Marianela Nuñez as Odile and Vadim Muntagirov as Prince Siegfried in the Act III Black Swan Pas de deux of Liam Scarlett’s production of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s Swan Lake.
Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky’s first score for ballet. Given its status today as arguably the best loved and most admired of all classical ballets, it is perhaps surprising that at its premiere in 1877 Swan Lake was poorly received. It is thanks to the 1895 production by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov that Swan Lake has become part of not only ballet consciousness but also wider popular culture. That success is secured not only by the sublime, symphonic sweep of Tchaikovsky’s score, but also by the striking choreographic contrasts between Petipa’s royal palace scenes and the lyric lakeside scenes created by Ivanov.
Swan Lake has had a special role in the repertory of The Royal Ballet since 1934. Since then there has been a succession of productions, the most recent of which was overseen by Anthony Dowell. This Season the Company creates a new production with additional choreography by Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett. Scarlett, while remaining faithful to the Petipa-Ivanov text, will bring fresh eyes to the staging of this classic ballet, in collaboration with his long-term designer John Macfarlane.