A change to the advertised casting meant English National Ballet’s summer run of Swan Lake at the Coliseum opened not with the lead couple Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov as Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried, but with the less well known Erina Takahashi and Zdenek Konvalina - he debuting in the role. Takahashi has been with ENB all her career, while Konvalina danced for the Houston Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada before joining the company. Both are highly able - she light and nimble while Konvalina has an impressive leap and clean footwork. Excepting a small wardrobe glitch (the beading on her costume caught on his, fluffing a lift), their dancing was neat and in harmonious synch, although they perhaps lack the chemistry to make the doomed love of the Swan Queen and the Prince a believable emotional reality.
ENB’s current production of Swan Lake is by its one-time director Derek Deane, which is a version of his in-the-round staging modified for proscenium arch theatres. It is an accessible, traditional telling of the famous ballet, with Deane generally deferring to the Petipa/Ivanov choreography and the central story of the doomed love of the Swan Queen and Prince. Although looking a little tired (inevitably perhaps, at the end of a long season), the corps were committed, with the swans in the famous Act II lakeside scene precisely lined up. The equally famous ballroom scene in Act III was colourful, with Crystal Costa and Barry Drummond especially good in the Neapolitan dance. Both deserve to be given more prominent roles.