Monday, 21 January 2019

Swan Lake, Moscow City Ballet

A belated Happy New Year for the first blog of the new year.  Looking back, last year was quieter than usual on the blog front - three big European jaunts (Hamburg in March, Venice in July and Prague in October took care of much of my finances in 2018 - especially Venice, for which I'd already decided to not do on the cheap.

Finances aside, other reasons transpired to make it a quiet year.  Politically it was a crazy year, what with Trump and Brexit filling the media, but my blog was never intended to be a political soapbox anyway - others can write with far more understanding and clarity on such subjects.  Indeed, the only way of getting politics onto my blog will be via implications in the sex trade... such as the continued campaign by the governments of Europe (Germany is trying to put the lid on sex work, Amsterdam's red-light district is being pushed to close down street by street. so it's not just here in the UK) and of course the impending censorship of the internet.

People never learn, do they?  Trying to close off free-speech and voices (and vices for that matter) always ends up with the authorities on the losing end.  People just find new ways, like during the prohibition in the US in the 1920s and 30s.  Besides, when it comes to censoring the internet for sexual matters, who would you trust to know best - a government employee (who either loses data files on a train or has more leaks than the Titanic) or a 14 year old IT geek?  No, I think Pandora's Box (and I'm sure I've seen a delicious video of Pandora getting her box well and truly filled by three handsome beaus somewhere on the internet) has been opened and closing it now will be a momentous task, forgetting about the cost implications of monitoring it - because of course our beloved government is awash with money at the moment... oh, er...

Anyway, and linked with all that in a way, is the continued closing down of fetish clubs around the country.  London lost another late last year - Subversion closed its doors for the final time after the illness and subsequent loss of one of its driving members and after numerous battles to find venues around the city.  Indeed, Mistress Absolute told me that the club had no less than 39 venues in its tenure.  Even here in Manchester we lost Cirque, a club that for a while became a second home - albeit the kind of home where you meet up with other sexually deviant friends and have lovely, inhibited fucking with them in the lounge amongst a sea of people.

The result is that there are now fewer places to go in the UK, the European events remain (for the moment) far more interesting and rude, but there are cost implications, of course... so we'll see what 2019 brings.

One thing that I never experienced (and therefore never blogged about) but have wanted to tick off for some time though was a visit to see a ballet.  When I heard that the Moscow City Ballet was visiting Manchester for one performance of Swan Lake (top of my ballet list... and a Russian troupe at that) I was on the old internet straight away to grab a seat.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Swan Lake, Moscow City Ballet.
 So, on Friday, on one of the coldest nights of the winter so far (it began snowing at one point) I headed off to the Palace Theatre to see if I would be bored or blown away by ballet.  I arrived a little early, so popped into the nearby Refuge Bar for a quick pre-show drink.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - The Refuge, Manchester.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - The Refuge, Manchester.
The last time I was in the building I was actually visiting the The Principal, the hotel next door for a seductive sexual tryst with a lovely gentleman... ah, wonderful memories.

Cocktail finished, I joined the waiting queues at the Palace Theatre and eventually the floors were opened and I found my seat.  Inside, that theatre was beautiful, with classic deep reds and gold everywhere.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Palace Theatre, Manchester.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Palace Theatre, Manchester.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Palace Theatre, Manchester.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Palace Theatre, Manchester.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Palace Theatre, Manchester.
Down in the pits the orchestra was tuning up.  Soon, the bell rang to indicate five minutes before curtain up.

The orchestra started their beautiful intro, the curtain rose, and for the next three and half hours we were transported to another world.

The story of Swan Lake, in a nutshell, is that Prince Siegfried has reached the age where he has to marry.  He doesn't want to settle down.  A Ball is held to try and find a suitable suitor, but he rejects them all.  His best friend Benno spies a flock of wild swans and suggests a hunting expedition to cheer the young royal.  Unbeknown to the Prince, one of swans is beautiful Odette, a young lady under the spell of evil Von Rothbart, who has damned Odette to be a swan during the day and can only return to being a woman during the night.  Siegfried spies the young lady and they fall in love.  Knowing true love can break his spell, Von Rothbart plans to trick the Prince.

At the Prince's betrothal Ball the evil Von Rothbart appears with his daughter Odile, who has been magically transformed to look exactly like Odette.  The Prince is captivated, thinking that Odile is Odette, and agrees to marry her.  Von Rothbart then reveals Odile in her true likeness, and the Prince sees the deception.

The Prince runs to the lake to find his true love, Odette, but is too late - she is lost forever.  The Prince and Von Rothbart fight until the death, and in the dying of Von Rothbart the rest of Odette's swans are released from their own spell.  The Prince dies from his own injuries, joining Odette forever in the afterlife.

I was mesmerised, and the stunning performance from Liliya Orekhova as shy and frightened Odette/vampish Odile was magical and beautiful and genuinely brought tears to my eyes.  By the time the curtain came down (three times, such was the stupendous applause for the whole troupe) I had been bewitched myself by the performance, and floated like a swan on a still, moonlit lake all the way home.  A night I will never forget.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Palace Theatre, Manchester.

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