Drawing from the sources of ancient Northern legends, in which young girls victims of a powerful curse are turned into swans, Tchaikovsky composed in 1877 his first ballet, Swan Lake, a romantic and melancholic masterpiece. This romantic fable of ill-fated passion, dreamlike transformation, and ultimate forgiveness set to Tchaikovsky’s glorious score should not be missed.
Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov (1895)
revised choreography and stage direction: Konstantin Sergeyev (1950)
Libretto by Vladimir Begichev and Vasily Geltser
Scene one. In the castle grounds
Prince Siegfried arrives at his 21st birthday celebration on the palace courtyards. Here, he finds all of the royal families and townspeople dancing and celebrating, while the young girls are anxiously seeking his attention.
Scene two. On the banks of the lake, under a full moon
As the swans swim silently, the hunters approach the banks of the lake, looking for a suitable hiding place where they can aim at the swans. Prince Siegfried is left alone. Suddenly, the beautiful Odette appears, and she reveals to him that, like her companions, she is the victim of a spell cast on her by an evil sorcerer. Only the sincere affection of a man who has never promised his heart to another girl can break the spell. Odette adds that only after midnight can they take their human form again for a few hours.
Siegfried is deeply touched by the beauty and the sad fate of the queen of swans and falls in love with her. He promises to break the spell, while the evil sorcerer, who has assumed the guise of an owl, suspiciously spies on the meeting between the two young people. Odette begs Siegfried not to attack the sorcerer. Benno returns with the other hunters and is about to throw himself at the maiden-swans, but Siegfried orders him to leave them alone. The girls dance for Siegfried and the hunters before turning into swans once more with the first light of dawn. Odette warns Siegfried that the evil sorcerer is very powerful and will do anything to keep them apart.
Scene three. At the castle, the ballroom Guests from every country arrive at the castle for the ball. While six girls contend for the prince’s favours, other guests are announced: the knight von Rotbart – the sorcerer of the lake – and his bewitching daughter, Odile, who is the double of the queen of the swans. The guests dance the dances of their countries: a Spanish dance, a Neapolitan tarantella, a Hungarian czardas, and a Polish mazurka. Siegfried only has eyes for Odile, who, while dancing with the prince, plays all her cards of seduction. No one can understand the meaning of the glances between her and Rotbart. Siegfried falls for the charms of the fake double and, dazed, he asks her to marry him. At this very moment, Odette appears, but it is too late: the prince has given his word to another, leaving Odette under Rothbart's spell forever. Siegfried realises that he has been deceived and falls into a mood of deep dejection.
Scene four. On the banks of the lake
It is midnight at swan lake: the maiden-swans are waiting for the return of their queen. The despairing Odette arrives and tells her companions that the prince has not kept his promise to be faithful. Siegfried enters and, frantic and distraught, he looks for his beloved among the girls. When finally he finds her, he tells her how the evil sorcerer tricked him into believing that his daughter was Odette. He then asks for her forgiveness, which she grants him, reminding him, however, that she is now doomed to remain a swan forever. She throws herself into the lake and Siegfried follows her. His sacrifice and his willingness to put love above everything else break the sorcerer’s spell. In death, the two lovers’ souls will be united for eternity.
Ticket cost: 7500 rubles