THE MUSIC MAN
With Seán Martinfield
SWAN LAKE, The San Francisco Ballet
February 9, 2006
I have to admit I am a die-hard fan of Tchaikovsky and
particularly of SWAN LAKE. Under the knowing eyes of choreographer
Helgi Tomasson, four sets of principals were signed for nine presentations.
Given the company's world class status and the international origins
of its 73 listed members, the variation on the experience depends
upon the day you attend. Mine was at the seventh in the series
and the second showing for Lorena Feijoo, Davit Karapetyan, and
Moises Martin. Presumably, my team has read everyone's review
and knows what to do.
When it comes to SWAN LAKE, the first thing I check for are the
number of Intermissions two (it's going to be a long afternoon),
and what the synopsis indicates about the Finale. This revival
of the 1988 production has the lovers drown themselves down by
the river while the bad guy dies of evilness. Oh, THAT ending.
From the first downbeat, conductor Martin West lured us back
to the shadows of 19th Century Russia. Such familiar and haunting
strains, but all at once fresh, unnerving, and anxious to unfold.
West is the ballet dancer's dream he is with the performer
at every turn, through every pause, extension and landing. He
supports the objectives of each character and fulfills the device
of every scene. Whenever "motivation for being in the room"
might register as somewhat vague or the fanciful plot a trifle
rippled, West and his orchestra makes consistently clear and plausible.
Transported in time we might have seen the Maestro, along
with the solo violinist and cellist, summoned to the Royal Box.
No matter its convoluted legends, historical interpretations
or even musical insertions (this revival appropriates the composer's
"Serenade Melancolique, Opus 26" for the Pas de Deux
of Act III, Scene II) SWAN LAKE remains the quintessential ballet
because it includes every hallmark of classical dance. Moreover,
this glamorous vehicle has elbow room for everybody. Its built-in
accessories accommodate an entire company, always offering a clear
view to the dancer who looks down the road. From Little Swanettes
and Boy Cavaliers dashing past swarms of ever-fertile and bounding
ingénues to the maturing Queen Mother and wizened Tutor
everyone on the totem gets their moment. Under the flattering
light of designer David K. H. Elliott one can see the Apprentice
and Soloist who demonstrates (that day, anyway) they have what
it takes to deliver under pressure and may on some future season's
roster be registered as Principal Dancer. I believe that young
and charming Hansuke Yamamoto will be one of them. In the First
Act Pas de Trois, the delirious height of his turns and even-tempered
follow-throughs caused a noticeable gasp throughout the house
and roused the first wave of well-deserved applause.
Though it took a while to figure out, Davit Karapetyan (our "Prince
Siegfried") proved himself the Ideal Man in this flood of
femininity dominating SWAN LAKE. Not the most effective actor
in town, Karapetyan is a commanding figure in the air. He is the
best friend a Prima Ballerina such as Lorena Feijoo could have
he doesn't get in the way. "Siegfried" is bored,
bothered, bewildered and every eligible Princess knows it. The
royal jewels look great, but remember the ending?
this branch of the Family Tree is going nowhere but down. All
we need is an amazing guy who knows his athletic bits are coming
up and his duty is to support the fiercely focused and flawless
Feijoo. She is a spit-fire, calibrated to perfection, driving
the "Odette-Odile" roles to an absolute pinnacle. Out
in the house, a particular bevy of swains no doubt dazzled
by the brilliance of her 32 fouettés led the screams
during our standing ovation. Somebody alert the office
they're gonna be flying in for Feijoo.
Keep your eyes all over newly-signed soloist, Moises Martin,
the erotic "Von Rothbart", for the rest of the season.
here for Seán Martinfield archive.