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23 July 2019 (Tue), 19:00 Russian National Ballet Theatre - Classical Ballet Pyotr Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake" (ballet in 3 acts)

Running time: 3 hours 15 minutes (till 21:20)

The performance has 2 intermissions

Schedule for Pyotr Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake" (ballet in 3 acts) 2020

Orchestra: Symphony orchestra of the Summer Ballet Seasons

Classical Ballet in 2 acts

Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Libretto by Vladimir Begichev and Vasily Geltzer 

Choreography: L. Ivanov, M. Petipa, K. Sergeyev, A. Messerer, A. Shelest, I. Chernyshev.


World premiere: March 4, 1877.


"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 payrolls, 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 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 crisscrossed 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, like 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. 


Music For Ballets Fragment 1 Fragment 2




A small Village in the Rhine Valley.
By tradition at harvest time, the villagers gather at a different house each day to taste the new wine. We find them gathered at the cottage of the peasant girl Giselle. Count Albrecht, Duke of Silesia, has fallen in love with Giselle. He disguises himself as a peasant in order to court her.
Hillarion, a gamekeeper, who also loves Giselle, suspects the true identity of his rival and warns her to be wary of the stranger. The peasants return with the last of the grape harvest and join in a dance with Giselle and the disguised Count. Laughing off her mother`s warnings that her passion for dancing might be endangering her life, Giselle is crowned Queen of the Vine.
A hunting party led by the duke of Courland with his daughter Bathilde, stops at Giselle`s cottage to rest. Hillarion, learning that Bathilde is betrothed to Court Albrecht, reveals the truth to Giselle. The shock is too great for her and she dies, heartbroken.


Giselle`s grave by a pool in the forest.
Midnight. The hour when the Wilis, the ghosts of young women who have died of a broken heart, appear to waylay unwary men and dance them to death. Count Albrecht and Hillarion come to grieve at Giselle`s grave. The Wilis are commanded by their Queen Myrtha to dance with two men, Hilillarion cannot escape their spell and dies, but Count Albrecht is saved from Myrtha the Wilis by Giselle`s abiding love for him. He manages to dance until dawn, when power of the Wilis fades, and escapes, taking his love of Giselle forever. 

Schedule for Pyotr Tchaikovsky "Swan Lake" (ballet in 3 acts) 2020

"Swan Lake" Moscow Ballet “La Classique” (a.d. E.Melikov)
About This Video
"Swan Lake"
Moscow Ballet “La Classique” (a.d. E.Melikov)

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