10-13 Dec 2006. In Swan Lake, choreography by Vladimir Bourmeister. Second-largest, second-oldest of Moscows ballet companies, the Stanislavsky differs from that citys premier troupe, the Bolshoi. It is less conservative than its big brother and is expected to have popular appeal. Its dancers come mostly from the Bolshois school, but the company gets second choices. The Stanislavskys own 1953 version of Swan Lake still has impact. Drama and dance always combine to propel the audience from conflict to conflict. Vladimir Burmeisters Prologue uses pliant natural movement for the human Odette, swept away in Rotbarts wings. Act I focuses on the tension between Siegfried and his mother, the Queen. More implacable than in other versions, she frowns on her sons frolics with peasant girls and gives him no gifts, only orders. For Act II, this version uses the traditional swan choreography, presumably by Ivanov. Even such pure dance serves a dramatic purpose as manifestation of the power and limits of Rotbarts spell. In Act III Odile appears and disappears among the national dancers like the magicians illusion that she is. In the last act and epilogue, Bourmeister resolves the ballets stylistic and dramatic themes; his ending unites the true lovers, but their happiness is not without melancholy.

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Address Teatro Carlo Felice, tel. 010589329. Also in Trieste 19-28 Dec 2006 at Teatro Verdi, tel. 0406722-111.

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Ballet of the Moscow Stanislavsky Theatre.

Teatro Carlo Felice, tel. 010589329. Also in Trieste 19-28 Dec 2006 at Teatro Verdi, tel. 0406722-111.