Monday, August 1, 2022

Karen Kain’s New Version of Swan Lake Fails to Fly

Harrison James and Jurgita Dronina in Swan Lake. (Photo: Karolina Kuras)

As far as highly anticipated world premieres go, Karen Kain’s Swan Lake had an extraordinary amount of buildup, making it – from a box office perspective alone – a hit before it even opened. Originally scheduled for 2020, and delayed two years because of the pandemic, the $3.5-million production, a presentation of the National Ballet of Canada, sold out its two-week run in advance of its debut at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre on June 10. This is unprecedented for any ballet outside The Nutcracker, let alone one whose merits had yet to be assessed. At the end of the day, those merits were found to be wanting, making this Swan Lake, after all the hype, a total letdown.

What was wrong with it? In brief, everything.