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22 May 2017 (Mon), 20:00 Alexandrinsky Imperial Ballet Theatre (established 1756) - Classical Ballet Peter Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake" (Ballet in 3 Acts)

Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes (till 22:40)


Book tickets for this performance Ticket prices before the discount: from US$ 240 to US$ 368 per ticket


Schedule for Peter Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake" (Ballet in 3 Acts) 2017

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Marius Petipa

Orchestra: Symphony Orchestra "Congress"

World premiere: 27 February 1877, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, Russia

“Swan Lake”

It is difficult to understand these days how it could have happened that the first show of the “Lake” in 1877, in Moscow’s Bolshoi, was a flop, and that it took many years for the ballet to achieve its worldwide cult status. The composer, Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, never lived to see the ultimate success of his creation.

The story begins in 1875, when Bolshoi commissions a ballet score from the young but already famous composer. It was not yet customary practice –despite Tchaikovsky fame and previous successes, which included four symphonies, the now famous Piano Concerto and “Eugene Onegin” opera, the Imperial Theatres of the time would normally employ the composers on Imperial payroll, such as Cesare Pugni, Ludwig Minkus, and Riccardo Drigo. Keeping that in mind, Tchaikovsky did not embark on the course of a revolution in the Russian ballet, and studied the classic ballet scores assiduously, planning to produce a score that would be in tune with the established tradition but at the same time would sound new and interesting. The task of composition occupied him from May 1875 to April 1876. The story was a knightly fairy tale, and historians still debate the literary origins –some opt for Heine, some for Musaeus, a German fairy-tale writer, some for Russian folklore fairy tales, some even for Pushkin.

The first show took place on February 20, 1877, and was a flop. The critics reviled the chief choreographer, Wentsel Reisinger, and were short on praise for Polina (Pelageya) Karpakova, the first interpreter of the main female part. The failure of the first show was detrimental for the immediate reputation of the ballet itself, and for quite some time nobody dared to stage it again.

The situation changed after Tchaikovsky’s death. In 1893, Mariinka decided to revive the “Swan Lake”. A new version of the libretto and the music was to be produced by Modest Tchaikovsky, the composer’s brother, Ivan Vsevolzhsky, the director of the Imperial Theatres himself, and by Riccardo Drigo. The latter used the original music as a source material for a completely new score. The choreography was supervised by Marius Petipa and his pupil Lev Ivanov. The tradition claims that while Petipa was the father of the unique choreography of the new ballet, its truly Russian singing character is there thanks to Ivanov. The lake and swan scenes, famous for their perfection, are undoubtedly his alone. It was Ivanov who came up with the idea of enchanted ladies with their criss-crossed arms and heads tilted to one side, which every spectator immediately recognized for birds that sit with their wings folded. The very magical world of the swan lake was created by Ivanov. Petipa’s are the scenes of courtly dances and festivities and their intricate lace of waltzes and various dances – Spanish, Hungarian, Polish. Petipa also created an antipode for Ivanov’s White Queen of Swans –its black twin Odile, and its beautiful black pas-de-deux of the second act.

It was this particular stage version that came to be admired as the pinnacle of Russian ballet. This production, as none other, was the perfect setting for many famous dancers to showcase their art. The Swan Lake is a unique and perfect creation, and despite the changing musical and dancing fashions, the performance of Odette and Odile parts is still considered a touchstone for the mettle of any serious dancer. The White Swan is truly a symbol of Russian Ballet, of its beauty and magnificence.

Synopsis

ACT I

The Garden of Prince Siegfried’s Castle

Prince Siegfried has come of age and entered upon a new world of affairs of war and the burdens of manhood. It is the day for leaving behind the whims and caprice of youth. A happy day for the Prince, although touched by anxiety. The kindly jester and tutor who have been the Prince’s loving companions since his childhood are the first to congratulate him. He greets his companions and joyfully accepts the congratulations of all the residents of the Castle.

The Prince’s subjects come from far and wide to take part in the festivities. They confer upon him the sword and sceptre of authority and swear allegiance to their new ruler. Henceforth, Prince Siegfried holds their lives and properties in his hands and is also responsible for increasing their wealth and adding to their glory. Something is troubling the Prince. However, he hastens to his mother, the Princess Mother of the Realm, kneels before her and begs for her advice and assistance. The festivities continue, but the Prince is overcome by a desire to be alone, far from his guests.

Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake

ACT II

A Lakeside

A wild lakeside, completely deserted. This is where the evil sorcerer conceals the maidens he has changed into swans. The sorcerer and his evil spell can be destroyed only if a young man falls truly and faithfully in love with the most beautiful of the swan maidens, Odette. But how can this happen, with the evil sorcerer ever alert and watchful over his captives?

Suddenly the Prince appears at the lakeside. His gaze alights on Odette and he is transfixed, dazzled by her beauty, and overcome by the aura of evil in which she is entrapped. The sorcerer tries to keep the swan maidens away from the prince to prevent an encounter between him and Odette. But Siegfried follows the beautiful swan maiden. Who is she? The swan maidens are cloaked in silence, how can they be saved? How can he penetrate the secret that surrounds them and rescue them from their captivity? The Prince is completely overcome by the incomparable and exquisite delicacy of Odette, the Prince swears that he will return and free her from the evil spell.

Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake

ACT III

The Great Hall of Prince Siegfried’s Castle

The castle resounds to the clamor of festivities. Renowned Princesses from Hungary, Russia, Spain, Italy and Poland are presented to the Prince. He must choose one of them as his bride, in order to strengthen his authority and consolidate his power. However, in none of these royal heiresses does he find a maiden comparable to Odette, to whom he has lost his heart. He rejects them all.

The evil sorcerer appears with a Princess remarkably like the Prince’s beloved. He bewitches the Prince into believing that this domineering and cunning maiden is in fact the Queen of the Swans. Even her name, Odile, sounds like Odette to the Prince’s ears. He chooses her as his bride and at the same time he sees a vision of Odette and he understands that the evil sorcerer and his daughter Odile have tricked him and in despair he leaves the palace.

Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake Alexandrinsky Ballet - Swan Lake

ACT IV

The Lakeside

Night falls again on the Swan Lake. The swan maidens are anxious, for if the Prince does not fulfill his vow to set them free, they will be doomed to everlasting captivity. The sorcerer raises a raging storm to conceal the Swan Lake behind a screen of dark clouds, But the Prince rushes headlong through the storm to Odette. The sorcerer attempts to conceal her from him, but no power can stop the young man whose heart is so full of love.

The Prince overcomes all obstacles, and the spell cast by the evil sorcerer is dashed forever on the rock of true love.

Music For Ballets Fragment 1 Fragment 2


© Text 2010 Art and Culture Magazine "St Peterburg"



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Schedule for Peter Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake" (Ballet in 3 Acts) 2017


Peter Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake"
 
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Mikhailovsky Theatre


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