...this year, is of course the new Kenneth Greve choreography - one of the best in my opinion - that I saw yesterday, actually my fifth...

The obvious novelties were the scene from the prince's childhood at the beginning, and the 'naked swan' scene in the second act. Greve explains that he never could understand how a man could fall in love with a bird, and so he made it a woman. However, the story of girls turned into birds by magic, who at night are able to assume their own form, is very widely spread, even the No play Hagoromo (before 1524) is based on that theme. Earlier it would have been understood without saying that the prince sees women bathing, not birds, but apparently people now are so alienated from fairytales that everything must be made explicit before they understand. But the scene was quite beautiful in itself, so I forgive Greve. The third act then was more traditional, and even otherwise there was much that was familiar.

As a whole I enjoyed the performance, although at one point I thought meanly that everything is fine, except the orchestra and the dancing, but both improved during the course of the evening. The music was at times disturbingly loud and strident, which is almost to be expected from brass instruments, but even the violins sounded strange at times. It got so that I concentrated on trying to finding the culprits, not on the performance. The dancing was basically good, except for a couple of near stumbles.


(And the man on my left, well dressed and civilized looking, kept farting during the first half...)