October 28, 2006
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Play Review: Swan Lake

Kirov Ballet wows Ottawa audience
By ANN MARIE McQUEEN, Ottawa Sun


Russia's Kirov Ballet performing Swan Lake at the National Arts Centre. (Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun)

OTTAWA - What a way to feel like a mere clod-hopping mortal.

The famed Kirov Ballet flitted into the National Arts Centre, all ethereal ballerinas and powerful, tautly muscled dancers, wowing a sold-out crowd at Southam Hall just the way everyone knew they would.

The 223-year-old company has not paid a visit to the capital since 1989, and for those lucky enough to score tickets to six shows running here through tomorrow, their production of Swan Lake is everything it is billed to be.

The production is staged with 100 impeccably costumed dancers on a set that transports the audience to a time of classical romance. The Kirov’s 66-piece orchestra, conducted with a featherweight touch by Pavel Bublenikov, filled the hall with the lush sounds of Tchaikovsky’s rich and famous score.

There is a tragic resolution to the story of Prince Siegfried and his soulmate, a swan who is initially only able to assume human shape at night.

The romance of Odette and Siegfried is repeatedly thwarted by the evil forces of dark sorcerer Rothbart. But luckily, Ottawa is being treated to a happy ending, and Odette the woman and Siegfried the prince live happily ever after.


The undeniable focal point of the evening was prima ballerina Alina Somova, a lithe, impossibly slim dancer who thrilled most when she was clad in black to play Odile, the evil twin of Odette.

Igor Kolb was capable and emotive as Siegfried. But when it comes to male dancers, Adrei Ivanov stole most of the scenes he was in as the impish, athletic court jester, at one point tossing out a jaw-dropping number of plies.

Ivanov will also perform both today and tomorrow nights’ shows. Due to the demands of the lead roles, the rest of the weekend’s principal performances will be assumed by new dancers.

Swan Lake wraps up its run tomorrow.
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