This 2010 recording of Tchaikovsky's eternally popular Swan Lake ballet, with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra might be ideal for dancing, but it is less ideal purely as a listening experience.
Bob James was far from predictable in the '90s, when his albums ranged from the embarrassing Playin' Hooky to the excellent Straight Up (an unexpected return to straight-ahead jazz) and the enjoyable pop-jazz offering Grand Piano Canyon. Drawing on pop, jazz and new age, The Swan is lightweight and sleep-inducing on the whole, but it does have its moments.
Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet by a prestigious New York City company. The production requires a ballerina to play the innocent and fragile White Swan, for which the committed dancer Nina (Portman) is a perfect fit, as well as the dark and sensual Black Swan, which are qualities better embodied by the new arrival Lily (Kunis). Nina is overwhelmed by a feeling of immense pressure when she finds herself competing for the part, causing her to lose her tenuous grip on reality and descend into a living nightmare.
Agnès Letestu, a feminine and warm Odette, and José Martinez, a convincing, pale, vulnerable prince Siegfried, are the stars of this deeply passionate, 'dream’ version of Swan Lake. Rudolf Nureyev’s interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s lyrical ballet, far from being a clichéd stereotype, is an exposé of astonishingly powerful and recognisable human emotions. Under the inspired and clear-cut musical direction of Vello Pähn, this production is one of the jewels of the Paris Opera Ballet’s repertoire.
Tamara Rojo, world-famous ballerina and artistic director of English National Ballet, takes us backstage as she prepares for one of classical ballet's biggest challenges, the dual lead in Swan Lake. It is the ultimate role for any dancer, requiring her to play the completely contrasting characters - Odette the White Swan and Odile the Black Swan. With unprecedented access, the disarmingly candid Rojo reveals her insights on the role's physical and psychological challenges. Through demonstration and masterclass, she reveals how to read the choreography of some of Swan Lake's most famous scenes. Along the way Rojo gives us a glimpse of Swan Lake's history - its genesis through to 21st-century incarnations. She looks back at some of the greats that inspired her and leads the way forward, coaching the next generation of rising stars. This film celebrates Swan Lake as an evolving and living work of art - the ultimate classic.