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Your Reaction: What did you think of Swan Lake 2018 in cinemas and on BP Big Screens?

Audience members react to our free BP Big Screens broadcast across the UK and cinema relays across the world.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

12 June 2018 at 10.55pm | 40 Comments

If you experienced technical difficulties during the cinema broadcast, please email

What did you think of Swan Lake in cinemas and on BP Big Screens?
Add your thoughts in the comments below.

Swan Lake runs until 21 June 2018. Tickets are now sold out, but there will be a selection released each Friday for performances in the following week as part of Friday Rush.

The production is sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels and is staged with Generous philanthropic support from The Monument Trust, Ricki Gail and Robert Conway, Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Jette Parker, Celia Blakey, Sarah and Lloyd Dorfman, Doug and Ceri King, the Swan Lake Production Syndicate, The American Friends of Covent Garden and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

12 June 2018 at 10.55pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged BP Big Screens, by John Macfarlane, cinema, Production, Swan Lake, your reaction

This article has 40 comments

  1. Jane Emberson responded on 12 June 2018 at 11:48pm Reply

    Glorious ....., just returned from my local cinema screening of Swan Lake. Only one word to describe every thing about it,.......Glorious! Thank you to all concerned.

  2. Just got home from the cinema - what a production, what a performance of Swan Lake. Congratulations to John McFarlane and Liam Scarlett both have done a wonderful job. Loved both Pas de Trois. Corps magnificent. Was that Miyaka Moshida as one of the princesses? Cannot choose between Vadim and Alexander or Marianella and Francesca so wonderful to see all four. Now for the DVD - YOU ARE GOING TO ISSUE ONE ARE YOU NOT? I only have 14 Swan Lakes on DVD butreally want this one. A lovely evening so thank you to everyone concerned.

    • Mary M O'Sullivan responded on 13 June 2018 at 2:06pm

      I can only add one thing to what Norma Rothwell said is 'Wow' found it hard to get to sleep still awake at 2am.
      Thank you ROH for the season of Ballet and Opera.
      Mary M O'Sullivan
      Cork Ireland

    • ML responded on 15 June 2018 at 1:15am

      It was principal and dancer Akane Takada. Miyako Yoshida retired several years ago.

  3. Sheila Hope responded on 13 June 2018 at 9:38am Reply

    Congratulations RB on this extraordinary, long overdue production - choreography, designs, dancing & music quite spectacular. A wonderful way of concluding your cinema season, going out with a big bang! Thank you everyone.

  4. Kate Chick responded on 13 June 2018 at 11:21am Reply

    Swan lake live streaming last night was magnificent apart from the lighting.
    Not until the set designer described the process whereby the set and backcloth were designed and made did I realise there was something other than a dark dark scene !
    The whole stage was dark in the 1st act and the lighting on the dancers was deficient.
    Also the 1st view of curtains before the start was hazy. Was there a fog ?
    Please comment as I am taking my granddaughter to see the encore on Sunday.

    • Geoff responded on 13 June 2018 at 10:07pm

      It is very dark at times. But still very very worth seeing.
      Act 4 is very poor with no real climax and too dark. Fortunately very short.
      Acts 1 to 3 amazing.

  5. Michelle Smith responded on 13 June 2018 at 11:40am Reply

    Loan Scarlet is a genius- excellent production and performance by Royal Ballet of Swan Lake

  6. Michael Sefi responded on 13 June 2018 at 12:12pm Reply

    Oh wow!! And double wow!!!! Having seen the Sarah Lamb's Odette/Odile at ROH last Friday (in place of the injured Lauren Cuthbertson) which I must say was marvellous (and although I didn't count I was told SL danced 36 fouettes), last night's live feed was tear jerking at the end, more so for some reason than last Friday. (And I also didn't count MN's fouettes - too wrapped up in the action.) Possibly it's because the close-ups in Act 4 show the tiny shakes of MN's head in response to VM's entreaties, and other movements/reactions which one doesn't see at a performance without very strong opera glasses, even when in the stalls, which I was last Friday. I had no problem with the lighting; the Act 3 set is quite amazing - but interesting that LS only included four princesses rather than the previous six. Sorry that LS dropped the (inebriated) tutor from Act 1, with the two small girls playing a trick on him; the two from the 2009 production are now Artists in the Company... There is so much more to say about last night's live feed but I won't bore any reader of this. But I will try and go to the encore on Sunday...

  7. Gwyn Watkin responded on 13 June 2018 at 12:40pm Reply

    Saw Swan Lake Live on screen at Llandudno last night - BRILLIANT! Dancing (by ALL) superb.
    Have been trying to access the digital programme for this online, but failed totally to fond any link. Neither is it available in your ROH/publications.
    HELP please!

    • Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media)) responded on 13 June 2018 at 2:39pm

      Hi Gwyn,

      Thanks for your comment, and glad you enjoyed the performance.

      Unfortunately, we've experienced some technical issues with our digital programme for this production due to some ongoing development work on the website. Hopefully this should be fixed soon but it's something of a more complex problem than we'd anticipated.

      Apologies for the inconvenience.


  8. Smd responded on 13 June 2018 at 12:51pm Reply

    Beautiful loved the choreography of the swans, the divertisssement, the pas de trois, Benno, the dance of cups, the costumes, and of course Maranela and Vadim, all brilliant

  9. Stevie responded on 13 June 2018 at 12:56pm Reply

    Produced for a new generations, this also suits the purist and traditionalist factions very well. Of course Nella demonstrated just why she is a big name, star attraction and everything in her locker, with such a big heart which she put completely into her performance. The corps de ballet appears to impress more, each time they perform. With absolute synchronisation of movement, on the IMAX screen it was evident that even the tutus, lace, feather and all were bouncing in absolute sync, as if by use of computer graphics. That implies that not only was movement perfectly timed, the forces being applied by the dancers was completely equal. There has been recent debate that ballet is a sport as well as an art from, but apparently with engineered precision such as this, it is also a branch of science. Tierney excelled in her Spanish dance, but that's what we come to expect from one of our northern lasses. Good to see Melissa, although not much of a role here to express her great talent. Congratulation to all the team, far to much merit to mention in a single review, it would need an essay. Most of all, uplifting and enjoyable.

  10. Carole responded on 13 June 2018 at 1:55pm Reply

    Wonderful show, dancing, costumes and scenery beautiful. Lovely pas de trois and customers - best I've seen. Unfortunately the stage was so dark that it was difficult to see back of stage

  11. Anita responded on 13 June 2018 at 3:25pm Reply

    Sensational production and stunning dancing; such emotional timing in the first major pas de deux. I loved it. So how disappointing is the filming. Legless dancers, corps de ballet decimated by pointless close-ups. It was so frustrating to keep losing the scene that I was almost in tears. Such a contrast to the successful filming of Manon. Please learn from this.

  12. CT responded on 13 June 2018 at 4:17pm Reply

    Is this something that can be broadcast again in theaters or online? I didnt have a theater close to me airing it. I would have loved to see it, but Im so happy it was a success and others were abke to participate. Thank you!

  13. Zena responded on 13 June 2018 at 4:37pm Reply

    The best I've ever seen from the whole of the Royal Ballet company presenting complete unison. Act II with Marianela & Vadim & the soaring violin from the fantastic orchestration stirred huge emotions! Just 2 points: Act 1 - seemed to be too many from the corps de ballet dancing on stage. I liked the changes in choreography but insufficient space to fully appreciate the transitions in groupin. ? possibly camera angles. Takada's pointe shoes were in terrible shape & quite a distraction. Again possibly unseen by the audience but picked up by camera. Or an advert for the Pointe Shoe Appeal! Today I'm still buzzing & humbled by exquisite ballet & orchestration.

  14. Catherine responded on 13 June 2018 at 6:26pm Reply

    Been looking forward to this for months. At the cinema I was at they could not link to the performance, gutted doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Cinema was almost full the most people I have seen for some time. We all missed something spectacular.

  15. NJT responded on 13 June 2018 at 8:32pm Reply

    I love the live performances but also adore the cinema screenings for the extras and the different perspective. A wonderful performance all round. Special mentions (from me) for Akane Takada and Tierney Heap - both wonderful. But Nunez and Muntagirov are a very special partnership with their outstanding technique to match each other - Nunez was a true swan and Muntagirov just gets better and better with those gorgeous lines and spectacular leaps and spins.

  16. Susan Carlton-Jones responded on 13 June 2018 at 8:49pm Reply

    My favourite production of Swan Lake since I was in the Royal Ballet Company in 1961! Principles superb, corps fantastic -particularly the men and sets and costumes really stunning. Congratulations to Liam Scarlett and of course the oldies of the original choreography. Orchestra perfect .

  17. Wendy Knipe responded on 13 June 2018 at 8:53pm Reply

    It was a truly magnificent production. Excellent work from Liam and John Macfarlane worked his magic as always.

  18. Ever since we heard about these live shows, we've done our best to see them & have never been disappointed. Swan Lake last night was fantastic. Thoroughly enjoy the background information supplied by Darcy Brussel & Ore. The technical difficulties were very frustrating, but thankfully we didn't miss too much. Well done to every single person involved. Can't wait for the next season to start!

  19. Lovely production but SO disappointed with casting of Rothbart. It should have been the unequalled and enormously talented Gary Avis especially as no one can set the scene as he does. Impressive scenery and dancers all on top form and the four main dancers producing magical dancing as usual. Thank you to all concerned.

  20. Paola responded on 13 June 2018 at 10:39pm Reply

    Marianela was incredibile, wonderful, perfect and sublime. Unforgettable performance. Super fuettes! From Milan with love to roh.

  21. Andrea Derungs responded on 14 June 2018 at 12:15am Reply

    We loved so much about this production - the dancing was out of this world; Marianela and Vadim breathtaking and mesmeric, everyone else amazing too. Beautiful sets, choreography - the orchestra wonderful as always. However, I have to agree with Anita above - the big negative for me was the camera work. Too many close-ups - not enough full screen shots of the stage with the corps de ballet, which is so important in this particular ballet, and anyway, as it should be seen as if in the opera house. We don't need to see close-ups to understand the meaning and emotion - the dancing conveys that. For me, this was shot like a movie, with lots of quick cuts and half bodies - we want to see the full bodies so we can see the dancing and everyone else on stage around them reacting and dancing too. I'm trying to be constructive, not negative, but it seemed as if the cameras were directed by someone who doesn't understand ballet. A couple of examples, when the Mongolian (?) dance finished, the camera ended on two couples, not the three - in the last act, wide shots of the whole stage with the swans, then just of Marianela and Vadim - pull back and the swans have disappeared. I really hope that you can sort this out for next time, because otherwise it was wonderful - just very frustrating!! Thank you to everyone involved.

    • ML responded on 15 June 2018 at 1:17am

      It was the Hungarian dance (but I agree the men's hats look like Mongolian ones)!

  22. Rob Hawker responded on 14 June 2018 at 1:48am Reply

    Swan Lake can rarely have been so beautiful in set and costume design. Add superb dancing, with Nunez a divine Swan, and everyone at a peak of excellence, this was a jewel of the Royal Ballet.
    Shame the relay was not as good as it should have been again.

  23. Rosemary bremner responded on 14 June 2018 at 9:37am Reply

    Absolutely phenomenal, I was emotionally shattered

  24. Kenneth Spektor responded on 14 June 2018 at 10:51am Reply

    We viewed it at Vue Westfield.
    The screening was so dark that all the emotion,beauty and wonderful dancing was negated by virtually watching the performance through a thick fog.
    I cannot believe that there was not a technical problem with this particular screening!
    We were not the only members of the audience who commented on this fact.

  25. I loved this new production and went to an encore to watch again. The dancing and choreography were superb and I really appreciate being able to watch live in a local cinema. However, would love to see the choreography and dancing in full though. The camera kept changing shot every 4 seconds so we missed the overall effect. Would it be possible to at least have the camera covering the whole view of each dance and not follow individuals about the stage or cut off their legs for a close up? Please next time give more whole stage still camerawork so we can see the ballet as it was designed to be seen.

  26. Michael Slocombe responded on 14 June 2018 at 1:02pm Reply

    As an end of season performance it was truly enthralling. Conjured was inspiring in the way he appeared out of nowhere. My companion was in floods of tears by the end. Roll on September.

  27. Liz Fawcett responded on 14 June 2018 at 3:32pm Reply

    Just wonderful and I couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards. Thank you so much to everyone involved.

  28. George Atkinson responded on 14 June 2018 at 8:52pm Reply

    Absolutely loved it - every aspect - superb dancing, orchestra and sets. Many congratulations to all concerned.
    Watched it in awful Redditch cinema that switched off the transmission before the final address to the appreciative audience!!
    They also managed to print the programme upside down again for the umpeenth time!
    Do they really care??

    • Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media)) responded on 15 June 2018 at 5:33pm

      Hi George,

      We work closely with all of our cinema partners and can assure you that they do care! But we'll go back to them to ensure our next relay is closer to the standards you might expect from a Royal Opera House cinema relay. If you have any further comments, please email and let us know which cinema in Redditch you attended.

      Many thanks,


  29. Robert Crabb responded on 14 June 2018 at 9:30pm Reply

    Definately not a production I would wish to see again,act1 corp not coordinated,act 2 start of the dark season (yes its supposed to be atmospheric) but not this dark,act3 scenery overpowerering stage seemed cramped,act 4 lacked passion and emotion Von Rothbart about as menacing as a tame budgie.Lightning effects hopeless ,finish an improvement but set still very dark.Camera work not up to usual standard.Unable to appreciate this performance as I struggled to see through the gloom.

  30. William Swales responded on 14 June 2018 at 10:40pm Reply

    I have seen many versions of ‘Swan Lake’ but this amazing version wipes the floor with ALL of them.

    Brought right into the 21st Century, this amazing ballet has much to see, and savour, and ‘digest’ right from the Prologue which explains the curse; its purpose (to seize ultimate power); and the only way out of the horrific predicament (including it is a masterstroke) before we are swept away on a roller-coaster journey of entrapment, terror, trust, hope, love, and insidious malicious deception, treachery, and retribution as we confront law, truth, and justice of jurisprudence - and evil is once again destroyed - but never eradicated.

    The majesty, grace, and stamina of the amazing dancers, married to the grandeur and potency of the sets and the incredible poetic stagecraft - reminiscent of Hollywood blockbusters - were breathtaking and spellbinding as we watched a sumptuous palace seamlessly transform into a moonlit lake- scene right before our eyes – so spectacular – all made possible by the genius of the costume and set designer John Macfarlane and the lighting designer David Finn - each bringing their own unique skill-set to create amazing ‘colour-scapes’ using clever ‘forced perspective’ rotating set elements married to low-key lighting to change the mood as the harp roulade announced something truly ‘magical’ was about to take place – and it does not get more magical as the palace transforms into a lake and regal royalty transform into a garland of swans (representing memories and thoughts - good and bad - black swans representing dark memories and sinister thoughts and emotions; white swans representing pure thoughts and emotions, and dreams and aspirations; and ‘cygnets’ representing fresh emotions filled with love, joy, and hope).

    In the final magnificent pas de deux we see that the prince is full of woe - he has a lot of explaining to do - and as the final deeply moving pas de deux unfolds (thank you Marianela and Vadim x), the forlorn prince expresses deep sorrow in his apology - and now the Swan Queen - a woman with purity in her heart - must make the ultimate decision - to 'be' or not 'to be'?

    We then see that with 'oneness' and 'togetherness' they have the combined strength to kill the raptor (bird of prey) that is Rothbart - and they DO - but although Odette forgives the prince his folly – caused by the deceit of others what has Odette decided? To take arms against a sea of troubles – or crush the torment and doubt and put an end to her misery - knowing that should she drown herself the prince will suffer anguish for the rest of his life.

    Which is it to be?

    Just GO!

    PS: Dear Royal Ballet, be like feature-film makers and release this spectacular ballet on 4K and BluRay ASAP – a years wait is torture for us all when all you have to do is sub-contract it to Sony – who will release it on your behalf in a matter of weeks. Thank you.

  31. Erika responded on 16 June 2018 at 7:48pm Reply

    One word to describe this performance: "Waw"! It really touched my soul, so beautiful, the costumes, music and of course the dancers! Perfect Marianela and also loved Akane Takada (strong presence, she danced with her heart (not saying that the others didn't)), I really enjoyed watching her dance.

    But some (tiny) things I less enjoyed:
    First act when the guests were dancing all together, that seemed for me quite overcrowded and not really "neat"...a little bit "too much" or maybe it was just the filming that gave me this impression...

    About the filming, I feel that it could have been better, it was too close (for example for the solo dancers, on the screen, there were no enough spaces "around" the dancer (too zoomed in) )
    I also agree with the previous comment: for some scenes, we could have seen more of the corps :)

    And not very negative but Rothbart's costume and makeup was kind of scary really, he almost could have acted in a horror movie haha

    That's all for the "negative", the rest was absolutely sublime!
    I hope you will release a DVD of this performance!!

    End of act3 was breathtaking!! The finale too, lot of emotions! Beautiful additional pas de deux.

    (I wish "Russian dance" was more presented in the different swan lake productions, this beautiful piece of music deserves to be "seen").

    Bravo and thank you for this brilliant performance! I will remember this production for a long time!

  32. Pat Vickers responded on 16 June 2018 at 9:09pm Reply

    Fantastic show loved the new set and costumes the interviews we always go to the streamed shows always fantastic so much nearer than London a big thank you to all the cast

  33. Loved the new production - choreography, costumes, drama and most of all the amazing world class dancers. I look forward to buying a DVD in the future, hopefully. However I'd rather wait a bit for this, if a performance could be filmed with less severe close ups and longer views of the whole stage. It was difficult to get an overall appreciation of the dances as the camera view kept changing every few seconds. Sorry to be negative as I really appreciate being able to watch the Royal Ballet in my local cinema.

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