New Zealand / Napier / Municipal Theatre
Ballet in two acts
Music by P.I.Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Choreography by M.Petipa and L.Ivanov
Score: Gediminas Taranda
Scenography by Andrey Zlobin
Costume designer: Anna Ipatieva
On February 20, 1877, the premiere of “Swan Lake” was held at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. This day can be considered as the birth of Russian classical ballet. 140 years have passed since then. And whereas music used to be entirely subordinated to pantomime and dance scheme, the Tchaikovsky reform radically changed its meaning in ballet. Tchaikovsky’s music involved a ballet into a genuine creativity with irresistible force, prompted him to a live choreographic image, a psychologically justified movement, gave a deep spirituality to his entire play.
The ballet “Swan Lake” is the most lyrical of all Tchaikovsky’s ballets. The plot is based on one of the many variants of a folk tale about a girl turned into a bird by an evil force. The young prince, who met a princess enchanted and a swan at the same time, swears her eternal love. In this vow is a pledge for her to get rid of her magic spell. But the Prince inadvertently changes his word, deceived by the similarity of Odette to Odile, the daughter of an evil genius. Odette doomed to stay the Swan forever.
Subsequently the gloomy ballet finale was changed: the prince and the swan throw themselves into the waves and destroy the evil spell. The performance ends with a happy apotheosis.
The garden in front of the castle of the reigning princess. There are young people on the lawn having fun. Funny dances of the jesters are replaced by those of girls and gentlemen. The reigning princess says to his son, Prince Siegfried, that tomorrow at the ball, he will have to choose a bride between the girls invited to the party. Her words have not found a response in Siegfried’s soul: he does not know a girl which could be close to his heart.
It is twilight. The young people part. Siegfried is sad: he is sorry to lose the free life with his friends and at the same time the image of a girl he could love appears in his dreams. But where is this girl? Talking to friends do not touch Siegfried. Only a flock of swans floating on the lake attracts his attention. Siegfried goes after them.
The swans lead Siegfried to a dead thicket on the coast of a dark lake.
A beautiful white swan suddenly transformed into a girl draws Siegfried’s attention. Feelings of love awakens in the Prince’s heart. Swan Princess Odette reveals Siegfried the secret of the spell weighing upon her and her friends: an evil sorcerer turned them into swans, and only at night around this lake, they can take human form. To save his beloved and her friends, Siegfried is capable of killing the sorcerer. But alas, it will not help dispel the spell – only the selfless love of the young man who has never swore love to anyone, may remove the evil spell from Odette and the girls-swans. Siegfried, having met her beloved, gives Odette a vow of eternal fidelity.
Odette and Siegfried’s conversation was overheard by the Evil Genius. There comes the dawn. The girls must turn into swans again. Siegfried is confident in the strength and immutability of his feelings – he will free Odette from the sorcerer’s power.
A Gala Ball in the reigning princess’s castle. Brides from different countries are invited to the party. Siegfried must choose a bride out of the four girls.
Finally there appears Siegfried. However, he coldly turns away from the girls waiting for him to choose among them. Siegfried is full of dreams about the beautiful Odette.
Suddenly there appears a strange guest. This is the Evil Genius. He has brought his daughter Odile to the ball, and Odile is strikingly similar to Odette. The Evil Genius tells her to charm Siegfried and to wring a confession of love from him.
The Prince takes Odile for Odette and declares his mother his decision to marry her. The sorcerer triumphs. The oath is broken, from now Odette and her friends will remain flock swans forever. With an angry laugh, pointing to Odette who stands in the distance, the sorcerer disappears with Odile. Siegfried realizes that he has been deceived, and desperately rushes to the Swan Lake.
Lake shore. A grim night full of trouble. Overwhelmed by grief, Odette tells her friends about Siegfried’s infidelity. The girls-swans yearn. Their hopes for the release are lost.
Siegfried rushes. He has not broken his vow: there, in the castle, he saw Odette in Odile – it is to her that his love confession was drawn. The Evil Genius furiously pummels the forces of nature against the lovers. Storm and lightning begin. But nothing can destroy the young, pure love and separate Odette and Siegfried. Then the Evil Genius himself enters into combat with the Prince and dies. Odette and Siegfried, surrounded by Odette’s friends, happily greet the first rays of the rising sun.