The Australian Ballet | Swan Lake: good versus evil in the enchanted forest

December 7, 2012

Press Releases

The Australian Ballet | Swan Lake: good versus evil in the enchanted forest

The world’s favourite ballet to tour Brisbane and Adelaide in 2013

Amber Scott in Swan Lake. Photo by Jeff Busby

Amber Scott in Swan Lake. Photo by Jeff Busby

Following its 2012 world premiere, Stephen Baynes’ Swan Lake is gliding into Brisbane and Adelaide in 2013.

Swan Lake was the premier performance of The Australian Ballet. On 2 November 1962 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Sydney, a graceful flock took to the stage, heralding a new era in Australian dance. Fifty years later, a new traditional Swan Lake entered the company’s repertoire.

A flawed Prince, a beautiful woman under an otherworldly spell, an evil sorcerer and a seductive black swan are at the centre of this classical production. With a mythical storyline, a delicate corps of swans and doomed love at its heart, Swan Lake is an ageless ballet that has enchanted audiences for over a century.

The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, said this work was a defining one for the company.“Swan Lake is the     quintessential ballet and was our first-ever production in 1962. Now we have a brand new Swan Lake in our repertoire and cannot wait to share it with audiences in Brisbane and  Adelaide.

“Stephen Baynes has a lyrical touch and an unparalleled sense of musical phrasing that is both accessible and complex. His Swan Lake will stay with the audience long after the curtain falls,” said McAllister.

Swan Lake made its debut in Moscow in 1877 and is one of the world’s most performed ballets. This is the fourth interpretation to enter The Australian Ballet’s repertoire. In its various incarnations, SwanLake has been danced by the company 562 times, making it the most frequently performed ballet in the company’s history.

This is the 20th work that Baynes has created for The Australian Ballet, and his third full-length ballet. Baynes studied at The Australian Ballet School before joining the company in 1976. He first experimented with movement in 1986, creating Strauss Songs, a piece that won an Australian Ballet choreographic competition.

Celebrated costume and set designer Hugh Colman has created an airy, Edwardian-inspired setting for the ballet. His sea of silvery blue swan tutus showcases his love of classic design.

An integral piece of Swan Lake is Tchaikovsky’s score, one of classical ballet’s most recognisable pieces of music. Commissioned in 1875, it reportedly took the Russian composer a year to complete.

His gift for melody shaped some of history’s most iconic ballet scores, such as The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.

The story

Princess Odette, transformed into a swan by the evil von Rothbart, is able to regain her human form only at night. This cruel spell can only be broken by a vow of eternal love and fidelity. Lonely and disconsolate Prince  Siegfried encounters Odette by a lake and swears his love for her.

The following evening a ball is held to celebrate Prince Siegfried’s coming of age. Von Rothbart appears with the beguiling Odile. Captivated, Siegfried is seduced by Odile, thereby breaking his vow and condemning Odette and her fellow maidens to remain swans for eternity. Siegfried flees to the lake to beg forgiveness from Odette but it is too late. As she transforms into a swan for the last time the Prince, bereft at the loss of his beautiful swan princess, drowns himself in the lake.

Every ballet lover has a favourite Swan Lake memory; create a new one with The Australian Ballet’s magical new production.


Choreography     Stephen Baynes
Music Piotr     Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Costume and set design     Hugh Colman
Lighting design     Rachel Burke


Presented in association with QPAC
22 February – 2 March (8 performances)
Lyric Theatre, QPAC
with Queensland Symphony Orchestra

5 July – 11 July (7 performances)
Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Brisbane: or 136     246
Adelaide:  or 131     246

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