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American Ballet Theatre: Swan Lake 2007
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American Ballet Theatre

Swan Lake 2007
Metropolitan Opera House

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters:
Wes Chapman, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Georgina Parkinson, Clinton Luckett
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate

by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
June 30, 2007

Originally Published on

Swan Lake (1877, Moscow; 2000, ABT): Choreography by Kevin McKenzie after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, Set and Costumes by Zack Brown, Lighting by Duane Schuler. Swan Lake was first produced in 1877 by the Russian imperial Ballet at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre. In 1895, the Petipa/Ivanov choreography was introduced in St. Petersburg, and in 1940 ABT staged Act II, followed in 1944 by the premier of the Black Swan Pas de Deux at the Metropolitan Opera House. In 1988 Mikhail Baryshnikov staged a new version for ABT, and in 1993 Kevin McKenzie re-staged this piece for ABT and again newly produced Swan Lake in 2000. (Program Notes).

June 28, 2007: Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Nina Ananiashvili as Odette-Odile, Angel Corella as Prince Siegfried, Maria Bystrova as The Queen Mother, Frederic Franklin as Wolfgang, Gennadi Saveliev as Benno, the Prince's friend, Isaac Stappas and Jared Matthews as von Rothbart, Maria Riccetto, Stella Abrera, Gennadi Saveliev as Pas de Trois, Yuriko Kajiya, Sarah Lane, Anne Milewski, Renata Pavam as Cygnettes, Kristi Boone and Simone Messmer as Two Swans, Victor Barbee as Master of Ceremonies, Zhong-Jing Fang as The Hungarian Princess, Sarah Lane as The Spanish Princess, Renata Pavam as The Italian Princess, Hee Seo as The Polish Princess, Marian Butler and Julio Bragado-Young as Czardas, Jennifer Alexander, Alexei Agoudine, Adrienne Schulte, and Cory Stearns as Spanish Dance, Carlos Lopez and Grant DeLong as Neapolitan, and the Company as The Aristocrats, The Peasants, Swans, Czardas, and Mazurka.

June 30, 2007: Conductor: David LaMarche, Paloma Herrera as Odette-Odile, Angel Corella as Prince Siegfried, Georgina Parkinson as The Queen Mother, Frederic Franklin as Wolfgang, Carlos Lopez as Benno, the Prince's friend, Jared Matthews and Gennadi Saveliev as von Rothbart, Sarah Lane, Yuriko Kajiya, and Carlos Lopez as Pas de Trois, Karin Ellis-Wentz, Marian Butler, Anne Milewski, and Maria Riccetto as Cygnettes, Melissa Thomas and Simone Messmer as Two Swans, Clinton Luckett as Master of Ceremonies, Misty Copeland as The Hungarian Princess, Jennifer Alexander as The Spanish Princess, Renata Pavam as The Italian Princess, Hee Seo as The Polish Princess, Marian Butler and Alexei Agoudine as Czardas, Jennifer Alexander, Roman Zhurbin, Adrienne Schulte, and Julio Bragado-Young as Spanish Dance, Aaron Scott and Craig Salstein as Neapolitan, and the Company as The Aristocrats, The Peasants, Swans, Czardas, and Mazurka.

It's been a three-year wait for the return of Nina Ananiashvili as Odette-Odile, three years too long. Ms. Ananiashvili has spent the past three years as a new mother and as an Artistic Director of the National Ballet Ensemble of Georgia (Russia). On June 28th it seemed as though time had stood still, as Ms. Ananiashvili performed in incomparable fashion, partnered by Angel Corella as Prince Siegfried. Her arms still undulate, internally, as the wings of a swan. Throughout the ballet, there was expectant stillness in the air, as balletomanes awaited the Black Swan Pas de Deux, but each and every scene provided excitement and rapture. Angel Corella met the challenge of partnering Ms. Ananiashvili with exuberance and virtuosity. He was theatrical, impassioned, athletic, and in bravura stage presence at every moment. In fact, tonight was one of Mr. Corella's finest Swan Lake performances, among dozens. He treated Ms. Ananiashvili with respect and adoration.

Ms. Ananiashvili greeted her fans by taking a mid-Act bow, now and then, escorted by Mr. Corella. Her Odette was sensual, sensitive, and sensational. Her re-telling of her plight, woman to swan, exuded internal angst and mournful mime. Her rippling arms, back to her audience, into the spell of von Rothbart, outshone itself. Meanwhile, the White Swan Pas de Deux (Odette-Siegfried), at lakeside, had brought voluminous accolades for extraordinary balance, partnering, lifts, strength, and visual etherealness. Mr. Corella performed as a true star, a virtuoso. He must have been aware of the memories of Ms. Ananiashvili partnered by Julio Bocca in so many show-stopping Swan Lakes. But, Mr. Bocca retired last spring, and now Mr. Corella filled his shoes nicely. This was a historical event. The Black Swan Pas de Deux (Odile-Siegfried) fulfilled our expectations, as Mr. Corella spun about and leaped about and mesmerized their fans. The Opera House walls shook, as Ms. Ananiashvili completed the final few of her 32 fouettés.

Isaac Stappas and Jared Matthews were the two von Rothbarts, the sorcerer and the sharp, slick, escort of Odette at the Great Hall ceremony. Mr. Stappas' detailed portrayal as a winged predator exploded with venom. Mr. Matthews' solo dance as the sly, slick escort at the Hall was studied and sexy. He seduced The Queen Mother, Maria Bystrova, easily. Frederic Franklin was as persuasive as always, a young 93 years of age, as Wolfgang, the tutor. Gennadi Saveliev, as Benno, added energy to a hormonally energetic event. His lead in the Pas de Trios with Maria Riccetto and Stella Abrera was riveting. The Cygnettes were, as always, synchronized and split-timed, and Two Swans commanded presence as well. Victor Barbee is always mesmerizing, and, as Master of Ceremonies, he kept the action dynamic. Hee Seo was startlingly effervescent as The Polish Princess, an artist to watch. In the Czardas, Marian Butler and Julio Bragado-Young added smooth classicism, and Carlos Lopez and Grant DeLong were buoyant and captivating in Neapolitan. Ormsby Wilkins was on hand for this riveting evening, and the Ballet Theatre Orchestra was scintillating, with the requisite harps, solo violins, and hypnotic score. Kudos to Nina Ananiashvili. Hopefully there will be no further sabbaticals.

On June 30th, Angel Corella seemed even more relaxed in a repeat performance as Prince Siegfried, partnering the ever-dynamic Paloma Herrera. This second partnership is always spell-binding. Ms. Paloma's interpretation of Odette-Odile is more percussive, sharp, striking, than the ethereal, undulating, scintillating Ms. Ananiashvili. Two Swans, two bravura virtuosos. Ms. Herrera's Odette was yielding but self-possessed. Her Odile was cunning, demonic, wily, and wanton. Together Odile and Siegfried breathed fire. Ms. Herrera executed triple fouettés, counting to the requisite 32, while Mr. Corella executed triple spins, no count required. Ms. Herrera does not undulate her arms, but she undulates her eyes. Hers is an Odile in attack mode, and Mr. Corella is the impassioned prey. Frederic Franklin once again proudly performed as Wolfgang. Georgina Parkinson was a seasoned Queen Mother, and Clinton Luckett a seasoned Master of Ceremonies.

Jared Matthews returned as von Rothbart, but, this time, as the menacing monster, not the exciting escort. Mr. Matthews is an artist to watch, appearing often in studied solos. Gennadi Saveliev appeared this time as von Rothbart, the escort, and he danced in dervish fashion to confuse and confound Siegfried and his Queen Mother. Carlos Lopez was Benno, and his Pas de Trois with Sarah Lane and Yuriko Kajiya was zestful and artful. The Cygnettes and Two Swans were entrancing, and Misty Copeland, as The Hungarian Princess, is another artist to watch carefully, as she continues to dazzle. Hee Seo was an exuberant Polish Princess, and Arron Scott and Craig Salstein were vigorous in Neapolitan. David LaMarche was impeccably suited to conduct Ballet Theatre Orchestra with this vibrant cast. Kudos to Paloma Herrera and Angel Corella.

Nina Ananiashvili and Angel Corella at the Early Curtain Call

Photo courtesy of Tommy Ng

Nina Ananiashvili and Angel Corella at the Late Curtain Call

Photo courtesy of Tommy Ng

Nina Ananiashvili at the Stage Door

Photo courtesy of Tommy Ng

Angel Corella at the Stage Door

Photo courtesy of Tommy Ng


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at