Wednesday, December 24, 2008


images from

Black ice on the roads today. It is definitely winter. Time for Swan Lake.

And I so love Uliana Lopatkina. Here she is in an impossibly beautiful and otherworldly interpretation of the Odette/White Swan Pas de Deux [YouTube video] adagio. People often mention her arms and height but I think her head movement and hands are uncanny.

And here is Adam Cooper in the notorious Michael Bourne version, start at 4:10 [YouTube video]. For all of the brash camp and fun in this production, this is a surprisingly human moment whose 'carrying' motif gets echoed throughout and in the final apotheosis. The Swan, as a character, here is made stronger and more nurturing than the classic mournful Odette and in an interesting (and very welcome) reversal, it is the Prince who is in need of saving.

I really like that. But I must admit I still prefer the remote, creaturely Odette by Lopatkina. She's alien and exquisite, and despite her distressed-damsel passivity, she has a certain brittleness and control in her lyricism that makes her believable as inspiring double love suicide and she would have given that (original) tragic finale its massive devastation. And with a style that is as ephemeral and brilliant as ice. For once, the upstaging black swan has got nothing on the white. Odile and her fouett├ęs can't compare (obviously, the Prince is a dolt) and the Bourne-Cooper Stranger is a thug in comparison. Lopatkina is mythic and, finally, Odette becomes a proper heroine for a dark winter's tale. No sugar plum fairies.

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