Swan Lake by the Nashville Ballet

Nashville is celebrating a couple of anniversaries this year. Over at the Symphony they are celebrating Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero’s 10th year and at the Nashville Ballet they’ve begun Paul Vasterling’s 20th anniversary as director with a performance of Swan Lake under the classic Russian choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with the Nashville Symphony playing Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s incredibly romantic score. The performance, staged in a very traditional manner allowed for the original beauty of the work and the talent of the Nashville dancers to emerge.

Photo by Karyn Photography

Kayla Rowser dancing in the famous role of Odette/Odile, has a grace and beauty in boundless quantity. From the opening duet in which the wicked sorcerer Baron von Rothbart, dastardly danced by Jon Upleger, provided the exciting contrast that would drive the evening’s entertainment, she ruled the night. Indeed, much of the evening was quite magical, including the great Valse des cygnes from Act Two, and even more remarkable, the great Quartet Danse des petits cygnes given in lavish synchronicity by Jamie Kopit, Julia Mitchell, Sarah Pierce, and Lily Saito.

Photo by Karyn Photography

For his part, Nicolas Scheuer as Prince Siegfried, proved himself a dashing and debonair hero.  In the third act, his seduction by the evil Odile (Rowser), was remarkable.  And while for me, the lieto fine always seemed contrived, I was swept up in the grandeur of the final scene, and romantic moment of Odette and Siegfried standing together to face another day. In addition, the symphony performed Tchaikovsky’s score with such skill that I was lost in the action on the stage for much of it. One of Nashville’s greatest strengths lie in the longstanding collaboration amongst its artists. Hopefully, the collaboration will continue through to Director Vasterling’s 30th anniversary. On October 18 the Nashville Ballet will present Seven Deadly Sins (with music by Ten out of Tenn) and Superstitions (with music composed by Nashville based composer Cristina Spinei).

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