Music – Peter Tchaikovsky
Choreography – Marius Petipa

Swan Lake – ballet by composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in four acts. Libretto by Vladimir Begichev and Vasily Geltser with additions by the composer himself.


The idea of ​​staging the ballet “Swan Lake” belonged to the Directorate of the Moscow Imperial Troupe.

The plot is based on an old German legend of a beautiful princess, turned into a swan by an evil wizard

There were three versions of the ballet. The first two are considered unsuccessful. Only the third, knocking over all the canons of academic choreography, brought the ballet not only success, but also immortality and is the basis of all subsequent classical ballet revisions.

Originally in the script development, Odette and Odile were different characters. But in the process of creating music, the composer decided that they should be interconnected and very similar, which led the Prince to a tragic mistake.

And then Peter Ilyich contributed to the score that Odette and Odile should be performed in the ballet by the same ballerina. March 23, 1876 at the Moscow Bolshoi Theater began rehearsals. The performance was staged by choreographer Julius Wenzel Reisinger, Czech choreographer.

The performance had no success. Only artist Karl Waltz, who invented a special technology for using steam to create the illusion of fog, won praise for criticism. The second version of the ballet also turned out to be a failure.

L. I. Ivanov, in the third version of the production, understood the structure of Swan Lake and the reason for the failure of the first two productions. He made a certain revolutionary step in violation of the academic construction of ballet positions, removing artificial swan wings in ballerina costumes, but with the ballet movements of his hands he gave a similarity to the wings of the wings.

So, quite by chance, the revival of ballet began, or rather the birth of a new great stage work.


Act I 

Scene I 

Prince Siegfried is celebrating his own birthday with a birthday feast, surrounded by friends.

A boisterous court jester is entertaining the revelers. 

The servants announce the arrival of Siegfried’s mother, the Queen, who presents the prince with a crossbow, saying that he is now of age to start considering marriage. Siegfried is to choose himself a fiancée at tomorrow’s ball.

Dusk falls. The guests leave. Siegfried is left alone. He is perturbed by vague forebodings… Noticing a bevy of white swans passing across the sky, he rushes towards the lake.

Scene II

A lake in the shadows of the wood. Siegfried encounters swan maidens. At their sight he lowers his crossbow. He is astonished by the marvelous beauty of the Swan Queen. Odette reveals to him that the swan maidens are in the power of the evil Rothbart’s curse, which can only be broken by force of selfless love. Siegfried vows eternal love to Odette. But she warns that nothing will ever save them if he breaks his plight. Dawn is about to break. Only swans are on the lake again. Odette bids Siegfried farewell.

Act II

Scene I 

A ball at the castle.

Beautiful princesses who have arrived from different countries are presented one by one to the prince. But Siegfried is indifferent to them. He is wholeheartedly devoted to Odette. It is only by his mother’s injunctions that he tries to be courteous with the prospective brides.

The arrival of new guests is heralded by trumpets. Rohtbart, dressed as a noble knight, enters, joint by his daughter Odile.

Siegfried is bewildered by the incredible resemblance of the young beauty to Odette. It is short before the prince is infatuated with the alluring, seductive charmer. Eventually she entices him to declare love for her. Now she is his fiancée.

Rohtbart is triumphant: Siegfried has broken his vow to Odette. Now that Siegfried’s love and devotion are shattered, Rohtbart’s power appears invincible. Siegfried flashes back in his mind to the swan lake and, realizing in horror that he has been deceived, dashes out to the lakeside to find Odette.

II Картина

The lake shore at night.

Odette tells her friends about Rohtbart’s treachery and Siegfried’s betrayal. The prince arrives and begs Odette’s forgiveness. Rohtbart intervenes with the intention to separate Odette and the prince, but he is defeated in a fight with Siegfried. The evil spell is destroyed, and the rising sun bestows vitality, love and joy upon all around…