The ballet audiences are perfectly familiar with this German ballet fairy tale to music by Tchaikovsky, about Prince Siegfried torn between his love for Odette turned into a swan and her fiery opposite Odile, who is thrown into his arms by a devious wizard. After many productions of the traditional version of Swan Lake in Warsaw, Krzysztof Pastor and librettist Paweł Chynowski decided to move the story to the reality of the tsarist court in the final years of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s life. Respecting the spirit of the Romantic original, they drew on a Polish theme, a true story that happened to the Russian heir to the throne, Nicholas. For years, the tsarevich was faithful to his youthful love for Princess Alix of Hesse, but Tsar Alexander III did not approve. Through his father, Nicholas met and fell in love with Polish ballerina Matylda Krzesińska (Mathilde Kschessinska). He was possessed by his passion, leading to a well-known social scandal at the court in St. Petersburg on the eve of Nicholas II’s ascension to the throne. Despite the changed libretto, the show retains the most precious ‘swan’ sequences from the academic choreography by Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa.
Pastor’s choreography retains the most precious traditional sequences, such as the lyrical white image with the swans or the virtuosopas de deux with the famous 32 foutté. Pastor’s Swan Lake has been developed with a dose of respect to tradition, while also contributing a non-standardised narrative.
45 minutes before each presentation, the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera will host artist talks featuring special guests. The meetings will be moderated by Maciej Krawiec. Admission to the artist talks is free upon presentation of tickets for the performance.
Ballet in three acts with prologue and epilogue
New libretto: Paweł Chynowski
Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Musical redaction: Paweł Chynowski and Alexei Baklan
Krzysztof Pastor: choreography
Lew Iwanow: traditional choreography
Simotta Lysy: assistant choreographer (traditional sequences)
Alexei Baklan: conductor (20, 21, 23, 24 May)
Piotr Staniszewski: conductor (25, 26, 27, 28 May)
Luisa Spinatelli: stage design and costumes
Steen Bjarke: lighting design
Paweł Chynowski: libretto
Polish National Ballet Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera