The Australian Ballet
Arts Centre Melbourne / State Theatre
September 29, 2023 (livestream)
by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf
The sixtieth anniversary season of the Australian Ballet called for the crème de la crème of classical ballet: “Swan Lake”. Of the several versions kept in the company’s archive, artistic director David Hallberg decided to reinvent Anne Woolliams’s 1977 rendition. Hallberg, for whom this project marked his debut as a director, commissioned a fresh look, but kept 95% of Woolliams’s choreography. The remaining parts were contributed not by himself (“I’m definitely not a choreographer”, he stated during last Friday’s livestream), but by the Australian choreographer Lucas Jervies.
Woolliams’s “Swan Lake” opens with a prologue, in which the malicious von Rothbart casts a spell over captivated maidens, transforming them into obedient swans. The following four acts are in line with the traditional libretto, but include some noteworthy details. At his birthday party, the prince doesn’t meet his potential fiancées face-to-face, but is confronted with a political choice between the crowns presented by ambassadors from Spain, Hungary, and Italy. The related princesses only attend the ball in Act III, where they lead their country’s delegation of folk dancers. (more…)