First performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1997, the English National Ballet’s Swan Lake returns from 1 – 12 June 2016, for its eighth in-the-round run at the iconic venue.
Set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score, Swan Lake has been a success since 1877, when the first choreographed production was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet. Although the steps have been rechoreographed multiple times, the 124 minutes of iconic music are unchanged, and today the ballet is recognised as an international favourite.
In 1997, then Artistic Director of the English National Ballet, Derek Deane adapted the classic choreography for the sheer scale of the Hall, expanding the number of swans to 60 and creating stunning visuals by setting it in-the-round, viewable from all angles. During the 139 performances of Deane’s innovative production that have followed, over six hundred thousand people have seen stunning productions of Swan Lake in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall.
A young maiden, Odette, is captured and turned into a white swan by the evil Rothbart, cursed to remain a swan during the day and a girl at night. One evening while out hunting, Prince Siegfried spies Odette and they fall in love. As the sun begins to rise though, Odette is transformed back into a swan and flies away. His friends upon seeing the flock prepare to shoot, but the Prince recognises that one of the swans is Odette.
The Queen, in efforts to find Siegfried a wife, hosts a ball. He pays little attention to the women attending until Rothbart arrives with a mysterious woman dressed in black. She is the mirror image of Odette – Odile. They dance, and he falls in love. Odette, in the crowd, sees them together and, horrified by the betrayal, runs out. The prince, confused, runs to Odile and realises that he has been fooled.
The maidens turn back into swans as the sun comes up, and the Prince fires an arrow at Rothbart, trying to kill him. The Prince’s arrow hits Odette instead. As she falls, the spell Rothbart cast on Odette is broken. Odette, transformed into a woman once more, dies and Siegfried, holding his love, walks into the lake, drowning himself too.
‘Not only is Swan Lake the most well-known work of all time but English National Ballet’s unique interpretation will be visually stunning. The romantic fairytale continues to engage modern audiences, whether the art form is familiar or entirely new to them. I have no doubt that the experience of watching the production at the Royal Albert Hall will be unforgettable!’
Natasha, English National Ballet
‘You don’t need to know anything about ballet or the story to be blown away by 60 swans all moving as one in the stunning setting of the Royal Albert Hall. It’s the only space you can be as close as someone on the front bench of a football pitch or as far away right at the top of the gallery to watch the magic of the formations unfurl below you.’
Amber, English National Ballet