review by Sandra Prosnitz

Last week ABT presented Swan Lake, the greatest of all classical ballets.

The story has enchanted generations of ballet lovers.   Prince Siegfried has left his coming of age party and is wandering through the forest.   He is amazed to see a flock of swans land and turn into a group of young women.    Their leader,  Princess  Odette, explains that they have been  turned into  swans by an evil magician; only at night can they regain their human form.   She explains that true love can break the spell.   As dawn breaks and she has to resume her swan form, the prince realizes that he is in love with her.

At the ball where Prince Siegfried is to choose his wife, Von Rothbart, the evil magician, appears with his daughter, Odile, disguised as Odette.   She seduces Siegfried into declaring his love for her;   too late, he realizes that he has been tricked.

The grief-stricken lovers throw themselves into the lake, breaking Von Rothbart’s power and by their deaths ending his evil spell.

This ballet has everything.   Drama, the spectacle of the royal court, beautiful choreography and of course that lovely Tchaikovsky score.      ABT’s production is outstanding.

Veronika Part is a beautiful dancer, and I  certainly enjoyed watching her, but she was dramatically challenged.   Her Odette was too reserved;   she did not show deeply she fell in love with Prince Siegfried.    As a result, there was no contrast between the white swan, Odette, and the black swan, Odile. 

Cory Stearns was terrific as Prince Siegfried.    His dancing has a lovely light, effortless  quality, and he also acted the part effectively, from moody prince to exultant lover.

Ivan Vasiliev was a powerful Von Rothbart.     Sascha Radetsky, as Siegfried’s friend Benno, danced a charming pas de trois at the coming of age party with Melanie Hamrick and Stella Abrera.