Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Swan Lake

My Mom treated me to a special performance by the Pacific Northwest Ballet of Kent Stowell's Swan Lake last Saturday at McCaw Hall. It was a special day shared with her friend, Kylie and daughter, Chelsea who is four years old. Swan Lake is one of the most beloved story ballets of all time. Famous for its romantic treachery laced plot and enchanted setting, Swan Lake is equally renowned for offering ballerinas the ultimate challenge of a dual role: Odette, trapped in the body of a white swan, and Odile, the temptress daughter of the malevolent sorcerer Baron Von Rothbart, who plots the downfall of Odette's true love, Prince Siegfried.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's masterpiece first premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 1877. The ballet was not a critical success and soon disappeared from the boards. In 1895, two years after Tchaikovsky's death, Swan Lake was revived in St. Petersburg by the great balletmaster Marius Petipa and his assistant Lev Ivanov, who together gave it the form that established its pre-eminence among ballet classics. But, as George Balanchine once commented, "Swan Lake is always changing. That is as it should be." Nineteenth century tradition allowed each choreographer carte blanche when approaching existing work. In PNB's version, Tchaikovsky's original tragic emphasis (and music) have been beautifully restored.

It was a wonderful preformance which we all very much enjoyed.