Swan Lake is one of the most renowned and impeccable creations of world ballet. The Darkness versus Light theme is explored through the tale of a beautiful maiden that is cursed by an evil sorcerer to transform into a swan. This old legend once touched the heart of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, whose music has since guided numerous choreographers to create truly memorable ballet characters.
The global première of Swan Lake took place at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 1877. The original show, staged by Václav Reisinger, remained on the playbill for six years; nonetheless, it almost completely failed to impress either the audience or the critics. Its true life, filled with lavish public praise, did not start until after the composer passed away.
In 1894, Lev Ivanov, the second choreographer at the Mariinsky Theatre, put on a memorial show in honour of Tchaikovsky, featuring Swan Lake’s second act. The austere choreographic contours, the bird-like sweeps of the ballerinas’ arms, the gentle character of Odette—all of this was in perfect harmony with the score, to the point of blending into an inseparable whole. Lev Ivanov’s senior colleague, Marius Petipa, began working on a full-fledged ballet as soon as the next year, incorporating the junior choreographer’s creation.
Today, Swan Lake is one of the most notable shows in Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre’s repertoire. Our production, first staged in 2015 in strict adherence to classical canon, immediately earned public appreciation. The show’s set was designed by Vyacheslav Okunev, People’s Artist of Russia; a closer look at the backdrops reveals various references to the masterpieces of world art, as well as an intimate knowledge of ballet traditions.