Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Houston Ballet: Swan Lake

This past Saturday Daniel's brother Josh, hubby and I went to the Houston Ballet's performance of Swan Lake. Oh. My. Goodness. It was completely breathtaking! I have been to 8-9 professional ballet performances between The Milwaukee Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet (Chicago) and the Houston Ballet. Houston'a Swan Lake was by far my favorite! The opportunity to go came at just the right time too.

Lately I have been feeling a little, homesick? I guess that's the word? That isn't completely right, because Texas is home and I'm not totally distraught like I have been in the past missing my family, friends, and all things familiar. But I have been missing everyone/everything none the less. So when Josh randomly asked if we wanted to join him at the ballet that weekend, we said yes! It was the perfect sort of thing to get out of a kind of gloomy mood and have something fun for the weekend planned. Houston is still a very "new" city to me, so I love when an opportunity arises to go do something fun in Houston!

Also, I  was finally able to wear my headband of strands of twisted crystal rhinestones that I bought and haven't been able to wear yet. I wish I had a better picture! But, believe it or not I hardly took any pictures! We had so much fun talking in the car and jamming out to music that I did't have time to worry about my camera! That, and you can only take so many selfies when other people are around ;)

The ballet was at the Wortham Center, which is just the most beautiful and perfect place to watch a performance. It's in the heart of downtown, and with it being an evening performance, the downtown city lights just seemed to make everything dazzle. 

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I always get so, so excited for, well, things in general. :) But when I'm eagerly watching the clock as each minute passes and I'm waiting for something to start... well I can hardly stand it! You could tell everyone was excited! I mean, most people. I was excited for the actual ballet, Josh was excited to hear a full, uncut score of Tchaikovsky, and Daniel, well he was excited because he loves to make me happy and spend time with his little brother. :) 

It seemed like forever as we eagerly waited in our seats (which, by the way were the very highest and farthest back you could get, and still $50.00 each!) 

As soon as the curtain raised and the music started, Oddette came gliding in on a boat surrounded by mist. The whole stage was flooded with with deep blue and green lights and there were beautiful, eery trees all around. The music just soared from the orchastra and I settled back into my seat. I could just tell this was going to be stunning!

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For a good synopsis of Swan Lake, fee free to go here ----> Swan Lake 
But in short:

Swan Lake is about a beautiful maiden named Oddette who gets turned into a swan by an evil night named Rothbert. She is a swan by day and a maiden by night.

After a successful day of hunting, the prince, Seigfreid is reminded by his mother the Queen that this is the last day of his youth. He will need to choose a wife at the ball tomorrow and take on the responsibility of adulthood. He is introduced to four beautiful princesses, none that he falls in love with. He runs deep into the woods alone that night.

 Deep in the forest that evening along the edge of the lake, Siegfried sees a young maiden.  She is beautiful, and he falls instantly in love.  However, she is terrified, and begs him to leave, to no avail.  Charmed by his bravery, Odette finds herself falling in love with him.  As the sun begins to rise, the evil knight Rothbart summons Odette.  She goes to him and is transformed into a swan and flies away.  Soon thereafter, a large flock of swans lands on the lake.  Siegfried’s friend and some hunters from the royal party see the flock and prepare to shoot, but the Prince intervenes and orders them to leave.  Siegfried notices that one of the swans is Odette and he professes his love to her.

The next night the Queen once again hosts a ball and this time, the evil knight Rothbert arrives, with Odile. Who is the Black swan and mirror image of Odette. Prince Seigfreid is tricked into thinking the dark swan is Odette, professes his love to her only to realize he was fooled and runs after Odette, who was at the ball and he begs for forgiveness. 

The sun is starting to rise and the maidens turn back into swans. Odette is swept back up into the sky along with Rothbert and the black swans. Prince Seigfried, desperate to be with his love, grabs his cross bow to shoot Rothbert. He misses and instead hits Odette. She falls into Prince Seigfreid's arms as a maiden, the curse broken. She dies in his arms. Seigfreid picks her up, holds her close and walks into the lake, drowning himself .

So yeah, not the happiest of stories. But, wow, it sure does make for a dramatic and beautiful ballet! 

It really was hauntingly beautiful. The dancers acted just as much as they danced, you were just drawn into the story as they danced and swirled across the stage. 

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All the costumes seemed like they walked right out of the page of a story book! The colors were fantastic and everything has just the right bit of whimsy.

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The skill of the dancers was just amazing! It's one thing to be able to do an amazing and technically difficult move here or there, but each dance was just one amazing feat after another. Swan Lake is actually considered the most technically difficult ballet ever written and choreographed! 

Odette and her prince danced a very convincing couple! The love and tenderness in which they showed on stage made every beautiful, gliding movement so romantic!

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It was just a beautiful, beautiful story told through dance and some of Tchaikovsky's best work! It was also very long. Often they will cut down the music for swan lake, but this time they kept the whole original score. The ballet was 3 hours long (with 2 short intermissions) and I just loved it!

Since we went to the later showing at 7:30, we didn't even get out to the car until after 11:00pm We were also starving as we made our way back home. Of course not much was open, and despite being midnight, iHop was packed. So we settled for a classy dinner at Taco Bell :)

This last weekend was just so fun! I really do love this city and state and can't wait until the next time we get to see another ballet!


Kensie said...

What a fun night! And oh man, I would LOVE to go to a ballet. Never been. And Swan Lake?! That is so cool. You guys had fun! :)

Kim Johnson said...

Oh how I wish we could've been there! We have to try to go to the ballet next time we come down.
And may I say that when you and your sisters used to dance.....I was one proud Mom. You all took my breath away!