Last night we went to the ballet to see Swan Lake, performed by the Kiev Ballet at a venue called The Zenith in Montpellier. My suspicions should have been roused when the tops of our water bottles were confiscated by security guards on the way in. Why? I asked.
“There are people who throw bottles at the stage,” I was told. “If the top is off they don’t travel so far.”
This was clearly not going to be like any ballet I had ever been to. At Covent Garden the audience might murmur their disapproval at a false step or you might even get the odd polite cough, but a water bottle as a missile? Most unlikely.
“Let’s go and have a glass of champagne,” I said to Mary once we were through security. No, my suitcase has not arrived but we had managed to feed ourselves and our four children for a total of twenty euros at IKEA so were feeling like we could splash out (pardon the pun) a little.
More disappointment. There was not a champagne bar in sight. What was on sale, however, was a selection of pizzas, fizzy drinks and dreadful-looking baguettes filled with ham.
We went into the auditorium. It looked more like the venue for a giant rave than a ballet. The seats were plastic and instead of chandeliers we had scaffolding.
I am pleased to report though that the ballet was divine. They were perfect. No reason to hurl a water bottle, empty or otherwise. The first sight of the corps de ballet all in white running onto the stage made the whole thing totally worthwhile. Odette/Odile was fantastic; innocent and graceful as Odette, naughty, humorous and totally seductive as Odile. Even the prince, whom I normally find too tedious, was impressive. Although the girls were a little surprised to see a man wearing tights and showing “all his bits”.
As we left I was in a haze of tutus and pirouettes. I hoped the girls had loved it as much as I did.
“Did you like it?” I said to Bea.
“Yes,” she said. “But we didn’t see any swans.”
There is no pleasing some people…..
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008