My first thought after having seen ‘Le Songe d’une nuit d’été’ was: wow.
Based on Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the ballet interpretation is an innovative performance. With complex choreography and an incredibly potent score, this is one of the superior modern ballet performances that I have seen.
Mellifluous movement, polyrhythmic choreography, sophisticated scenery, vividly imagined costumes and the perfect music score combined to make this a spectacular performance. Titania, danced by Yu Otagaki, is a mischievous and elegant character. Her fancies aid her coquettish movement and she seems to defy gravity with mid-fall pauses, as if resting on particles of air. Her counterpart, Oberon, danced by Joseph Aitken, was a strong, imperial and graceful character. As a duo they were interdependently harmonious and a regal couple.
When watching the dancers you almost forgot about the music, so fluent and perfect an accompaniment was it. In fact, it reminded me of the records you used to hear being played. The orchestration was faultless with perfected dynamics which only enhanced the performance of the dancers.
The scenery was innovative. Set in a forest, the costumes echoed the revolving idea of nature with billowing folds of costumes and skin-coloured leotards. The lights, too, danced across the stage, following the twirls of every ballerina and catching their steps as they flew across the stage. The special effect of the mini explosion of lights caught the audience’s attention. Indeed, at no point could you hear a sigh from the audience: every moment was tense with suspense.
It is good that the audience is kept focused for at times the choreography becomes a little complicated, and so it is easy to lose the plot. However, this creates part of the excitement at watching the drama unfold before you. The ‘trois comediens’ were truly hilarious, with a modern twist of underlying homosexual tones, and set the audience with broad grins spreading across their faces.
As one sways to a waltz, so the audience was captivated by the euphonic music and elegantly lively movements of every ballerina. Sadly the performance is no longer running in Geneva but the taster above will hopefully inspire you to follow the company for the next show, which should fill you with awe, admiration and happiness. For any ballet aficionado, ‘Le Songe d’une nuit d’été’ is a performance that one must go see.
For more performances at the Geneva Opera house, visit their website here.