Scenario after Vladimir Begitchev and Vasily Geltser
Choreography by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, Alexander Gorsky, Asaf Messerer revised by Mikhail Messerer
Musical director and Conductor: Dmitri Jurowski
Staging: Mikhail Messerer
Set and Costume designer: Simon Virsaladze
Designer of the revival: Vyacheslav Okunev
Lighting designer of the revival: Damir Ismagilov
Video production: Show Consulting Studio
Chief video designer with Show Consulting Studio: Sergei Nikolaev
Lighting designer for the NOVAT staging: Alexander Kibitkin
Conductor: Alexey Bogorad
Assistant ballet master: Evgeny Popov
Character dance consultant: Alla Boguslavskaya
Designer (maquette): Boris Kaminsky
Répétiteurs: Anastasia Lifentseva, Galina Sedova, Victoria Ryazhenova, Nina Furaleva, Maksim Grishenkov, Vladimir Grigoriev, Evgeny Graschenko
A rendition of Tchaikovsky’s ageless masterpiece “Swan Lake” is being prepared by Mikhail Messerer – who is internationally renowned for reviving XX century ballets. The ballet master is restoring the Bolshoi Theatre’s famous 1956 production, that has become a showpiece of the Soviet choreographic school.
Mikhail Messerer on his work, which was rapturously appreciated by Russian critics and given highest marks in the western media: “I approached the revival with care, for I admire the 1956 version of "Swan Lake"; however I hope that my participation infused our production with a modern feel".
A garden in front of the Sovereign Princess’ castle. The young folk are frolicking on the lawn. The young ladies and their partners are entertained by the Jester’s silly dancing. The Princess informs her son Siegfried that tomorrow during the ball he will have to choose his future wife from the beauties invited to the big day. Her words do not touch his heart: there is no girl whom he loves, and he is not willing to give up his uninhibited lifestyle. It begins to grow dark. The young folk are heading back to their homes. Siegfried is feeling blue: he is dreaming of a girl he could fall in love with. Where might he find her? His friends’ chatters don’t amuse him anymore. A flock of swans draws his attention. He sets off after them.
A moonlit night. The swans lead Siegfried to the shore of a dark lake. Upon going ashore, the swans transform into maidens and they start a round dance. Siegfried is attracted to a beautiful white swan – Odette, queen of the swans. Along with her friends, she was put under a spell: the Evil Genius turned them into swans, and only at night can they take on human form. The incantation can only be broken by the selfless love of a young man, who has never before proclaimed his love to anyone. Entranced by her beauty, Siegfried falls in love with the queen of the swans. He swears his fidelity and eternal love to her. The Evil Genius has overheard Odette and Siegfried talking. Dawn. The maidens are about to turn back into swans. Odette bids her beloved a farewell. Siegfried is sure about his love for her – he will set Odette free from the Evil Genius’ spell.
A ball at the sovereign princess’ castle. Today Siegfried is choosing his future wife. All the guests are here, but Siegfried is nowhere to be seen. The Jester starts his jolly dancing, and the guests follow him. Finally, Siegfried arrives. His heart is not moved by the gorgeous brides – his thoughts are with the enchanted maiden. A stranger appears. It is the Evil Genius in disguise. He has brought his daughter Odile to the ball, and she looks identical to Odette. The Evil Genius orders her to charm Siegfried and make him swear his love to her. The Prince does not recognize the Evil Genius and takes Odile for Odette. He announces his wish to marry her. The Evil Genius triumphs. The vow is broken, now Odette and her friends must die. The sorcerer points to Odette, who can be seen in the background, and with wicked laughter he and Odile disappear. Siegfried realizes he was deceived. Frustrated, he hurries back to the Swan Lake.
An ominous night at the lake. A despondent Odette reveals the tragic news about the broken vow. The swan maidens grieve: their hope of freedom is lost. Siegfried appears. He hasn’t broken his promise: it was his Odette, not Odile, who he saw at the castle. It was to her that he swore his undying love.
Lightning flashes the outraged Evil Genius summons a storm against the lovers, But nothing can overcome the pure love of inseparable Siegfried and Odette. The Evil Genius decides to fight Siegfried himself and dies in the clash. His spells are destroyed. Odette and Siegfried, surrounded by Odette’s friends, watch the sun rise.