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St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake at the London Coliseum

Irena Kolesnikova. Photo credit Vladimir Zenzinov
Irena Kolesnikova. Photo credit Vladimir Zenzinov

Borrow, beg or blag a ticket but just get yourself into the Coliseum because this production of Swan Lake has to be seen. Stunning sets, sumptuous costumes, spine-tingling music and dancing that takes your breath away make this an evening to be treasured. By the end, I was left feeling utterly spellbound, silent and speechless. No words could possibly come close to describing the visceral power of this show.

The dancers from the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre are each and every one outstanding but over and beyond them are the two dancers at the heart of this show: Irina Kolesnikova who dances in two roles as Odette the White Swan and Odile the Black Swan. And Denis Rodkin who dances the role of Prince Siegfried. The erotic energy generated between these two is electrically charged high-voltage material. His combination of physical power and graceful effortless gliding movements across the stage are, as John Keats said: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever“.

Irina Kolesnikova is as ravishingly beautiful as a Ming vase or a Titian painting. Her orthogonal, arched back stretches and use of the arms are astonishing. When she holds a pose with arms stretched, head to the side and hands cupped she makes one believe that she is a swan. This production reaches a peak of romantic intensity in Act 1 Scene 2 as Odette and Prince Siegfried come together by the lake and like the Owl and the Pussycat, they dance by the light of the moon. A magical set, with gothic ruins, a full moon, mountains and a repoussoir of trees to frame the dancers, is underscored by Tchaikovsky’s most romantically charged music. Everybody should see this scene before they die. The rest is silence.

5 Star Rating

Review by John O’Brien

Founded in 1994, St Petersburg Ballet Theatre is renowned globally not just for its beautiful Vaganova trained dancers, but also for its stunning full-length productions. The company travels internationally performing classical masterpieces from its repertoire including Giselle, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. The incredibly popular Company is in such demand that it gives over 200 performances every year.

St Petersburg Ballet comes to the London Coliseum for 16 performances following seasons in Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Ireland, France, Italy, Austria, USA, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, New Zealand, Japan, China, Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong , Taiwan and Australia.

Listings Information:
Production: St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Present Swan Lake
Venue: London Coliseum, St Martin’s Ln, London WC2N 4ES
Dates: Wednesday 22nd August – Sunday 2nd September 2018


  • John OBrien

    JOHN O’BRIEN born in London in 1960 is a born and bred Londoner. His mother was an illiterate Irish traveller. His early years were spent in Ladbroke Grove. He was born at number 40 Lancaster Road. In 1967 the family was rehoused in Hackney. He attended Brooke House School for Boys in Clapton, - as did Lord Sugar. He became head boy and was the first person in his family to make it to university, gaining a place at Goldsmiths College in 1978. He took a degree in Sociology and a PGCE . From 1982 until 1993 he taught at schools in Hackney and Richmond. In 1984-85 he attended Bristol University where he gained a Diploma in Social Administration. From 1985 until 1989 he studied part-time in the evenings for a degree in English Literature at Birkbeck College. He stayed on at Birkbeck from 1990-1992 to study for an MA in Modern English Literature. He left teaching in 1993 and has worked as a tutor, researcher, writer and tour guide. He leads bespoke guided tours on London’s history, art , architecture and culture. He has attended numerous courses at Oxford University - Exeter College, Rewley House & Kellogg College. In London, he attends courses at Gresham College, The National Gallery, The British Museum, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, The British Academy and The Royal Society. Read the latest London theatre reviews by all reviewers.

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