Friday, February 03, 2006
We managed balcony circle seats. The view wasn’t all that bad. Craning my neck I could see the musicians waxed to their seats like statues from Madame Tussaud's. The curtains were drawn and people of all kinds of shapes and sizes were moving purposefully into their seats. All of ‘War Memorial Opera House’ seemed to be stooping forward precariously towards the stage. Before the balcony caved in with the weight of the audience still pouring in from different sides, the curtains decided to part. And there it was, like a painting of Vermeer, staring at us from the stage. Until it all came alive – with the familiar theme track. The dancers began to pirouette on their toes defying gravity at will.
Prince Siegfried floated in, as people made merry on his 21st birthday. They danced and entertained him. Hand in hand, so coordinated and balanced. Siegfried was obviously having a lot of fun, getting drunk on wine. Until Queen Mother paid him a visit and asked him to choose his bride by the morrow. His picture perfect life was now crinkled with uncertainty.
And so he walked away, to a lake, with a crossbow in his hand and came upon a flock of swans. Wantonly he aimed his crossbow at a swan but he couldn’t believe his eyes, as the swan transformed into a woman. A woman so beautiful and enchanting, like he had never seen before. She was Odette and Siegfried was madly in love from the moment he saw her. Thereafter Siegfried was passionate and earnest, he danced like a man possessed. Odette trode with caution at first, but she was swept off her feet and fell helplessly into his arms before she could realise what she was doing.
Swan by day and maiden by night, Odette’s life was governed by the spell of evil Von Rothbart. The story now had all the elements of a melodrama. The forces of good and evil, the element of love and ofcourse the suspense of what was to be. The balcony circle didn’t exist anymore. Nor did the thousands of people of different shapes and sizes. Prince Siegfried was being deceived and we all felt bitterly against Von Rothbart and his machination. I felt transported into the story – a character from the time of Siegfried, Odette and Von Rothbart. It all seemed so true – the swans, the villain, the story. It took some loud applause to rouse me out of my reverie. But why did they all have to die? Why couldn’t it have been otherwise? Outside the sun decided to take his leave for the day, but the ballet performance wouldn’t leave me alone. I wandered away in quest of my own lake of swans.