Live Cinema Season

Swan Lake (2018)

Recorded | Ballet

Running time: The performance lasts about 3 hours, including two intervals

Swan Lake (2018)

The Royal Ballet presents a new production of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent classical ballet, with additional choreography by Liam Scarlett and designs by John Macfarlane.


The story

Prince Siegfried chances upon a flock of swans while out hunting. When one of the swans turns into a beautiful woman, Odette, he is enraptured. But she is under a spell that holds her captive, allowing her to regain her human form only at night.

The evil spirit Von Rothbart, arbiter of Odette’s curse, disguises his daughter Odile as Odette to trick Siegfried into breaking his vow of love. Fooled, Siegfried declares his love for Odile, and so dooms Odette to suffer under the curse forever.


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.



Liam Scarlett after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov

Additional choreography

Frederick Ashton


Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky


Liam Scarlett


John Macfarlane

Lighting designer

David Finn


Koen Kessels
Marianela Nuñez
Prince Siegfried
Vadim Muntagirov
Von Rothbart
Bennet Gartside
Alexander Campbell
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Concert master
Ania Safonova
The Queen
Elizabeth McGorian

Cast sheets

Cast sheets are available as PDFs

News and features

To find out more visit the Swan Lake (2018) production page.