Review: Boston Ballet’s 'Swan Lake'

Angelica Potter

  • OnStage Massachusetts Critic

BOSTON MA - Mikko Nissinen’s Swan Lake is back this spring after its incredibly successful World Premiere in 2014. Featuring vibrant, hand painted sets and one-hundred-twenty-seven handmade costumes designed by Robert Perdziola; this production is visually exquisite from the serene lake to the colorful castle ballroom. The magnificent music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was beautifully brought to life by the Boston Ballet Orchestra conducted by Jonathan McPhee. The opening night performance featured guest artist Gonzalo Garcia, of the New York City Ballet, wonderfully dancing the role of Prince Siegfried and partnering with Boston Ballet Principal Misa Kuranaga as Odette/Odile. Dancing the role of sorcerer Von Rothbart was Boston Ballet Principal Lasha Khozashvili. 

 Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen's Swan Lake; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen's Swan Lake; photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Act one, in the castle garden, was lively, as a superbly connected pas de trois, danced by Ji Young Chae, Seo Hye Han and Junxiong Zhao, entertained the Prince and his guests. The waltz and polonaise that followed were nicely danced by the company. As act two began, the lightness and joy of act one disappeared and as fog rolled into the orchestra pit, Lasha Khozashvili, as Von Rothbart, leapt across the stage. Though his solo was not very long, he danced with power and ferocity. His fierce intensity was a direct contrast to the graceful swans. While the swans were beautiful to watch, the cygnets, Diana Albrecht, Maria Alvarez, Jillian Barrell, and Corina Gill, dancing in complete unison, were a highlight.  Misa Kuranaga amazed as the beautiful white swan queen Odette. Her elegant fluidity and technique were impeccable. Dancing with Prince Siegfried, her characterization of the white swan was perfection. Though Garcia was a guest artist, his connection with Kuranaga was remarkable, as if they regularly partnered and performed together. 

Act three, taking place in the castle ballroom, was colorful and a joy to watch. The pas de cinq was energetically danced by Dusty Button, Lauren Herfindahl, Addie Tapp, Paul Craig and Patrick Yocum. Following the pas de cinq, a number of small groups danced, honoring Prince Siegfried’s coming-of-age ball, each with unique and stylish pizazz. What got the audience roaring with applause, however, was the pas de deux between Prince Siegfried and Odile the black swan. Kuranaga’s characterization of Odile was perfectly juxtaposed to that of Odette as she donned a cunning smile and danced with evil intent. The partner work between Kuranaga and Garcia was excellent and the audience loved every moment of their pas de deux. 

Act four began with a billowing, thick fog spilling out from the stage and into the orchestra. In a stunningly, magical moment the swans, at first hidden from our sight, glowingly rose up from the mist. As the fog began to dissipate, they danced as though they were one and beautifully glided over the stage.  The tension increased when Von Rothbart returned, but he was soon defeated by the love that bound Prince Siegfried and Odette to each other. The tragically beautiful ending to this ballet brought the audience quickly to their feet.  

Boston Ballet’s Swan Lake performs at the Boston Opera House until May 26th and if three robust, standing ovations is a sign that this show will quickly sell out once again, as it did in 2014, you should get your tickets now. Tickets and more information can be found at These performances are dedicated to the memory of former Boston Ballet Artistic Director Violette Verdy. 

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