BWW Reviews: American Ballet Theatre's 'Swan Lake' Still Special
In the wake of Julie Kent's Saturday retirement performance of Romeo and Juliet emerges American Ballet Theatre's week-long run of Swan Lake - their first production without the talents of their three recently retired superstars: Kent, Paloma Herrera, and Xiomara Reyes. Now one of only two American principal ballerinas, Gillian Murphy led the Monday night production as Odette/Odile, bringing new subtlety to the role.
Murphy's coyness as Odette is enchanting (rather than annoying, as it sometimes reads) because she demonstrates that Odette has only become coy through her years under von Rothbart's curse. She is more spirited in the prologue, intrigued by Cory Stearns' sexy Rothbart and abducted by him with a hint of willingness. Her resistance is too pretty to be completely sincere, but it is Odette, not Murphy, who is the poor actress.
Marcelo Gomes' Prince Siegfried, too, possesses layers of motivation. His Prince is strikingly more mature, more deliberate than last week's Romeo. He is a good host, a diplomat, willingly yet halfheartedly dancing with each of the women at his birthday party attempting to stake their claim on his new eligibility. He dutifully accepts his mother's charge of immediate marriage, only showing his disappointment and dread when she has left the room. He watches couples interacting in slow motion, seeming to see his own future unfold as he mourns the loss of freedom marriage will bring. As soon as he exits, off to the woods to escape impending reality, the couples burst into full-speed drunken galavanting. The Prince only perceives marriage as a loss of freedom, when in fact their intoxicated splendour is far superior (and far more free) than his eventual fate.