On Sunday 1 September, the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet officially opened its doors for its 152nd season. Four days later, the public was treated to a very special performance of Swan Lake, heralding the return of returning principal danseur, Oleksei Tyutyunnik. What’s On presents The WO Review – a new feature for a new season to keep you on your toes about what to expect at theatres around town.
This evening, the curtain opened on Swan Lake to the celebration of Prince Siegfried’s coming of age. Tyutyunnik made an impressive entrance as the Prince, showing a refined technique that offers him complete control; yet, his strongest attribute is his engaging stage presence and expressiveness. Tyutyunnik, originally from Ukraine, trained at the Kyiv School of Dance and began his career at the National Theatre. In 2013, he continued his career at the Mariinsky (formerly the Kirov) in Petersburg, Russia, but has returned this year to Kyiv and to his home theatre.
Anastasia Shevchenko, prima ballerina of the theatre, danced the role of Odette/Odile. As an artist who has refined her performance to perfection, this role appears so natural for her, with her long limbs mimicking the wingspan of a swan. It is exciting to see Shevchenko and Tyutyunnik dance together in a new partnership: their chemistry is fully realised in the fourth act, where the choreography simplifies and the relationship, which has been humbled, is forgiven with sweet tenderness. Differing from the usual practice, Shevchenko chose to substitute the 32 fouettés with pique turns en menage. This is a decision a professional ballerina must make and ultimately the effect is the same.
The corps de ballet of swans are exemplary and nearly perfect creating the hypnotising effect that brings the magic to Swan Lake. All of the soloists among the swan corps danced beautifully. Perhaps one only notices among the swans that they largely excel in stretch and flexibility but occasionally lack precision in the steps which require quick tightening of the muscles.
Upon entering the theatre, one immediately becomes caught up in its atmosphere. The building was constructed in the 19th century and its decorative architectural style takes one back to a time when Tchaikovsky himself once walked these halls. In addition, the theatre impresses with its set design and exquisite costumes.
Swan Lake will return 20 September with another high-profile performance featuring guest ballerina Ana Sophia Scheller from the Los Angeles Ballet. As George Balanchine once said, “Every dancer wants to dance Swan Lake and all audiences want to see them dance it.”
20 September at 19.00
National Opera Theatre (Volodymyrska 50)
From 200 UAH