Synopsis: Swan Lake Ballet

April 30, 2006

The first ballet performance of Swan Lake was staged at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1877.

The revised version premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1895. It was choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov.

Music was composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Act I
The Palace

The coronation of Prince Siegfried is quickly approaching. Siegfried's mother continually prods him to choose his bride.

The prince dreads the day when he must marry and assume his responsibilities as king. He enjoys his carefree life. He retreats into the woods for some time alone.

Act II
By the Lake

Siegfried sees Odette, a princess who has been put under a spell by the wicked sorcerer Von Rothbart. She tells Siegfried of her plight. At night, she is a woman. But during the day, she transforms into a swan.

Unless she finds true love, she will be condemned to live as a swan forever. Siegfried swears his love to her.

The Palace Ballroom

The guests have gathered to celebrate Siegfried’s coronation. Princesses from around the world are there vying for his attention. Siegfried participates but his mind is elsewhere for he is in love with Odette.

Von Rothbart arrives with his daughter, Odile, who is disguised as a black swan. She bears a striking resemblance to Odette. The prince, believing she is Odette, vows to marry her.

As his mother begins to give her blessing, the prince realizes his mistake. He has betrayed his true love, Odette, for an imposter.

By the Lake

Siegfried rushes out to the lake to find Odette and beg for her forgiveness. Odette tries to comfort him. They are interrupted by the appearance of Von Rothbart who reminds Siegfried of his promise to marry Odile, thereby forcing Odette to remain a swan.

Odette knows that her only escape from Von Rothbart is to end her life. She jumps into the lake. Making the ultimate sacrifice, Siegfried follows her.

See also:

Upcoming Swan Lake performance »

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