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February 20, 2022, 16:13

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A scene from the third act of P.I. Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” staged by the State Academic Bolshoi Theater of the USSR; Prince – Honored Artist of the Ukrainian SSR V.A. Preobrazhensky, Odile – artist M.M. Plisetskaya. Photo by A. Batanov. 1951

The ballet premiered in 1877.

145 years ago, the ballet “Swan Lake” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky was shown to the public for the first time on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater. The premiere took place on February 20 (old style), 1877.

The audience and critics greeted the production coldly: they were dissatisfied with the libretto, choreography, scenery and costumes. In subsequent years, while the performance was running at the Bolshoi, the audience came primarily for the sake of the music: Tchaikovsky’s works were striking in their innovation and symphony. For the first time in the history of ballet, musical accompaniment played not an auxiliary, but a leading role. IN Head Archive of Moscowpreserved information about the premiere.

Tchaikovsky’s inspiration

In 1875, the Directorate of the Moscow Imperial Theaters invited the eminent composer and professor of the Moscow Conservatory, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, to create the ballet Lake of the Swans. By that time, the audience was already familiar with the First Symphony for Piano and Orchestra, and the operas Voyevoda, Oprichnik, Cherevichki, romances No, only that one, Both it hurts and sweet, A tear trembles, “Why” and other works of the composer.

When he started to create the ballet “Swan Lake”, he was impressed by the work of the German composer Richard Wagner. The Russian composer met him in 1876 in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth.

At the same time, Tchaikovsky visited the romantic Neuschwanstein Castle, built in the foothills of the Alps by King Ludwig of Bavaria. Inspired by the legends about the noble Knight of the Swan, Pyotr Ilyich created the male image of the protagonist for the first time in Russian ballet. They became Prince Siegfried, who fought against witchcraft deception for his love for the swan fairy.

The triumph of the ballet

The composer never saw the success of his ballet. The second birth of “Swan Lake” happened 18 years later, when Tchaikovsky was no longer alive. In January 1895, the outstanding ballet masters of the Imperial Theaters Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov staged the ballet at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. Together with the composer’s younger brother Modest Tchaikovsky, they revised the libretto anew, and the composer Ricardo Drigo took up the score.

The ballet “Swan Lake” returned to the Bolshoi Theater in 1901 and was warmly received by the audience. Then it was successfully staged by the choreographer Alexander Gorsky, who improved the production of Ivanov and Petipa.

From that moment on, the ballet “Swan Lake” is the standard of musical romanticism and choreography filled with psychologism. The performance has become an adornment of the stage repertoire of the world’s leading theaters.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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