Vienna State Opera 6 June 2024 - Swan Lake | GoComGo.com

Swan Lake

Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria
All photos (16)
Select date and time
7 PM

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Important Info
Type: Ballet
City: Vienna, Austria
Starts at: 19:00

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Overview

It is the most famous ballet of all time: the tragic story of Prince Siegfried, who finds himself deep in the forest in the middle of the night, falls in love with the Swan Princess Odette and swears to be faithful to her forever, but is deceived by the wicked powers of the Magician Rotbart and Odette’s adversary Odile.

The St. Petersburg choreography which Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov first created in response to Tchaikovsky’s ground-breaking score in 1895 – a version which in 1954, three years after his legendary defection to the West, was used by the exceptional Soviet-born dancer Rudolf Nureyev as the basis for his "Swan Lake" in Vienna – is still regarded as the quintessence of the romantic ballet story. 89 curtain calls at the world premiere took the production into the Guinness Book of Records. With over 240 performances and two film versions – one in 1966 with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, and one in 2014 with Olga Esina and Vladimir Shishov – this version has reached an audience of millions.

Swan Lake is the vision of a poet: the beloved belongs to another world, the young woman/swan rendered inaccessible by virtue of her condition. Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov gave form to this fantasy in 1895, using the poignant score that Tchaikovsky had composed in 1877. In the "Freudian" version that Rudolf Nureyev staged for the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1984, the Prince Siegfried refuses the realities of power and marriage that his mother and tutor seek to impose upon him. He takes refuge in the imaginary, a vision of a magical lake that offers an idealized love that he is incapable of sustaining. In this production  Nureyev remained faithful to the Petipa/Ivanov version, doing away with the character of the Jester (added in 1920, by Alexander Gorsky), and reintroducing the tutor Wolfgang – an authoritative and important influence on the prince – to Act I. It is Siegried's feverish imagination that transforms the tutor, in the following acts, into the malevolent Rothbart, a diabolical manipulator of bodies and souls. An equivocal, double-faced character, he symbolises a spirit of destruction that opposes the hero's idealism.

"For me, Swan Lake is one long daydream seen through the eyes of prince Siegfried. Reared on romantic reading, his desire for infinity has been fired and he refuses the reality of the power and the forced marriage imposed by his tutor and his mother. To escape from the dreary destiny that is being prepared for him, he brings the vision of the lake, this "elsewhere" for which he yearns, into his life. An idealized love is born in his mind, along with the prohibition that it represents. (The white swan is the untouchable woman, the black swan the reverse mirror image, just as the evil Rothbart is a corrupt substitute for Wolfgang, the tutor). And so when the dream fades away, the sanity of the prince does not know how to survive."
Rudolf NureyevPropos recueillis (1984)

"The Prince, a type of Hamlet, rearranged by Pouchkine and who would like... not to be" Horst Koegler

History
Premiere of this production: 04 March 1877, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow

Swan Lake 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. Swan Lake is the ballet which embodies the soul of Russian art. The combination of brilliant music and choreography creates a special kind of magic; what the great 20th century choreographer George Balanchine had in mind when he famously said, “One should call every ballet Swan Lake because then people would come.”

Synopsis

ACT I

Celebration of Prince Siegfried’s coming of age at the castle. The prince accepts the congratulations of the guests courteously. As a sign of his man­hood his mother gives him a cross-bow; on the next day he is to select his bride from the beauties of the land. Left alone the prince's attention is attracted by a flight of swans. He is full of dark presentments, but decides to go hunting nevertheless.

ACT II

Rothbart, the magician, lands on the shores of a forest lake in the guise of a bird-of-prey. As lord of his domain he rules over many girls transformed into white swans and over their queen, Odette, who has suffered the same fate. Only at night are they permitted to appear again in human form. Prince Siegfried discovers the forest lake hunting alone. He sees Odette and is stricken with love for her. Transformed by the weaving dances of her com­panions, who like their queen retain the nature and grace of white swans even in human guise, his love turns into a passionate attachment. Odette reveals her fate to him: she can only be released by a man, who loves none beside her. Siegfried vows he would be that man. Day dawns, the girls return to the lake, where their transformation takes place again. Rothbart prevents Siegfried from following them.

ACT III

Festivities at the court of the queen, his mother, are in full swing. But Sieg­fried pays little attention to any of the six noble ladies introduced for his choice. A beautiful stranger in black appears, accompanied by a proud nob­leman. This is the guise of Rothbart, who introduces the beauty as his daugh­ter Odile. Siegfried is confused; this mysterious stranger, so like to a black swan, seems curiously to mimick Odette, his beloved white swan. After the presentation of national dances by guests from Spain, Naples, Poland and Hungary, Siegfried asks Odile to dance with him. Odile’s sinous dancing bewitches him completely. To the satisfaction of his mother he announces his intention to make her his bride. Rothbart and Odile disappear trium­phantly. Siegfried must recognize that he has been deceived; he rushes out to the Swan Lake to find his true love!

ACT IV

At the lake shore the white swans dance their melancholy round, in vain they try to comfort Odette. The prince rushes to the shore out of breath. Although Odette now knows that she will never be released from the evil spell, she forgives Siegfried. To complete his revenge Rothbart calls forth a flood. Translated into swans again, Odette and the girls must leave. The hapless prince is engulfed by the waves.

Swan Lake is generally presented in either four acts, four scenes (primarily outside Russia and Eastern Europe) or three acts, four scenes (primarily in Russia and Eastern Europe). The biggest difference of productions all over the world is that the ending, originally tragic, is now sometimes altered to a happy ending.

Prologue
Some productions include a prologue that shows how Odette first meets Rothbart, who turns Odette into a swan.

Act 1

A magnificent park before a palace

[Scène: Allegro giusto] Prince Siegfried is celebrating his birthday with his tutor, friends and peasants [Waltz]. The revelries are interrupted by Siegfried's mother, the Queen [Scène: Allegro moderato], who is concerned about her son's carefree lifestyle. She tells him that he must choose a bride at the royal ball the following evening (some productions include the presentation of some possible candidates). Siegfried is upset that he cannot marry for love. His friend Benno and the tutor try to lift his troubled mood. As evening falls [Sujet], Benno sees a flock of swans flying overhead and suggests they go on a hunt [Finale I]. Siegfried and his friends take their crossbows and set off in pursuit of the swans.

Act 2

A lakeside clearing in a forest by the ruins of a chapel. A moonlit night.

The "Valse des cygnes" from act 2 of the Ivanov/Petipa edition of Swan Lake
Siegfried has become separated from his friends. He arrives at the lakeside clearing, just as a flock of swans land [Scène. Moderato]. He aims his crossbow [Scène. Allegro moderato], but freezes when one of them transforms into a beautiful maiden, Odette [Scène. Moderato]. At first, she is terrified of Siegfried. When he promises not to harm her, she explains she and her companions are victims of a spell cast by the evil owl-like sorcerer Rothbart. By day they are turned into swans and only at night, by the side of the enchanted lake – created from the tears of Odette's mother – do they return to human form. The spell can only be broken if one who has never loved before swears to love Odette forever. Rothbart suddenly appears [Scène. Allegro vivo]. Siegfried threatens to kill him but Odette intercedes – if Rothbart dies before the spell is broken, it can never be undone.

As Rothbart disappears, the swan maidens fill the clearing [Scène: Allegro, Moderato assai quasi andante]. Siegfried breaks his crossbow, and sets about winning Odette's trust as the two fall in love. But as dawn arrives, the evil spell draws Odette and her companions back to the lake and they are turned into swans again.

Act 3

An opulent hall in the palace

Guests arrive at the palace for a costume ball. Six princesses are presented to the prince [Entrance of the Guests and Waltz], as candidates for marriage. Rothbart arrives in disguise [Scène: Allegro, Allegro giusto] with his daughter, Odile, who is transformed to look like Odette. Though the princesses try to attract the prince with their dances [Pas de six], Siegfried has eyes only for Odile. [Scène: Allegro, Tempo di valse, Allegro vivo] Odette appears (usually at the castle window) and attempts to warn Siegfried, but he does not see her. He then proclaims to the court that he will marry "Odette" (Odile) before Rothbart shows him a magical vision of Odette. Grief-stricken and realizing his mistake, Siegfried hurries back to the lake.

Act 4

By the lakeside

Odette is distraught. The swan-maidens try to comfort her. Siegfried returns to the lake and makes a passionate apology. She forgives him, but his betrayal cannot be undone. Rather than remain a swan forever, Odette chooses to die. Siegfried chooses to die with her and they leap into the lake. This breaks Rothbart's spell over the swan maidens, causing him to lose his power over them and he dies. In an apotheosis, the swan maidens watch as Siegfried and Odette ascend into the Heavens together, forever united in love.

Venue Info

Vienna State Opera - Vienna
Location   Opernring 2

The Vienna State Opera is one of the leading opera houses in the world. Its past is steeped in tradition. Its present is alive with richly varied performances and events. Each season, the schedule features 350 performances of more than 60 different operas and ballets. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from the Vienna State Opera's orchestra. The building is also the home of the Vienna State Ballet, and it hosts the annual Vienna Opera Ball during the carnival season.

The 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival venue was the first major building on the Vienna Ring Road. It was built from 1861 to 1869 following plans by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, and designs by Josef Hlávka. The opera house was inaugurated as the "Vienna Court Opera" (Wiener Hofoper) in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It became known by its current name after the establishment of the First Austrian Republic in 1921. The Vienna State Opera is the successor of the Vienna Court Opera, the original construction site chosen and paid for by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1861.

The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrasse commissioned by the Viennese "city expansion fund". Work commenced on the house in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll. It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka.

Gustav Mahler was one of the many conductors who have worked in Vienna. During his tenure (1897–1907), Mahler cultivated a new generation of singers, such as Anna Bahr-Mildenburg and Selma Kurz, and recruited a stage designer who replaced the lavish historical stage decors with sparse stage scenery corresponding to modernistic, Jugendstil tastes. Mahler also introduced the practice of dimming the lighting in the theatre during performances, which was initially not appreciated by the audience. However, Mahler's reforms were maintained by his successors.

Herbert von Karajan introduced the practice of performing operas exclusively in their original language instead of being translated into German. He also strengthened the ensemble and regular principal singers and introduced the policy of predominantly engaging guest singers. He began a collaboration with La Scala in Milan, in which both productions and orchestrations were shared. This created an opening for the prominent members of the Viennese ensemble to appear in Milan, especially to perform works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss.

Ballet companies merge

At the beginning of the 2005–2006 season, the ballet companies of the Staatsoper and the Vienna Volksoper were merged under the direction of Gyula Harangozó.

From the 2010–2011 season a new company was formed called Wiener Staatsballet, Vienna State Ballet, under the direction of former Paris Opera Ballet principal dancer Manuel Legris. Legris eliminated Harangozós's policy of presenting nothing but traditional narrative ballets with guest artists in the leading roles, concentrated on establishing a strong in-house ensemble and restored evenings of mixed bill programs, featuring works of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, and many contemporary choreographers, as well as a reduced schedule of the classic ballets.

Opera ball

For many decades, the opera house has been the venue of the Vienna Opera Ball. It is an internationally renowned event, which takes place annually on the last Thursday in Fasching. Those in attendance often include visitors from around the world, especially prominent names in business and politics. The opera ball receives media coverage from a range of outlets.

Important Info
Type: Ballet
City: Vienna, Austria
Starts at: 19:00
Top of page