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Swan Lake

The Most Popular of All Classical Ballets

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Swan Lake

Swan Lake

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Tchaikovsky’s first ballet, Swan Lake is considered by many to be one of the greatest classical ballets of all time. Its romance and beauty has allowed the classic ballet to mesmorize audiences for more than 100 years.

Plot Summary of Swan Lake:

While hunting, Prince Siegfried sees an amazing swan. As he takes aim to shoot, the swan turns into a beautiful woman. The woman, Odette, tells the prince that she is a princess who has come under the spell of an evil sorcerer. During the day she must be a swan and swim in a lake of tears. At night she is allowed to be a human again. The spell can only be broken if a a virgin prince swears eternal fidelity to her. She tells Prince Siegfried, who happens to be a virgin prince, that if he refuses her she must remain a swan forever.

Prince Siegfried falls madly in love with Odette. However, through a spell by the evil sorcerer, he accidentally proposes to another woman at a party, believing that the woman is really Odette. Princess Odette feels doomed. She threatens to kill herself and throws herself into the lake. The Prince feels terribly sorry and throws himself into the lake with her. In an incredibly touching moment, the two are transformed into lovers in the afterlife.

Interesting Facts About Swan Lake:

Although Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky's first ballet score, the first production in Moscow wasn't well-received. Although several versions exist, most ballet companies stage the ballet according to the choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov for their St. Petersburg performance of 1895. The first American production was performed by the San Francisco Ballet. Swan Lake is traditionally presented in four acts.
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