What is the Swan Lake ballet about? Information on the history, story and choreography and music of Swan Lake.
SWAN LAKE is a ballet in three acts and four scenes, with music by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky and choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. It was first performed at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg on Jan. 27, 1895. The work is sometimes presented in four acts.
As Swan Lake opens. Prince Siegfried, who is celebrating his 21st birthday, is told by his mother that he must choose a bride at a ball the next evening. Saddened at having to lose his freedom, he goes off to hunt wild swans. As he takes aim, they become lovely maidens. He falls in love with their queen, Odette, and a tender pas de deux ensues. Suddenly Odette is spirited away by the evil magician Rothbart, but she had already told Siegfried that his fidelity could save her. At the ball, Siegfried thinks only of Odette. Then Rothbart enters with his daughter Odile, whom witchcraft has made to resemble Odette. Siegfried, overjoyed, promises to marry her, thus unwittingly breaking his vow to Odette. When Siegfried realizes what he has done, pandemonium erupts. He dashes out to find Odette and beg forgiveness. Together they plunge into the Lake of Tears and are seen united after death.
Swan Lake is one of the finest and most popular of the ballets that are romantic in theme. With its dual role of Odette-Odile, it is considered a great touchstone for the ballerina.