October 22-23, 2016 The Grand Opera House
A ballet in four acts
Music by PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Choreography by LEV IVANOV and MARIUS PETIPA
Staged by PASHA KAMBALOV
Lighting by GENEVIEVE FANELLI
Stage Manager PAIGE OBARA
Costumes by TRACI EIZEMBER, JOANNE EPSTEIN, PAIGE OBARA, BENEFIS COSTUMES and THEATRE BALLET-PREMIER
Premiere: January 15, 1895, at the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia
A magnificent park before a palace.
Prince Siegfried is celebrating his birthday. The revelries are interrupted by Siegfried’s mother, the Queen, who is concerned about her son’s carefree lifestyle. She tells him that he must choose a bride at the royal ball the following evening. Siegfried is upset that he cannot marry for love. His friend and his tutor try to lift his troubled mood. As evening falls, his friend sees a flock of swans flying overhead and suggests they go on a hunt. Siegfried and his friends take their arbalets and set off in pursuit of the swans.
A lakeside clearing in a forest by the ruins of a chapel. A moonlit night.
Siegfried has become separated from his friends. He arrives at the lakeside clearing, just as a flock of swans land nearby. He aims his crossbow at the swans, but freezes when one of them transforms into a beautiful maiden, Odette. At first, she is terrified of Siegfried. When he promises not to harm her, she tells him that she is the Swan Queen Odette. She and her companions are victims of a terrible spell cast by the evil owl-like sorcerer Von Rothbart. By day they are turned into swans and only at night, by the side of the enchanted lake – created from the tears of Odette's mother – do they return to human form. The spell can only be broken if one who has never loved before swears to love Odette forever. Von Rothbart suddenly appears. Siegfried threatens to kill him, but Odette intercedes – if Von Rothbart dies before the spell is broken, it can never be undone. As Von Rothbart disappears, the swan maidens fill the clearing. Siegfried sets about winning Odette’s trust. They fall in love with each other. But as dawn arrives, the evil spell draws Odette and her companions back to the lake and they are turned into swans again.
An opulent hall in the palace.
Guests arrive at the palace for a costume ball. Siegfried's mother commands him to dance with six princesses and choose one as a bride. Siegfried protests that he does not love any of them. Von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his daughter Odile. He has transformed Odile so that she appears identical to Odette in all respects except that she wears black rather than white. The prince mistakes her for Odette and dances with her. Odette appears as a vision and vainly tries to warn Siegfried that he is being deceived. But Siegfried remains oblivious and proclaims to the court that he intends to make Odile his wife. Von Rothbart shows Siegfried a magical vision of Odette and he realizes his mistake. Grief-stricken, Siegfried hurries back to the lake.
By the lakeside.
Odette is distraught at Siegfried’s betrayal. The swan-maidens try to comfort her, but she is resigned to death. Siegfried returns to the lake and finds Odette. He makes a passionate apology. She forgives him and the pair reaffirms their love. Von Rothbart appears and insists that Siegfried fulfill his pledge to marry Odile, after which Odette will be transformed into a swan forever. Siegfried struggles with Von Rothbart and tears off one wing, thereby destroying his powers. Siegfried has broken the spell of the swan maidens and marries Odette.
(Swan Lake is 2 hours and 27 minutes including intermissions)