I lost track of how many curtain calls the Boston Ballet’s Swan Lake received on opening night this past Friday. They were all well deserved, especially for the exquisite leading lady, Misa Kuranaga. The production, which runs through May 26 at The Boston Opera House, brings back to our city a beloved ballet classic, one that is sure to dazzle dance lovers of all ages.
Swan Lake features the soaring music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreography adapted by the Boston Ballet’s Mikko Nissinen, based upon the original by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. The set and costume design by Robert Perdziola is an excellent backdrop to the tragic ballet, transporting the audience into a Renaissance-influenced fairytale of love and loss.
This was my first time seeing Swan Lake, and I was moved by its haunting story. A young woman, Odette, is captured by a sorcerer and turned into a swan. She meets a prince, and they fall in love. He promises to select her for his wife, thereby breaking the sorcerer’s spell and returning Odette to her human form. Unfortunately, he is tricked by the sorcerer into committing to another, leaving Odette as a swan and the lovers forever apart.
Odette, and the villainous Odile, the sorcerer’s daughter who is part of the plan to lure the prince away from Odette, are both played by Misa Kuranaga, a principal dancer with the Boston Ballet. Kuranaga brings great emotional depth to her characters, wowing the audience also with her artistry and presence. As Odile, also known as the Black Swan, she dances a pas de deux with 32 fouettés, or pirouettes performed in a whipping motion, that left me breathless. She was outstanding, and made the show for me.
Other highlights included Lasha Khozashvili as Von Rothbart, the sorcerer, and the pas de trois in the Act I performed by Ji Young Chae, Seo Hye Han, and Junxiong Zhao.
In addition to the high quality dance expertise we expect from the Boston Ballet, Swan Lake is a visually stunning performance; my favorite scene was of Odette and the other swans rising from the fog against a dark and sinister backdrop. From the first glance of the set to the first note of music to the first step the dancers take, the Boston Ballet’s Swan Lake draws you into its enduring story and has you hoping against hope that the prince and Odette will find their way to one another.
Tickets for Swan Lake start at $35 and can be purchased at the Boston Ballet’s website.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Swan Lake; all opinions included here are my own.