Swan Lake

ballet in four acts

music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky

3 hours
1 act
1 h 10 min
interval 30 min
2 act
30 min
interval 20 min
3 act
30 min
for viewers over 6 years old

Premiere at the Mikhailovsky Theatre: 15 September 2009

Swan Lake is the ballet which embodies the soul of Russian art. The combination of brilliant music and choreography creates a special kind of magic; what the great 20th century choreographer George Balanchine had in mind when he famously said, One should call every ballet Swan Lake because then people would come.

The Mikhailovsky Theatre offers a unique version of the ballet, which today cannot be seen anywhere else. A re-creation of the Bolshoi Theatres original production which was Soviet ballets claim to international fame for many years, the Mikhailovsky Theatres Swan Lake has also already received considerable critical acclaim. Reviews from around the world have called the performance bright and flowing, respectful to every detail, and have noted the works inexplicable charm, the elegance of the choreography, and the tension, emotional fluctuations, and uniqueness of every swan in the apparently uniform flock. But you do not need to be a seasoned ballet connoisseur to appreciate the subtle nuances of this production. Swan Lake is, first and foremost, a ballet for the heart.
Act I
The garden of the Sovereign Princesss castle. While the young people disport themselves on the lawn, the jester amuses the guests with his antics and girls dance with their companions. The Princess informs her son Siegfried that at tomorrows ball he is to choose a fiancée from among the girls invited to the castle. Siegfrieds heart remains closed to her words, as he hasnt yet known love. Night falls. The young people depart. Siegfried is overcome by conflicting emotions: he regrets the end of his freewheeling life while, at the same time, dreams of a pure, ideal lov e. But where is this girl to be found? Siegfried is bored by the conversation with his friends. A flock of swans catches Siegfrieds attention and he follows them.

Act II
The swans lead Siegfried to a lake, deep in a dark and wild wood. At the lake, the swans dance in a fairy circle. Siegfried catches sight of a beautiful swan which then turns into a girl. This is Odette, the Queen of Swans. The Evil Genius has placed her and her friends under a spell: the swan maidens can now become girls only at night. Only the love of a young man who has never promised himself to a woman can release them from the spell. Siegfried, full of love for Odette, swears that he will love her and be faithful to her forever. The Evil G enius overhears Siegfried and Odettes conversation.
Daybreak. The girls turn back into swans. Siegfried, convinced of his feelings, will save Odette from the Evil Genius.

The ball at the Sovereign Princess castle at which Siegfried is to select his fiancée. The guests arrive at the party but Siegfried is nowhere to be seen. The jester begins his amusing dances and the guests start dancing too. Siegfried appears, yet he treats the prospective fiancées icily: hes thinking only of the beautiful Odette.
A stranger arrives at the ball. It is the Evil Genius in disguise. He has brought his daughter Odile with him; she is strikingly reminiscent of Odette. The Evil Genius tells her to enchant Siegfried and make him swear eter nal love. The Prince doesnt recognize the Evil Genius and mistakes Odile for Odette. He declares Odile as his chosen bride. The Evil Genius is triumphant: Siegfrieds vow to Odette has been broken and, as a result, she will die. He points to an image of Odette that appears in the distance and departs with Odile. Siegfried realizes that he has been deceived and rushes in despair to the lake.

Act IV
An ominous night at the lake. A despondent Odette reveals the tragic news about the broken vow. The swan maidens grieve: their hope of freedom is lost. Siegfried appears. He hasnt broken his promise: it was his Odette, not Odile, who he saw at the castle. It was to her that he swore his undying love.
The outraged Evil Genius summons a storm against the lovers, lightning flashes. But nothing can overcome the pure love of inseparable Siegfried and Odette. The Evil Genius decides to fight Siegfried himself and dies in the clash. His spells are destroyed. Odette and Siegfried, surrounded by Odettes friends, watch the sun rise.
Staging based on the libretto by Vladimir Begichev and Vasily Geltser
Choreography by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, Alexander Gorsky, and Asaf Messerer revised by Mikhail Messerer
Stage and Costume Design: Simon Virsaladze

Staging by Mikhail Messerer
Principal Designer of the revival: Vyacheslav Okunev
Revival Designer (maquette): Boris Kaminsky
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Répétiteur, character dances: Alla Boguslavskaya
Ballet Masters Assistants: Zhanna Ayupova, Irina Ivanova, Evgeny Popov, Natalia Tsyplakova
Répétiteurs: Evgeny Popov, Svetalana Efremova, Tatiana Legat, Elvira Khabibullina, Natalia Tsyplakova, Mikhail Sivakov
Costume Designers: Anna Kotlova, Larisa Ivushkina, Irina Talova, and Valentina Latukhina

Sets and costumes produced at the Vozrozhdenie Theatrical Design Studios

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