Bolshoi’s bland and bilious Swan Lake

The choreography and dancing are sublime.  The production, particularly costumes and lighting not so.


Svetlana Zakharova

Swan Lake is probably the world’s best known ballet.  Classical in style, it was created for the Bolshoi Ballet in 1877 to sublime music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  Yuri Grigorovich rechoreographed much of this in 1969 and revised this in 2001 and it is this version that the movie features.  Act 2 is pure Petipa.

This production was filmed live at the Bolshoi Ballet on 25 January 2015, for broadcast into cinemas globally.  Sadly, the costumes for Acts 1 and 3 are bland, brown/beige things for the most part and one feels the drab effect.

Acts 2 and 4 are what define Swan Lake as a “White Ballet”, performed in white costumes with soft moolight and a feeling of otherworldly eeriness.  Sadly the lighting in this production is yellow from above, giving the swans a jaundiced look and making the audience vaguely bilious.  All other colour wss stripped away, so the grey and yellow was relentless.  There was more colour stripping for much of Act 3.  Seriously ugly.

The dancing is flawless and the ending is the classical sad one (I prefer that one).

Swan Lake releases on South African screens on Saturday, 18 February for four screenings only – on 18, 22 and 23 February at 19:45, and on 19 February at 14:30 – only at Ster-Kinekor’s Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town. Bookings are now open. The running time of this ballet production is 180 mins, including one interval.

For booking information on the Bolshoi Ballet’s SWAN LAKE at Nouveau, visit or Follow us on Twitter @nouveaubuzz or on Facebook at Cinema Nouveau. For queries, call TicketLine on 0861 Movies (668 437).


About moirads

Clergy person, theatre and music lover, avid reader, foodie. Basically, I write about what I do, where I go and things I love (or hate).
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