The Royal New Zealand Ballet is celebrating 60 years in 2013 and on Thursday night we saw the company perform Swan Lake, accompanied by New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Tchaikovsky's masterpiece is a fitting celebration for the ballet, who are in very fine form.
Reviews are favourable and thoroughly deserved. The set is exquisite, conveying elegance, depth and mystique around the lake, which contrasts with the opulence of the palace. The costumes are a work of art themselves and work well with the highly technical choreography. (Count those jumps on pointes!)
Gillian Murphy playing the dual roles of Odette and Odile was beyond outstanding, if that's possible. It's hard to look anywhere else when Murphy takes the stage; her performance as the vulnerable Odette contrasted with the brash, self-assured Odile is truly mesmerising. Karel Cruz's legs go on forever, making every movement seem silky smooth. Rory Fairweather-Neylan delivered a strong, energetic performance as the jester and Sir Jon Trimmer appeared for a delightful cameo.
This production deviated from the traditional ending, which was a surprise but doesn't take away from the resplendent performance. Swan Lake by the Royal New Zealand Ballet really is a must see.