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285. SWAN LAKE



Music: By Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (excerpts from Swan Lake, Op. 20, 1875-76).

Choreography: By George Balanchine after Lev Ivanov.

Production: Scenery and costumes by Cecil Beaton. Scenery executed by Triangle Studios and Nolan Brothers; costumes executed by Karinska. Lighting by Jean Rosenthal.

Premiere: November 20, 1951, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama, New York. Conductor: Leon Barzin.

Cast: Odette, Queen of the Swans, Maria Tallchief; Prince Siegfried, André Eglevsky; Benno, the Prince's Friend, Frank Hobi; PAS DE TROIS: Patricia Wilde, 2 women; PAS DE NEUF: Yvonne Mounsey, 8 women; Von Rothbart, a Sorcerer, Edward Bigelow; Swans, 24 women; Hunters, 8 men.

Note: Balanchine's version of Swan Lake was based on Act II of the original four-act production, reproducing Ivanov's WHITE SWAN ADAGIO (the pas de deux), the Swan Queen's solo and coda entrance, and the DANCE OF THE FOUR CYGNETS (the pas de quatre); the entrance of the Swans derives from traditional versions. However, Balanchine removed all mime, greatly enlarged the role of the corps de ballet, and choreographed a new finale to music from Act IV. He subsequently made many more changes.

Revisions: New York City Ballet, changes from first years in repertory: 1956, traditional ending of pas de deux replaced by coda for corps de ballet (to Tchaikovsky's original score rather than the traditional Drigo interpolation); 1959, PAS DE TROIS omitted and new Prince's solo added to that music (Grand Waltz from Act II), replacing original Prince's solo to fourth variation of pas de six (Act III), traditional entrance of Swan Queen in coda rechoreographed; 1964, traditional Swan Queen solo replaced by new choreography (to Un Poco di Chopin, Op. 72, no. 15, 1893, orchestrated by Drigo) and subsequently changed several times, Prince's solo rechoreographed (to music from Act I pas de trois) and subsequently changed several times and often omitted, pas de quatre (DANCE OF THE FOUR CYGNETS) replaced by WALTZ BLUETTE for 12 Swans (to orchestrated version of Valse Bagatelle, Op. 72, no. 11 in E-flat), role of Benno omitted; 1980, traditional Swan Queen solo and entrance in coda restored.

New Productions by Balanchine Companies: 1964, New York City Ballet: New scenery, costumes, and lighting by Rouben Ter- Arutunian for the New York State Theater.

Video/DVD: 2003, VAI, The Art of Maria Tallchief (excerpts [1954]).

Archival Video: George Balanchine Foundation Interpreters Archive (White Swan pas de deux), 1998.

See also: 75   191   262   331   367  

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