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Vienna Festival Ballet in Swan Lake at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 13th Nov 2014 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood


Like all little girls of my era I wanted to be a ballerina, and spent hours reading stories about them and drawing tutus and ballet shoes.

Half a decade later the magic is still there, and it is thanks to small companies like the Vienna Festival Ballet that classical favourites such as Giselle, Coppelia and The Nutcracker can be seen by a wide audience everywhere.

The company, founded by Austrian dancer and artistic director Peter Mallek in 1980, tours for seven months of the year with a repertoire of six ballets.

Their latest offering at Windsor is probably the greatest and most popular of all ballets, combining a good story with Tchaikovsky’s spellbinding music, but on the Theatre Royal’s small stage the love story which is overshadowed by the evil Baron Rothbart becomes an almost intimate experience.

It’s a pity the programme doesn’t give the names of the leading dancers as I would like to mention in particular the flamboyant and highly entertaining jester and the prima ballerina who dances the part of the Queen of the Swans. She has an almost ethereal presence and her pas de deux with Prince Siegfried is exquisite.
Odette Prince - Swan Lake.jpg 

The corps de ballet also portray the swans seamlessly, but in the palace scenes were, on the night I saw them, a little untidy and not always in time.

However, the overall experience was enchanting, if not a little spoiled by a fellow reviewer sitting in front of me taking notes on her (bright) tablet.

I know we live in a technological age, and I embrace it – to a certain extent. But the theatre is one place where we should be allowed to be transported into another world, and while the hard working young members of the Vienna Festival Ballet were giving their all, I found it distracting and disrespectful that someone should be using a tablet and then, obviously having made enough notes, left at the interval.

Vienna Festival Ballet’s production of Swan Lake continues at the Theatre Royal Windsor until Nov 15.

Box Office: 01753 853888



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