Boston Opera House
October 30, 2014
by Dale Brauner
copyright © 2014 by Dale Brauner
After a six-year hiatus, “Swan Lake” is back at Boston Ballet, which began its 2014-15 season with a new production of the beloved P.I. Tchaikovsky ballet by Mikko Nissinen, the company's artistic director. Each time a new iteration of “Swan Lake” is introduced, we anticipate which way the stager will go. All this tinkering is not surprising, since the ballet has endured changes since its premiere in 1875, even in Tchaikovsky’s lifetime. The ballet as we know it took shape in 1895 when Marius Petipa with his assistant Lev Ivanov choreographed their version for the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. In Boston, Nissinen, who is credited with the choreography “after Petipa and Ivanov,” presents a rather traditional telling of the classic. He keeps Petipa’s four-act structure but has only one intermission, between the second and third acts. Even though there’s an effort to streamline, the evening still clocks close to three hours.