Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Swan Lake. It was last on stage 10 February—9 April 2015 as part of the Winter 2014/15 season.
Prince Siegfried chances upon a flock of swans while out hunting. When one of the swans turns into a beautiful woman, Odette, he is instantly captivated and determines to break the spell that holds her captive.
The evil spirit Von Rothbart, arbiter of the curse, disguises his daughter as Odette. Fooled, Siegfried declares his love for her, and so dooms Odette to suffer under the curse forever. Siegfried and Odette drown themselves and are united in death.
Swan Lake was Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky's first score for ballet. Its 1877 premiere was poorly received, but it has since become one of the most loved of all ballets. The twinned role of the radiant White Swan and the scheming, duplicitous Black Swan tests the full range of a ballerina's powers, particularly in the two great pas de deux of Acts II and III. Other highlights include the charming Dance of the Little Swans performed by a moonlit lake and sweeping ballroom waltzes in the splendour of the royal palace.
Anthony Dowell's glorious interpretation uses classical choreography created by Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa for the ballet's revised 1895 version. Dramatic costumes emphasize the contrast between human and spirit worlds, while glowing lanterns, shimmering fabrics and designs inspired by the work of Peter Carl Fabergé create a magical setting.
News and features
8 April 2015
Steven McRae to replace Vadim Muntagirov in the role of Prince Siegfried.
2 April 2015
Today's performances of Swan Lake and Swanhunter will go ahead. Front of house catering will be limited.
20 March 2015
The Guest Artist and Royal Ballet Principal work in the studio ahead of tomorrow’s matinee performance.
20 March 2015
Performance is now available to pre-order.
19 March 2015
The award-winning ballerina reveals how she moved from contemporary dance to ballet, and the challenge of balancing dance with being a mother.
17 March 2015
What did you think of the live cinema relay of the iconic romantic ballet, starring Natalia Osipova and Matthew Golding?
Swan Lake (Russian: Лебединое озеро/Lebedinoye ozero), Op. 20, is a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875–76. Despite its initial failure, it is now one of the most popular of all ballets. The scenario, initially in two acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger. The ballet was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet on 4 March [O.S. 20 February] 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Although it is presented in many different versions, most ballet companies base their stagings both choreographically and musically on the 1895 revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, first staged for the Imperial Ballet on 15 January 1895, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. For this revival, Tchaikovsky's score was revised by the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatre's chief conductor and composer Riccardo Drigo.