I have been attempting to see Swan Lake for as long as I can remember, so I cannot describe how excited I was to finally have the opportunity to see it with Boston Ballet. I’ve always joked that if Swan Lake is included in a Boston Ballet season, I’ll have some unexpected travel, move thousands of miles away, or in the case of 2020, a global pandemic will entirely pause all live performances and completely alter all of our lives. I don’t know why the universe has not let me experience Swan Lake before, but it’s become a running joke that when I see it listed some major catastrophe will happen that week.
The weeks leading up to Swan Lake were rather unpleasant around here. My Papa passed away earlier this month after a very abrupt decline. After taking time off to be with family during that time, I had just begun to catch up on work when we suspected my cat (Kona, not Maui, the diabetic) had lily poisoning, so we rushed her to the veterinary hospital for a pricey two-night stay.
Thankfully we brought Kona in early enough, and after getting her final blood test (actually on the day of Swan Lake, allowing the “I bet it won’t actually happen this year” jokes to continue until just hours before the performance), the vet was able to confirm that she’s showing no signs of kidney failure and will be okay.
I realize I haven’t even gotten to the actual ballet yet but in lieu of a usual short disclaimer that I received complimentary tickets and “all opinions are my own,” it seemed fitting to share my gratitude for the opportunity to spend a night out at the ballet after a very difficult couple of weeks. And while I know Boston Ballet was obviously not aware of any of this, I really cannot overstate how much I appreciated having something fun to do on my calendar during all of this even if it still didn’t seem real until we arrived at the Boston Opera House….
Swan Lake opened at the Boston Opera House on May 26 with performances running through June 5, 2022. This season is the first time Swan Lake has been performed by Boston Ballet since 2016, so it was very exciting to be in the audience for opening night.
If you are still with me on this post, you are probably familiar with the storyline of Swan Lake, and how it is one of the most renowned classical ballets of all time. The production includes such iconic moments as Odile’s 32 fouettés and the pas de quatre, “Dance of the Little Swans.” While I knew these moments would be coming, I cannot describe how captivating it was to watch these performances in person, along with the ultra-precise corps de ballet sequences that Swan Lake is known for.
All of the dancers in Swan Lake were spectacular, and I would especially note the performance by Viktorina Kapitonova who expertly portrayed both characters of Odette and Odile in terms of extremely technically footwork but also in acting and taking on each character.
The movements by Boston Ballet’s incredibly talented dancers combined with Tchaikovsky’s timeless score and costume designs by a collaboration between artistic director Mikko Nissinen and award-winning designer Robert Perdziola made for a truly memorable experience.
Every moment of the ballet, across all four acts, had me so focused on the stage from Act I’s pas de trois to the final curtain call, in a way that I am not sure I have experienced at not only any other ballet, but really any other live theatrical performance I have seen so far.
Moreso than any other ballet I have attended, the atmosphere in the audience was a testament to how exciting the performance was to watch, with audible gasps, cheers, and applause throughout the performance, and quite the lengthy (and well-deserved!) curtain call.
If you are able to see Swan Lake while it is up at the Boston Opera House, I highly recommend getting your tickets asap as shows are filling up (ticket details are listed below). And, if you are unable to make it to the theatre in person, Swan Lake will be streaming as part of Boston Ballet’s virtual season from June 9-19, with details about how to watch at bostonballet.org.
Tickets for Swan Lake start at $39 and are available at bostonballet.org/swanlake or by calling (617) 695-6955.
You can save $50 on tickets to Swan Lake with promo code BBFRIENDS at checkout for select dates through June 3, 2022.
Boston Ballet recently released the details for their 2022-23 season, so if you weren’t able to make it to Swan Lake, you’ll have lots of opportunities to catch a ballet next season.
The 2022-23 season includes:
- My Obsession (October 6-16, 2022)
- As Anticipated (November 3-13, 2022)
- The Nutcracker (November 25-December 31, 2022)
- Don Quixote (March 16-26, 2023)
- Our Journey (April 6-16, 2023)
- The Sleeping Beauty (May 25-June 4, 2023)
Next season’s tickets go on sale on August 23, 2022, and complete details are available at bostonballet.org.
Featured image credit (right): Viktorina Kapitonova and Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen’s Swan Lake; photo by Rosalie O’Connor; courtesy of Boston Ballet.