A tender love story that conquered the world
Swan Lake

Ballet in two acts

Libretto - Vladimir Begichev

Music - Piotr Tchaikovsky

Choreography - Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov

Premiere - February 20, 1877, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow

The most famous, the most mysterious, the diamond of world classical choreography, the symbol of Russian ballet - all this is said about “Swan Lake”!

This ballet, overturning all the canons of academic choreography, brought not only success, but also immortality to the story about bewitched girls. It is unlikely that there will be a ballet work more famous and, at the same time, with a more complex and controversial stage fate. The extraordinary popularity made it a symbol of all ballet art.

It is hard to believe, but Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky himself did not see the world triumph of his work, and the premiere, held in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre, was not a success because of mediocre choreography, ridiculous costumes and an ironic libretto: in fact, that was a series of dances with a simple plot.
More than twenty years later, in the talented hands of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, the ballet was reborn: an updated version was shown at an evening dedicated to Tchaikovsky, and a year later the new Swan Lake was presented on the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. This version became a classic, formed the basis of most subsequent productions and is recognized today as an immortal masterpiece. Until now, the part of Odette-Odile is the ultimate dream of any ballerina.

Pierina Legnani was the first performer of the main role, she presented to the world thirty-two virtuoso fouettes. The great Odettes and Odiles of the Russian stage are Galina Ulanova, Marina Semenova, Lyudmila Semenyaka, Natalia Bessmertnova. Maya Plisetskaya's record - she danced Odette during 30 years!
It is worth paying tribute to Tchaikovsky: it was extremely convenient to dance with his music, it took to consideration all the accents and tempos needed for certain movements. To this day, the performance allows talented artists to reveal their technical and artistic capabilities.

“Swan Lake” is not just a fairy tale about bewitched girls. It is based on a medieval legend. It is believed that Tchaikovsky could have conceived the music during a trip to Germany, in the romantic castle of the Bavarian king Ludwig II. Today, through ballet, we can see the world of German kings!
Prince is celebrating his birthday. The Queen reminds him that he must choose his bride, but he is not ready to marry and goes hunting to unwind. On the lake, he meets an enchanted swan girl, falls in love with her and takes an oath of allegiance. The evil sorcerer decides to stop them. He brings another girl to the ball, exactly the same as the Price’s chosen one, and that’s how he deceives him. The Prince understands the deception and defeats the Evil Genius in a duel on the lake.
Act 1/Scene 1

It’s Prince Siegfried's 21st birthday, the youth gathered for the celebration. The Queen arrives and reminds him that it is time for him to get married. Siegfried is saddened by thoughts of his elusive carefree youth, he has no desire to choose a bride. Trying to cheer up the Prince, the Jester points to a flying flock of wild swans and suggests that they can go hunting. Deciding that there is still time for entertainment, Siegfried goes to the lake.
Full text
Act 1/Scene 2

Siegfried's attention in the thicket of the forest is suddenly attracted by a beautiful white swan. This is Odette, the Swan Queen. The devilish sorcerer (Evil Genius) Rothbart bewitched her. During the day, she and her friends become swans, and after midnight until dawn they take on human form. Only the true love of a young boy can break this spell. Fascinated by her beauty and full of love for Odette, Siegfried vows to break Rothbart's spell. Dawn breaks, and the lovers say goodbye to eachother. Odette returns to the lake, transforming into a swan, and Rothbard is about to force Siegfried to break his vow.

Act 2/Scene 1

The whole court gathered for Siegfried's ball. The invited princesses and their relatives eagerly await the Prince's decision. He has to choose a bride among these girls, but he doesn't like anyone. All thoughts of the young man are occupied with the image of the beautiful Odette. Thinking only about the vow of fidelity given to her, he pays little attention to the young applicants presented to him. Suddenly, fanfare announces the arrival of two new guests. This is Rothbart, dressed as a nobleman, and his daughter Odile. The prince stands, shocked by her resemblance to Odette, and asks her to dance. Odile charmed the Prince so much that he asks her to become his wife. Convinced that he is with his beloved Odette, he pledges allegiance to her in front of everyone present. Triumphantly, Rothbart and Odette reveal who they are. The prince discovers too late that he has become a victim of their insidious machinations. Odette is betrayed by him and will never be freed from witchcraft. Desperate, the Prince runs to the lake to find her.

Act 2/Scene 2

Swan friends are anxiously awaiting the return of Odette, she tells them about Siegfried's betrayal with unbearable pain. The Evil Genius triumphs, now there is no salvation for the swan girls. There is a storm on the lake. Prince appears, he begs Odette to forgive him, because he took an oath, deceived by the similarity of the girls. Odette forgives him, but it's too late: nothing can break the spell of the evil sorcerer. Rothbart appears. With all his might, he tries to separate the lovers. And he almost succeeds: he grabs Odette in his deadly embrace. Tormented, Odette falls to the ground without strength. Siegfried enters into single combat with Rothbart. Love gives strength to the Prince - he almost defeats the sorcerer. Odette and Siegfried pledge eternal love to each other. The power of love kills Rothbart! He is defeated! The spell of the Evil Sorcerer has come to an end! Odette and Prince Siegfried rush towards their love and their happiness! The rays of the rising sun bring life, love and goodness into the world.