Possibly the greatest composer of the 20th Century, Tchaikovsky continues to entertain and entrance audiences with his swirling operas and timeless ballets. And so, Tchaikovsky is an obvious, and effective, musical focus for Boris Eifman's latest ballet.
Of his hundreds of compositions, choosing merely a handful to showcase is a seemingly impossible task, yet Eifman makes it appear effortless. His troupe of elite dancers take to the stage with emotion and gusto to pay homage to the man responsible for perhaps the most famous ballet of them all, Swan Lake.
The demure swans make appearances throughout the performance, and are the beacon of shining light in the otherwise tortured mind of the great artist.
Confronted with his sexuality, anxiety and the crippling desire to be accepted by society, Tchaikovsky and his creations fill the stage, encompassing the composer's mind and body in a thrilling exhibition of fantastical storytelling and athletic ability.
Oleg Markov as the title character remains on stage for almost the entire performance, stretching himself across the two hours with the stamina of an Olympic athlete.
Joined by an impressively large ensemble, the stage was at times overcrowded with elaborate costumes and bodies, losing some of the intricate symmetry in the movement. Slightly clumsy at times, the choreography wasn't as seamless as the recent performance of Anna Karenina, and the male dancers proved stronger and more in sync than their female counterparts.
Regardless of the sometimes awkward ensemble, the principle dancers are consistently exceptional. Leaping their way through the brilliant score, Markov and his over-sexed wife, (played by Angela Prokhorova) are glorious examples of Russia's finest artists. It is the soloists that make Tchaikovsky a beautiful performance that you will remember long after the curtain has fallen.
The Eifman Ballet presents
Chorographed by Boris Eifman
Venue: Regent Theatre, Melbourne
Dates: Aug 29 - Sep 9