• Julia Sumzina

Swan Lake by Rudolf Nureyev. Opéra national de Paris

During the quarantine many theatres around the world gave the audience the access to the performances from different years. Talking about ballet, it's impossible not to notice the opportunity of watching the ballets by Mariinsky, Bolshoi theatres, Royal Opera House, Opéra national de Paris and other leading ballet companies.

I would like to write the series of reviews on some of these shows especially for La Notte and to start with the “Swan Lake” by Rudolf Nureyev performed by Paris Opera Ballet. From 30th March until 5th April the record of “Swan Lake” (from 21 February 2019) with Léonore Baulac, Germain Louvet and François Alu in the main roles is available on www.operadeparis.fr . “To me, Swan Lake is one long daydream of prince Siegfried. Reared on romantic reading, his desire for infinity has been fired and he refuses the reality of the power and the marriage forced on him by his tutor and his mother. To escape from the dreary destiny that is being prepared for him, he brings the vision of the lake, this “elsewhere” for which he yearns, into his life. An idealized love is born in his mind, along with the prohibition that it represents. (The white swan is the untouchable woman, the black swan the reverse mirror image, just as the evil Rothbart is a corrupt substitute for Wolfgang, the tutor). And so when the dream fades away, the sanity of the prince does not know how to survive”. Rudolf Nureyev about his “Swan Lake”.



Siegfried is the main character of this ballet and Germain Louvet makes him a vulnerable and soft but very charismatic young man with some kind of aristocratic personality which is so suitable to this dark but romantic fairy tale.


Léonore Baulac is more Odette for me than Odile, but she tries to show both sides of the Swan Queen from Siegfried's imagination. There are no two main characters in this version there are three of them. Rothbart's personality is also dual, he is not only an evil genius or a black wizard, he is performed as Wolfgang in the beginning, and then he evolutionizes to Rothbart in the unconscious of the prince.


So, this “Swan Lake” is very beautiful ballet, one of the most interesting European productions of XX century, still so actual nowadays. It is worth to see for all the spectators, who want not tonly to admire but also analyze this classical story.


Text: Julia Sumzina, @js_artsreview

Photos: Svetlana Loboff, Julien Benhamou, OnP

Videos: Opéra national de Paris

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