Revamped National Opera Ballet goes for ‘Swan Lake’

It’s every dance troupe’s dream: reaching the level of maturity which allows for the staging of «Swan Lake.» The moment has arrived for the National Opera Ballet, which takes the stage at the Herod Atticus Theater to present Tchaikovsky’s celebrated and beloved ballet – in complete form, for the first time in its history. Part of the Athens Festival, the performances will take place on July 14 and 15 next week. The choreography, by solo dancer Igor Zelensky, is based on previous choreographies by Marius Pepita and Lev Ivanov. Zelensky also interprets the role of Prince Siegfried, alongside Greek dancer Alina Stergianou, who takes on the double swan role of Odette/Odile. The National Opera’s prima ballerina traveled to St Petersburg in order to prepare for the part. «It is a difficult role, featuring two different personalities,» said Stergianou at a press conference earlier this week. «Years of efforts have culminated in this production.» «We are pleased that the artistic season is coming to an end with ‘Swan Lake,’ thus completing the celebrations for the National Opera’s 60 years,» said Loukas Karytinos, National Opera artistic director, at the press conference. Karytinos also noted that the production was the highest point on the road toward upgrading the National Opera Ballet. «With the creation of the Ballet School, which we will be in a position to announce shortly, our company will be one of the leading cultural players in Greece,» he said. As for Zelensky, the Russian ballet star appeared content with the collaboration: «I’m happy to be back in Greece. The troupe has been working much better in the last five years. It has nothing to do with me, it’s a team effort,» he said. «’Swan Lake’ is one of the most popular ballets ever and that creates even greater pressure. Generally speaking, I didn’t change the original choreography.» At the Herod Atticus, the National Opera Orchestra will be conducted by Ilias Voudouris. Costumes are by Yiannis Metzikoff and sets by Titi Kyriakidou-Sakki. Tickets are available at the Hellenic Festival box office (39 Panepistimiou, in the arcade, tel 210.928.2900) and at the theater itself.