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‘Swan Lake’ by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Famous Ballet Synopsis

By Ema White on Jan 19, 2013 07:16 PM EST

 Act 1
Prince Siegfried celebrates his birthday and his friend Benno leads everyone in celebration. Prince Siegfried receives a crossbow as a gift from his mother The Queen. The Mother Queen reminds Prince Siegfried that since he’s to become a king, he must choose his bride at the evening’s ball. Siegfried realizing that his carefree youth is over he leaves the celebration and seeks a solitary place in the woods.

Act 2
At night Prince Siegfried meets a mysterious young woman Odette. Odette explains her sad fate. Odette is a princess turned to a swan by day, she was cursed by an evil sorcerer Von Rothbart. Prince Siegfried promises to save her. Von Rothbart bursts in and Siegfried draws his bow. Odette shields the body of Von Rothbart knowing that if he dies before her spell is broken her destiny as a swan would be sealed forever. Von Rothbart leaves and Odette withdraws, while the Prince ponders.

Act 3
The evening when the Prince Siegfried is supposed to choose his wife comes. Royal princesses from foreigner lands arrive to the ball all eager to captivate Siegfried and become prince’s bride, but prince thoughts are all about mysterious Odette. Von Rothbart arrives to the ball together with his daughter Odile who is presented as a black swan appearing identical to Odette. The prince is fascinated and together they exit while Von Rothbart dances with foreign princesses holding the court in a thrall. Odile beguiles Prince Siegfried to marry her and when they both return to the ball, Siegfried announces that he will marry her. Von Rothbart demands Prince Siegfried to swear it and when he does, Prince Siegfried finally realizes he was deceived by a plot. Siegfried rushes to the lakeside to his beloved Odette.

Act 4
When Siegfried arrives to the lakeside a great storm raises. Prince Siegfried asks Odette for forgiveness. Odette tells Siegfried that she has no choice but to kill herself because of the spell that she’s in. Odette and Prince Siegfried throw themselves into the raging lake. As Von Rothbart appears, his power is destroyed as he witnesses the lover’s triumph as their spirits rise to heaven united in life after death.

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