A legendary classical piece that has enthralled audiences for over a century, Swan Lake has grown to exemplify ballet as a form of art! Delight in Tchaikovsky’s stimulating score coupled with a graceful display of George Balanchine’s visionary choreography.
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why you should watch swan lake
Swan Lake undoubtedly holds the crown as the most famous ballet of the 20th and 21st centuries. Innumerable pop culture references and a movie (Black Swan) starring Natalie Portman have contributed to its immense popularity. Although it was not immediately successful after its premiere at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre in 1877, an 1895 revival of the piece by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov at the Mariinsky Theatre was well-received by critics. Most modern adaptations of Swan Lake, including the 1940 American debut by the San Francisco Ballet, are based on this version of the ballet. The ideas introduced by George Balanchine further enhance the brilliance of this production. The origins of the libretto and the inspiration for the fairy-tale are still largely unclear. Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece draws inspiration from various ballets and operas of the 19th century including The Voyevoda and The Grand Adage.
The defining aspects of each character can be gleaned from the way they move. The prima ballerina in the role of Odette moves in an elegant and graceful manner befitting a swan. Prince Siegfried’s decisive and tenacious movements reflect his sense of purpose and duty. A ballet that beautifully depicts the conflict between good and evil, Swan Lake is as fresh and awe-inspiring as it was over a century ago!
A savoury blend of fantasy, romance, and tragedy, Swan Lake consists of four acts. Princess Odette has no choice but to spend her days living in the Lake of Tears as a swan. At night, she is allowed the leisure to assume her beautiful human form.
Prince Siegfried is greeted at the palace courtyard for his 21st birthday. An air of celebration and joie de vivre has filled the kingdom. The young prince is gifted with a crossbow and told that he will soon be married to a fitting woman. On his hunting expedition in the woods, Prince Siegfried spots a graceful swan in the Lake of Tears. Transfixed by its beauty, he decides to stay by the lake until nightfall. As the sun sinks below the horizon, the swan turns into Odette. She tells him about the evil Von Rothbart and the sorcery that served as the source of the curse. The only way to break the spell would be to receive a pledge of true love from a man whose heart is spotlessly pure. Before he can declare his love to her, the princess is stolen away from him by the evil sorcerer. In his quest to find her once more, Prince Siegfried rejects all the other royal proposals. He is tricked into a confession of love by Von Rothbart’s daughter Odile, who approaches the prince by assuming the form of Odette. The real Odette flees into the woods in despair after witnessing the prince’s confession.
Realizing his folly, the prince chases after Odette. A fight ensues, and the prince and Odette plunge into the lake of tears. The other swans drive the sorcerer and his daughter into the lake as well, causing the devious duo to drown. United at last, the spirits of Odette and Prince Siegried ascend into the heavens.
Fans of Tchaikovsky | George Balanchine Lovers
know before you go
Suitable for all ages. No entry for children below age 4.
The David H. Koch Theatre has a seating capacity of 2586.
Strictly prohibited. If you'd like to grab a meal before or after the show, check out our guide to the 30 Best Restaurants in the Theater District.
Smart and casual wear is recommended. Keep in mind, the theater is air conditioned throughout the year and can get a bit chilly.
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