Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Choreography by Kevin McKenzie after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Scenery and Costumes by Zack
Lighting by Duane Schuler
Acts 1/2 - 70:00
Acts 3/4 - 45:00
At Prince Siegfried’s birthday party, the Queen Mother presents him with a crossbow and reminds him that he must choose a bride at the ball the following evening. He escapes the party to hunt alone and comes upon the lake of the swans. Here, he is entranced by Odette, a beautiful princess trapped in the spell of the evil sorcerer von Rothbart, cursed to live as a swan, only returning to human form by night. The Prince swears fidelity to her, but the next day is tricked by von Rothbart and his daughter Odile, the black swan, who seduces him into a promise of marriage. Odette, grief stricken, kills herself to escape her plight, and Prince Siegfried joins her in death, vanquishing von Rothbart in their eternal love.
Prologue: Long before
our story begins, Odette, a beautiful princess, falls under the spell
of von Rothbart, a wicked sorcerer.
Act I - The Princes Birthday Party: It is Prince Siegfrieds
twenty-first birthday and he is celebrating with friends. The Queen
Mother arrives to give him his present, a crossbow, and reminds him
that, as he is to become King, he must choose a bride at the ball the
next evening. She leaves, bidding him to enjoy himself, but reminding
him again to think about his royal obligation to be wed. Siegfried,
realizing that his carefree days are at an end, leaves the party at
the height of the festivities to seek the solace of the woods. Benno,
his friend, finds him and suggests they go hunting. Siegfried declines,
preferring to be alone.
Act II - Some hours later. By the Lake: Prince Siegfried enters
a moonlit clearing in the forest and sees a magnificent swan in flight.
He carefully takes aim, but, to his astonishment, the bird transforms
into a breathtakingly beautiful girl, and he withdraws into the trees
to observe her. Unable to resist his curiosity, he steps out, only to
startle and frighten her. He assures her he will do her no harm and
asks her to explain the marvel he has just seen. Impressed by his gentleness,
Odette unburdens the story of her plight. She tells him she is a Princess
of high birth who fell under the spell of an evil sorcerer, and now
her fate is to be a swan; only in the hours of darkness may she assume
her human guise. Indeed, this very lake is filled with her mothers
tears. She tells him she is condemned for eternity, and only if a virgin
youth swears eternal fidelity to her and marries her can she find release.
Only then can the spell be broken. But if he should forswear her, then
she must remain a swan forever. At that moment the sorcerer appears.
The Prince, in his passion, reaches for his crossbow, but Odette immediately
protects the sorcerer with her body, for she knows that if he is killed
before the spell is broken, she too will die. The sorcerer disappears,
and Odette slips away into the forest. Siegfried realizes his fate is
now entwined with hers. Dawn approaches and Odette is compelled by the
spell to return to her guise as a swan. Siegfried is left awestruck.
Act III - The Great Hall: Heralds and trumpets announce the start
of the ball. Eligible young princesses from all over the world arrive
to be introduced to Prince Siegfried so that he may choose a bride.
They present their national dances for the entertainment of the Prince
and the Queen Mother. The prospective brides dance for them, and the
Queen Mother reminds Siegfried that he must choose one for his wife.
As Siegfried struggles with his responsibility to marry, his mind remains
with Odette and he cannot choose. Trumpets announce an un-invited guest.
It is von Rothbart with his daughter Odile. Siegfried is seduced by
her, as von Rothbart holds the court in thrall. Siegfried announces
his intention to marry Odile. Von Rothbart asks Siegfried to swear fidelity.
He realizes too late that he has been the victim of a terrible plot.
The scene darkens; Odette is seen at the castle door, weeping. Grief-stricken,
Siegfried rushes to the lakeside.
Act IV - The lakeside: A great storm rages. Siegfried, bursting
into the glade, discovers Odette and begs her forgiveness. Odette tells
Siegfried she must kill herself, or she will forever be a swan. Siegfried,
knowing that his destiny is forever changed, declares he will die with
her, thus breaking von Rothbarts power over her.
As dawn approaches, von Rothbart appears. The lovers answer his threat
by throwing themselves into the lake. Von Rothbart is vanquished and
his power ended.
APOTHEOSIS: The lovers are united in life after death.