Lac, ballet by J-Ch. Maillot
At what point does a modern take on a classic become so different that it is unfair to compare the two? Choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot explores this very question with Lac, a production he developed with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. It takes its inspiration from Swan Lake, the seminal ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, but it puts a modern spin on its captivating fairy tale plot. This season, the now-legendary performance descends upon the stage of Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice with the original Monte-Carlo Ballet troupe, under the musical accompaniment of La Fenice Orchestra.
Lovers of Tchaikovsky’s original Swan Lake are in for a surprise. Gone is the classical ballet choreography, the foundations of which go back to legendary 19th-century ballet master Marius Petipa of St Petersburg Imperial Theatre fame. Instead, Jean-Christophe Maillot creates a dance-scape with much more modern, almost aggressive movement. Tchaikovsky’s dramatic score also gets a contemporary makeover. Fans of the original ballet will surely recognise the cutting-and-pasting of familiar passages in a new order that better reflects the updated narrative pace. The modest yet evocative stage designs by Ernest Pignon-Ernest create sharp contrasts between the castle and the lake, the black and the white, the good and the evil.
Lac still focuses on the dramatic love triangle between Prince Siegfried, the captive Odette and the evil temptress Odile who threatens their pure love. However, Maillot creates a different backstory. In this reimagining of Swan Lake, Odette is Siegfried’s long-lost first love abducted by a mysterious woman in black – a female version of the evil wizard Rothbart. Upon the return of the woman in black, Siegfried must choose the woman to whom his heart belongs – and enter a fierce battle to defend his choice. How will the drama resolve? Head to Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice to find out!