The story of Prince Siegfried’s love for the Swan Queen Odette, their battle against the evil sorcerer, Rothbart, and a fateful encounter with the manipulative Odile is revealed in English National Ballet’s acclaimed production of Swan Lake. Beloved for its exquisite dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s glorious music, played by the Orchestra of English National Ballet, this Swan Lake is a thrill for the dedicated ballet fan or first-time ballet-goer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Jeffery Taylor, Sunday Express (12 January 2015)
★ ★ ★ ★
Mark Monohan, The Telegraph (8 January 2015)
★ ★ ★ ★
Zoe Anderson, The Independent (8 January 2015)
Princess Odette is kidnapped by the wicked sorcerer Rothbart, who is half-man, half-bird. The evil sorcerer turns the Princess into a swan and condemns her to a life under his spell at the lakeside.
Preparations are underway to celebrate the birthday of Prince Siegfried. The palace courtyard is being decorated for the occasion with garlands under the watchful eye of the Prince’s tutor. He announces Prince Siegfried’s arrival and the entertainment begins.
In the midst of the celebration, the Queen arrives to give her son a magnificent crossbow for his birthday. Taking him aside, she tells him that he has now come of age and must consider marriage. The Queen departs and the celebrations continue.
Late in the afternoon, Siegfried is left alone with his thoughts. He sees a flock of swans flying overhead and, armed with his new crossbow, he sets out to hunt them at the lake.
The sorcerer Rothbart emerges from the mysterious waters of the lake to survey his domain. He sees
Siegfried approaching and disappears into the forest. Searching for the flock of swans, the Prince arrives at the lakeside. Odette, Queen of the Swans, appears and captivates Siegfried with her beauty. Rothbart reappears and Odette flees from the lakeside with Siegfried chasing her into the night.
Summoning all his powers, Rothbart commands every swan to the lake. The lakeside is suddenly filled with swan maidens, girls like Odette who have been transformed into swans by the evil sorcerer.
Siegfried returns to the lake still searching for Odette. Upon finding her he swears undying love and promises that he will be faithful to her for the rest of his life.
Rothbart returns and steals the Swan Queen, Odette, from the Prince’s embrace leaving Siegfried alone and desolate by the waters of the lake.
The Great Hall of the Palace
A formal celebration is taking place in honour of Prince Siegfried’s birthday. Guests arrive from many countries to join in the festivities. The Queen presents her son with six princesses and commands him to select a bride from among them, but he remains preoccupied and aloof because he intends to marry Odette.
With a flourish of trumpets, Rothbart arrives with his daughter Odile in cunning disguise as the Swan Queen. Believing she is Odette, Siegfried is entranced and Odile leaves the Great Hall with him in pursuit. After a display of national dances, Odile and Siegfried return to the hall and dance together.
Persuaded by the wicked Odile, Siegfried believes that she is his true love. He fails to see the real Odette outside the palace pleading with him to remain faithful to her. Siegfried swears undying love to Odile thus breaking the pledge that he has made to Odette. Rothbart is jubilant and summons Odette to show Siegfried that he has betrayed her for his daughter Odile. Rothbart and Odile leave the Great Hall in triumph.
In desperation, Siegfried flees to find Odette and beg for forgiveness, leaving the Queen and the court in chaos and despair.
Realising that she has been betrayed, Odette returns to the swans at the lake’s edge. Siegfried arrives to beg for Odette’s forgiveness, which she eventually grants.
Rothbart appears and reminds Siegfried of his earlier promise to Odile. A fight ensues.
Odette decides that she cannot continue and throws herself into the lake. Siegfried follows and they are both drowned but Rothbart and his evil spell are destroyed by the power of Siegfried and Odette’s love.
As the dawn of a new day rises, Siegfried and Odette are united in eternal love.
Choreography: Derek Deane after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Additional Choreography: Frederick Ashton
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Design: Peter Farmer
Lighting: Howard Harrison
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “English National Ballet is performing one of the best productions of Swan Lake you are likely to see for a long time”
Jeffery Taylor, Sunday Express (12 January 2015) [ ]
★ ★ ★ ★ “English National Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, by Derek Deane is an impeccably judged piece of work.”
Mark Monohan, The Telegraph (8 January 2015) [ ]
★ ★ ★ ★ “The corps of swans are smoothly drilled, flocking into clean lines.”
Zoe Anderson, The Independent (8 January 2015) [ ]
“Hallelujah, if you go to see this Swan Lake, that is indeed the ballet for you. Accept no substitute”.
Clement Crisp, Financial Times (10 January 2015)
“She excels as fragile Odette, suspending time in a swoonsome pas de deux.” [on Cojocaru]
Lyndsey Winship, Evening Standard (8 January 2015)
“Cojocaru’s performance couldn’t have been richer in musical and dramatic nuance – the delicately fluttering fingertips, the deep expressive arch of her back.”
Judith Mackrell, The Guardian (8 January 2015)
“The corps de ballet of swans did well, shimmering with lovely touches”
Debra Craine, The Times (8 January 2015)