FR 05.05.2017, 7.30 PM

Swan Lake

Choreography by Patrice Bart
Music by Peter I. Tschaikovsky

Ab 6 Jahren

The white swans, the fragile queen Odette, who enchants the sad prince with her ethereal charm, or the festive ball scenes, in which the whole court falls for the seductive Odile – all this belongs to the myth of “Swan Lake”. And all of this, of course, is closely tied to the unique score created by Peter I. Tschaikowsy, which has always been key to the one-of-kind atmosphere of “Swan Lake”.

With the means of classical ballet, “Swan Lake” tells the story of prince Siegfried and the enchanted princess Odette, who was turned into a swan by a bad spell. In this production by Patrice Bart, the famous swan scenes with their archaic effects are still present. However, the dramaturgical functions of some of the characters were carefully modified. The mother of prince Siegfried, who adores her son endlessly, holds the keys to his fate. A psychological interpretation was also added to the characters of the jealous Benno and of the influential Rotbart. All this was done with great success: the production has been part of the repertory since 1997.


Prince Siegfried grows up under the safe guidance of his mother, the young, widowed Queen.On the palace terrace, Prince Siegfried´s 21st anniversary is being celebrated. Now he is of age, he wants to break free of his mother's authority. The prince's best friend, Benno von Sommerstein, whose feelings for the prince go beyond the customary confidence of close friends, is also excitedly looking forward to this time.

In the middle of the festivities, Siegfried's mother appears, accompanied by her prime minister, von Rotbart. She presents Siegfried with a rifle and a medal to celebrate his coming of age.After the Queen has closed the celebrations, Benno von Sommerstein, full of enthusiasm, announces a hunt. In a melancholy mood, Prince Siegfried remains on the terrace. The celebration has shown him once again that he is not in charge of his own life. Benno von Sommerstein brings the prince his gun, which he appears to have forgotten.

However, Prince Siegfried wants to be alone and tells Benno to go hunting without him. Benno departs but the prince is not unobserved.Siegfried meets the swan princess, Odette, who tells him of the evil spell which keeps her imprisoned in the shape of a swan. To the prince, she is the embodiment of another world, paradise itself. He feels that she is the only person who can release him from his close relationship to his mother. He swears to love Odette forever and this will set her free of the spell. At last he can assume responsibility himself.Benno von Sommerstein witnesses this meeting.


In his jealousy, Benno informs the queen of the events at the lakeside. Deeply disturbed, and feeling she will lose her son, the queen thinks up a quick and effective scheme to separate Siegfried from Odette. She confides her plan to the prime minister; she devises an intrigue and sends out invitations to a ball. In addition to the princesses from neighbouring countries who are possible brides for her son, Odile, the prime minister's daughter, is also on the guest list.In the empty ballroom, just before the ball is about to begin, the queen is contemplating a portrait of her son and considering what she is about to inflict on him.

In the ballroom, court ceremony runs its course and the queen opens the ball with the prime minister in a dance which is intended to arouse the prince's jealousy. After the dance the princesses are presented to the prince. In spite of all all their attempts to charm him he remains unimpressed until Odile is presented. The prince thinks he recognizes the swan princess, Odette, in her. The queen and von Rotbart force him to swear eternal love to this illusion. Then the image of the white swan appears and the prince recognizes his tragic error in promising to love the black swan. Deeply humiliated, Siegfried follows his true love, Odette, to the lake.

By the Lake, the swans are awaiting the return of their companion, Odette. She tells them what has happened. The evil spell was not broken. Prince Siegfried arrives at the lake and beg's Odette's forgiveness. Prime Minister von Rotbart also arrives at the lake. Siegfried realizes that it is the prime minister who is keeping Odette under an evil spell. It is he who, under the pretence of assisting the queen, is really only serving his own purpose. There is a struggle and Siegfried kills the prime minister.Now that he has become a murderer and lost his love, the prince realizes the hopelessness of his situation and how his life is determined by outside forces. It seems to him that the only possible solution is to seek death in the lake. The queen remains alone.

Learn more: There is a free introduction in German for the audience at the performance venue 45 minutes before each performance, except opening nights, guest performances, and special events. It is prepared and moderated by students of the Free University Berlin as part of the Ballet University program.

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