Review: Mastery of Swan Lake stuns Cowichan crowd during rare music glitch

Siegfried (Daniel Da Silva) finds love with white-swan maiden Odette (Saniya Abilmajineva) during Ballet Jorgen
Siegfried (Daniel Da Silva) finds love with white-swan maiden Odette (Saniya Abilmajineva) during Ballet Jorgen's stunning Swan Lake staged Sunday in Duncan.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Evil Von Rothbart's hex seemed to vex Cowichan Theatre's sound system Sunday during Ballet Jörgen's lavish Swan Lake.

Act-one's computer glitch cut music to the stage stacked with a cunning cast that made local artistic history by continuing to dance in silence during the rare technical gap.

It left the crowd dangling as if in suspended animation during an unforgettable 55 seconds.

It seemed an eternity to Ed Lazenby, the theatre's part-time soundman, who saved the show by staying calm and amazingly restoring the music at the right place.

"It felt like forever, but when I checked, it was 55 seconds-ish."

But Lazenby wasn't looking to blame anyone — to him, it was simply live show-biz.

"We ran this music today, but it didn't catch the glitch the second time," he said of the evening's use.

"A glitch in (Ballet Jörgen's laptop) computer froze the score."

So Lazenby used B.J.'s computer and iTunes to pinpoint the place to the mend the musical gap.

"They gave me enough information to find it," he said of the acclaimed Canadian troupe.

"You're dealing with computers; who's to say it'd ever happen again? They kept going."

Did they ever.

Ballet Jörgen's personified professionalism earned a long, standing ovation from a show signifying what live art really means.

You can't get this kind of dramatic jolt in a cineplex, or by playing a video game.

Even without the mistake recovery, Sunday's performance was sterling — that's what made the score scare so spellbinding.

Bengt Jörgen's shiny troupe blended 1700s costumes, effective sets, creative lighting, adept acting and lithe legwork — with intoxicating results.

Syncromesh moves and expression told the four-act story of a lovely maiden (Saniya Abilmajineva) transformed into swan by half-man, half-wolf sorcerer, Von Rothbart (Hiroto Saito).

His evil against tragic heroics from young Siegfreid (Danile Da Silva) fueled choreographed conflict amid a gaggle of white-tutu swans, dark henchmen, and colourful characters aplenty in the Fortress of Louisville ruled by Siegfried's mom, the Countess (Clea Iveson).

Precise execution during solos and duets joined a shifting geometry of ensemble numbers.

It's tough to put a new spin on and old classic like Swan Lake.

Ballet Jörgen succeeded in spectacular fashion.

Classical ballet rating: 11 feathers out of 10.

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