Derek Deane's Swan Lake in-the-round

Royal Albert Hall, London
17 - 28 Jun
2 hours 50 minutes
including a pause after Act I and two intervals of 20 minutes
The splendour of ballet on a grand scale.

Derek Deane’s Swan Lake in-the-round caused a sensation at its premiere in 1997, and has since been enjoyed by over half a million people, capturing audiences worldwide.

With 60 ballerina swans shimmering in white tutus, moving in unison, and flocking across the Hall’s arena floor, this outstanding production will captivate and enthral you.

Experience the powerful story of love against evil in this epic ballet featuring 120 performers and set to Tchaikovsky’s glorious score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.

From the lakeside seats to the top of the Hall, this in-the-round production of the world’s favourite ballet combines sensational spectacle, compelling drama and touching intimacy.

Join us in 2020 to experience this phenomenal production once more.

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CREATIVE TEAM

Derek Deane

Choreography and Direction

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Music

Peter Farmer

Design

Howard Harrison

Lighting Design

Synopsis

Act I
The Courtyard of the Castle

It is Prince Siegfried’s birthday and the townsfolk have gathered excitedly at the palace. The ladies and gentlemen of the court dance for him and acrobats and jugglers entertain the young prince.

The celebrations are in full swing when the Queen presents her son with a gift of a magnificent crossbow. Prince Siegfried is delighted with the gift but his mood changes when his mother pulls him aside and reminds him that he must now find a suitable wife. Preoccupied by the reminder of this obligation, Prince Siegfried dismisses his guests. Suddenly, his thoughts are interrupted by the spectacular sight of a flock of swans in the distance. Grabbing his new crossbow, he hurries from the palace to hunt them.

Act II
The Lakeside

At the Lakeside a dark and mysterious force is lurking. It is Rothbart, a strange half-man, half bird, with sorcerer’s powers and a piercing glare. This monstrous creature rises from the depths of the misty lake to survey all he owns, beating his huge black wings. He vanishes into the water seconds before Prince Siegfried arrives at the lakeside with his crossbow.

The prince is amazed to find that each of the swans he followed is a young woman bewitched by the evil sorcerer, Rothbart. They are only able to return to human form for a few hours at night. Among them is their queen, Odette. The flock protects her fiercely but slowly Odette begins to trust the prince who is utterly captivated by her beauty and elegance.

When Rothbart reappears, the frightened swan-maidens scatter. In the chaos Odette flees, closely followed by Siegfried who chases her into the night. Enraged, Rothbart summons all his powers and draws the woman back to the lake. Prince Siegfried breathlessly declares his undying love for Odette and swears to remain faithful to her for all time. Jealous Rothbart wrenches them from their embrace, and he takes Odette away, leaving Prince Siegfried desperate and alone.

Act III
The Great Hall of the Castle

Back at the palace, a formal celebration is taking place in honour of Prince Siegfried’s birthday. Royalty from all over the world have been invited and there are impressive displays of national dances. Among the guests are several princesses specially selected by the Queen as potential brides for Prince Siegfried. He politely dances with each woman but remains aloof, knowing he will never marry anyone but Odette. Suddenly, with a flourish of trumpets and a crack of lightning, Rothbart arrives with his daughter, Odile. She is quite beautiful and dressed sleekly all in black. Unbeknownst to Siegfried, Rothbart has cast a spell over his own daughter, transforming her into an exact likeness of the beautiful Odette. He plans to trick Prince Siegfried and force him into betraying Odette.

This clever impostor’s movements seem familiar to Siegfried and he is utterly convinced he is dancing with Odette. He is so mesmerized by her he fails to see Odette desperately beating her wings at the window, pleading with her eyes. Prince Siegfried declares to the guests, the court and his mother the Queen that he intends to marry this mysterious guest. His cruel plan complete, Rothbart is triumphant and reveals Odette to expose his trickery. Realising he has betrayed Odette, Prince Siegfried is full of anguish and pushes past the guests heading for the lake to beg for Odette’s forgiveness.

Act IV
The Lakeside

Knowing that she has been betrayed, Odette returns to her companions gathered at the Lakeside. Siegfried arrives to beg for Odette’s forgiveness, which she eventually grants. When Rothbart arrives a fight ensues; a struggle of good over evil. In the end, Rothbart’s evil spell is broken by the power of Siegfried and Odette’s love for each other and Rothbart is destroyed by the swan-maidens who are released from their enslavement. As the dawn of a new day rises, Siegfried and Odette are united in eternal love.

Dancers of English National Ballet in Swan Lake in the round

Reviews


“A remarkable and grand achievement. A true, honourable Swan Lake.”
“A thrilling and poetic vision”
“When the swans make their first entrance, wave after wave of them, it’s awesome. To see them move and breathe as one is profoundly touching”

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Derek Deane's Swan Lake in-the-round