Swan Lake is a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875–76. Like the Nutcracker, it flopped when it first came out but has gone on to become one of the world's most popular ballets.
The story is all about Odette, a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer.
The ballet was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake, Vienna State Ballet 2014 in HD
Swan Lake- the "Plot"
A beautiful park.
The scene is Prince Siegfried's birthday which he is celebrating with his tutor and friends. His mother, the Queen, arrives on the scene to inform him that he must pick a bride at the royal ball the next evening. Siegfried wants to marry for love and his mood darkens. Towards the end of the day, after spotting a flock of swans overhead, the friends decide to go on a hunt.
Siegfried is alone, and reached the edge of the lake as the swans land nearby. He takes aim with his crossbow but stops in his tracks when one of the swans transforms into a beautiful woman, Odette.
To begin with, she is terrified but then reveals she is the Swan Queen Odette, victim of a spell cast by the dark sorcerer Von Rothbart. By day they must live as swans and at night, they become human again by the side of the lake. The spell can only be broken by a lover whose heart has never been taken by another swearing his eternal love to Odette. The evil scorcerer suddenly appears and Siegfried threatens him but Odette pleads with him explaining that the spell can never be broken is Von Rothbart is dead..
As the sorcerer vanishes, the swans fill the clearing and Siegfried falls for Odette. As the sun comes up, Odette and her maidens transform back into swans.
Guests arrive for the ball. Siegfried is presented with 6 maidens and Von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his daughter, Odile, whom the sorcerer has transformed into a clone of Odette. Siegfried is enchanted and spends the evening dancing with Odile. Odette appears before him as a vision and tries to tell Siegfried that he is being tricked, but Siegfried is deaf to her pleas and announces that will marry Odile. Von Rothbart reveals to Siegfried his mistake. He is struck with grief and runs back to the lake.
By the lake.
Odette is inconsolable. Her fellow maidens try to calm her, but it is an impossible task. Siegfried arrives and throws himself before her with a heart-felt apology. She forgives him , but Von Rothbart arrives and insists that Siegfried keeps his promise to marry his daughter Odile. Odette is to be transformed into a swan forever.
Siegfried elects to stay with his love Odette and they throw themselves into the lake. This breaks the spell over the swans, and he loses his power over them and dies. The swan maidens watch on as Siegfried and Odette are raised into Heaven, forever bound by love.
There are quite a few different endings that have been performed over the years, from happy ones to tragic.