise to the challenge of a four-act ballet on pointe. Despite some visible nerves, their unwavering commitment and precise execution are a testament to their dedication and the enduring legacy of ballet.

British ballet aficionados have always cherished a personal connection with the dancers, viewing them both as interpreters of roles and as relatable individuals. Successful ENB directors understand this dual narrative, where even a traditional repertoire can unfold the evolving stories of the dancers. While the ending of Swan Lake is well-known, the journeys of Rojo, Acosta, and Osbaldeston continue to captivate. The music remains unchanged, but each performance tells a fresh and unique story.

For more shows at the Royal Albert Hall visit:

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Francesca Lombardo is a freelance journalist. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the LCC of London and her articles has been published by the Financial Times, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, The Herald, Sunday Express, Daily Express, Irish Independent, The Sunday Business Post, A Place in the Sun, Ryanair Magazine, Easyjet Magazine, CNBC magazine, Voyager magazine, Portugal Magazine, Travel Trade Gazette, House Hunter in the sun, Homes Worldwide and to Italian outlets, Repubblica, D Repubblica, L'Espresso, Il Venerdì, Vogue, Vogue Uomo, Vogue Casa, GQ, Il Sole 24 Ore, F Magazine, TU Style, La Stampa, "A", Gioia. Francesca Lombardo has trained at the business desks of the Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Daily Express. She has authored a children's book series titled Beatrice and the London Bus. website:

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