Saturday, June 25, 2005

Ahh, What Tragic Love...

Roberta Marquez

Finally, the long awaited Royal Ballet has come to Singapore to perform the legendary Swan Lake. Many people has said that watching a live ballet is a totally different experience from watching it on screen, now, I've finally be able to understand fully what do they mean by that, especially when the ballet troupe I see is Royal Ballet. The ballerina was changed from Alina Cojocaru to Roberta Marquez in the last minute, due to some unknown reason. Was pretty disappointed in the first place, but nonetheless, it was still an excellent performance.

The tragic storyline was wonderfully brought out by the cast tonight. As the storyline unfolds, it was heart wrenching yet at the same time, emotionally fulfilling, for behind the tragic drama, there's so much beauty. The majesty and magnificence of the ballet shine through to the audience through the sheer artistry and brilliance of the dancers.

Roberta Marquez was certainly amazing tonight. She certainly danced the character of Odette-Odile very well, having a distinction between the two characters. In the duet between Prince Sigfried and Odette in Act II, the mood was that of an intense, passionate love, while in that Pas de Deux in Act III, Marquez managed to bring out the seductive side of Odile, yet retaining her own unique style. I lost count of the number of fouettes Marquez made tonight, but her fouettes certainly earned the thunderous applause of the audience here. Now, this is one rare occasion when the musicians wouldn't mind the audience clappping while the music is being played halfway.

The Royal Ballet is being accompanied by the Shanghai Phiharmonic Orchestra in this trip here. Now, I would like to make this clear, my applause tonight was solely for the wonderful dancers and not for the orchestra. If not for the fact that Tchaikovsky's music is still beautiful when played not so well, I would have just be suffering in there. The brass and woodwind sections were overpowering, drowning out the string section, sounding rough and barbaric at times. Talking about the string section, they sounded pretty dead. I did expected much more from this orchestra which they brought in, but they ought to learn that to make a music sound grand, they do not have to blast all their breath into the instruments. Moreover, Tchaikovsky's music is supposed to be emotional music. So I have absolutely no idea why they're trying so hard to achieve volume over expression. Oh well, I have to admire the dancers for being able to dance so well despite the orchestra playing below expectations.

All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful and emotional night of ballet dancing. =)

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