Luz San Miguel and Davit Hovhannisyan in Michael Pink's "Romeo and Juliet" (Photo: Rick Brodzeller)

Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Swan Lake’ Is One Gorgeous Dance after Another

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By Elaine Schmidt, Special to the Journal Sentinel

MILWAUKEE (Milwaukee Sentinel) — And now for something completely gorgeous: The Milwaukee Ballet opened a production of “Swan Lake” on May 31 at the Marcus Center.

Choreographed by artistic director Michael Pink, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s legendary 1895 production, with the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra and conductor Pasquale Laurino playing the famous Tchaikovsky score, the production is a feast of beauty, grace, emotional depth and exquisite classical dance — lots and lots of classical dance.

The ballet’s story, which tells of young lovers Odette and Siegrfried, who are doomed by the ruthless greed of Odile, is less a detailed narrative than a through-line for scene after scene of heartbreakingly beautiful solos and pas de deux, and stage-filling ensemble numbers.

Dancing those roles on Thursday (also scheduled to appear on Friday and Saturday evenings) were Luz San Miguel as Odette, Marize Fumero as Odile, and Davit Hovhannisyan as Siegfried.

San Miguel’s delicate, emotionally intense Odette, and the relationship between her character and Hovhannisyan’s Siegfried gave the production its heart.

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Fumero’s haughty, conniving, intense character and her heartless toying with Siegfried and the audience gave the production its sizzle.

Hovhannisyan, as a pure-hearted, tragic Siegfried, was the focus of Odile’s treachery and, in the end, the force that triumphed over evil.

The three dancers each gave powerful, articulate performances, creating two radically different couple pairings, both physically and emotionally.

The story of “Swan Lake” could probably be told by the just the three principal characters, but that would rob audiences of rich scenes full of the captivating grace of dancing swans, the elegance of dancing courtiers, and the robust and sometimes playful dancing of hunting ladies, huntsmen and villagers.

The ensemble work in this production of “Swan Lake” is spectacular. Large ensembles bring precision, energy and dramatic focus to the stage, while artfully danced solos and pas de deux by various characters, as well as believable interplay between ensemble members, create vivid characters.

The production elements of this “Swan Lake” are also essential to its success, from Jose Varona’s ornately detailed costumes in rainbows of pastels and saturated colors, and elaborate, detailed sets, and the subtle-to-dramatic effects of David Grill’s lighting.

Topics: Ballet, community

Milwaukee Ballet’s “Swan Lake” finished its run on June 3. For upcoming programs, visit www.milwaukeeballet.org.

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