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What makes this production of the Swan Lake unique, is that instead of the usual 16 swans, there are 48 swans in this production. The choice of ballet maestro Derek Deane was also the most obvious. Derek Deane, renowned for his work with the English National Ballet, has a tremendous reputation in the field of big arena productions. His Swan Lake production was among others to see at The Royal Albert Hall.
For the choreographer Deane, it was a real challenge to translate a hall production into a theater production. Deane says: “The result is truly magnificent! It is much more touching and poetic than I had ever imagined.
The Shanghai Ballet has formally renamed in 1979 at the base of The White-haired Girl performing team. Ballet The White-haired Girl won the Gold Medal of the Best Classical Dance Works of the 20th Century in China, which helped establish the Ballet’s predominant position in ballet circle in China.
The lovely Princess Odette is kidnapped by the wicked Rothbart, who is half-man half-bird. The evil sorcerer turns the Princess into a swan and condemns her to a life under his spell at the lakeside.
Act I The Palace
Preparations are underway to celebrate the birthday of Prince Siegfried. The Palace courtyard is being decorated with garlands under the watchful eye of the Prince’s tutor. He announces Prince Siegfried’s arrival and the entertainment begins.
In the midst of the celebration, the Queen arrives to give her son a magnificent crossbow for his birthday. Taking him aside, she tells him that as he has now come of age he must consider marriage. The Queen then departs and the celebrations continue.
Late in the afternoon, Siegfried is left alone with his thoughts. He sees a flock of swans flying overhead and armed with his new crossbow he sets out to hunt them at the lake.
Act II A Lakeside
Rothbart appears from beneath the waters of the lake to survey his domain. He sees the Prince approaching and disappears into the forest. Searching for the flock of swans, the Prince arrives at the lakeside. Odette, Queen of the Swans, appears. Siegfried is captivated by her beauty. Rothbart reappears and Odette flees from the lakeside with Siegfried chasing her into the night.
Summoning all his powers, Rothbart commands every swan to the lake. The lakeside is suddenly filled with swan maidens, who are girls who have been transformed into swans by the evil sorcerer.
Siegfried returns to the lake in search of Odette and finding her swears undying love and the promise that he will be faithful to her for the rest of his life.
Rothbart returns and steals the Swan Queen from the Prince’s embrace, leaving him alone and desolate by the waters of the lake.
Act III The Great Hall of the Castle
A formal celebration is taking place in honour of Prince Siegfried’s birthday. Guests arrive from many countries to join in the festivities. The Queen presents her son with the choice of six Princesses and commands him to select a bride from among them, but he remains preoccupied and aloof because he intends to marry Odette. At his mother’s request he dances with the Princesses, but finally refuses to marry any of them.
With a flourish of trumpets, Rothbart arrives with his daughter Odile in cunning disguise as the Swan Queen. Believing she is Odette, Siegfried is entranced and she leaves the Great Hall with him in pursuit. After a display of national dances, Odile and Siegfried return to the hall and dance together.
Persuaded by the wicked Odile, he believes that she is his true love and fails to see Odette pleading with him from outside the Palace to remain faithful to her. Siegfried swears undying love to Odile thus breaking the pledge that he has made to Odette. Rothbart is jubilant and summons Odette to show Siegfried that he has betrayed her for Odile. Rothbart and Odile leave the Great Hall in triumph.
In desperation, Siegfried flees from the hall to find Odette and beg for forgiveness, leaving the Queen and the Court in chaos and despair.
Act IV A Lakeside
Realizing that she has been betrayed, Odette returns to the swans at the lake’s edge. Siegfried arrives to beg for Odette’s forgiveness, which she eventually grants.
Rothbart appears and reminds Siegfried of his earlier promise to Odile. A fight ensues.
Odette decides that she can continue no longer and throws herself into the lake. Siegfried follows and they are both drowned. The evil spell is broken and Rothbart is destroyed by the power of Siegfried’s and Odette’s love for each other.
As the dawn of a new day rises, Siegfried and Odette are united in eternal love.