This past Saturday I attended Korean National Ballet Company‘s performance of Swan Lake at Seoul Arts Center. It seemed as though there was not a seat left open in the entire opera house, although that might have been because it was a 7:30 Saturday showing. That being said, I had been able to reserve a pretty fantastic seat for myself– in the 3rd row– and I was really able to enjoy an unadulterated view of the performers, their expressions, and their carefully designed costumes.
The Korean National Ballet Company staged choreographer Yuri Grigorovich’s rendition of the Tchaikovsky masterpiece. The performance was an especially demanding one: two male pas de deux, the court jester’s 36 pirouette revolution feat, and the addition of a Russian dance during Act 2, Scene 3, when Siegfried is to chose a bride at his mother’s castle. I generally go to a performance of Swan Lake every winter, but this was my first time seeing Grigorovich’s “happy” conclusion of the ballet: before Evil Genius Rothbart is able to do away with Prince Siegfried, betrayed Odette throws herself between the Evil Genius and the Prince, “their love [triumphing] over the Evil Genius to finally bring him down.”
It was definitely an exciting performance– the audience seemed thrilled to be there. Everyone seemed especially struck by the Court Jester and his litheness and acrobatic agility. His pirouettes and leaps were nothing short of impressive. I will say that I was not nearly as happy with the performance of Ji-Young Kim, the ballerina charged with the dual role of Odette and Odile. She played the roles with a similar “air” which ultimately served to minimize the differences between the “good” Odette and the “evil” Odile. Also, I was not nearly as impressed with her fouettés as I have been at past performances. I guess I was hoping for a Gillian Murphy or Svetlana Zakharova execution…
Odette/ Odile: Ji-Young Kim (김지영)
Siegfried: Young-Jae Jung (정영재)
To get to the Seoul Arts Center, take subway line 4 to Chungmuro station and transfer to subway line 3. Get off at Nambu Bus Terminal station and use exit # 7. You’ll either have to walk the 10 minutes to the SAC or catch a bus or taxi.