31 May 2017 (Wed), 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)
||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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
Schedule for Peter Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake" (Ballet in 3 Acts) 2017
|Peter Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake"|
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