20 Nov Ballet on Ice: Swan Lake
The Imperial Ice Stars will be gracing your screens with their amazing rendition of Swan Lake on ice.
Prince Siegfried decides to go hunting for swans to get his mind off of his mother’s insistence that he marry someone out of obligation at the upcoming royal ball. Alone in the woods, he finds Odette who, whenever she’s away from the lakeside in the evenings, turns back into a swan thanks to a curse by the sorcerer Rothbart. This eternal curse can only be undone by one who has never loved before. Knowing this, Rothbart tricks Siegfried to declare his love for his daughter Odile at the royal ball, transformed by magic to look exactly like Odette. Doomed to never break the spell the distraught Prince and Odette take their own lives so that they may be together in the afterlife. This sacrifice breaks the curse of all the other swans Rothbart had collected and this great loss of power leads to his death.
Unlike other classics like “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Nutcracker”, the “Swan Lake” ballet wasn’t an obvious reworking of already published stories. Like with many classic tales, who wrote the first published story as we know it is lost to the ages. What we do know is that Vladimir Petrovich Begichev, director of the Moscow Imperial Theatres at the time, commissioned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to write the musical score for Swan Lake using the basic outlines from Julius Reisinger, the original choreographer.
Swan Lake is such a classic tale that one would be forgiven for believing that it was a hit at the time, but the contemporary critics considered it a failure. The general public, however, loved it so much that the Bolshoi Theatre, where the show premiered, continued performing the show for 7 years, amassing over 30 performances until the production had to be pulled because the costumes were falling apart at the seams, quite literally. Tchaikovsky’s music was so good that despite the less-than-stellar choreography the show lived on. Years later, in 1895, the ballet was revived by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and Riccardo Drigo, which most ballet companies continue to base their staging on.
For its transition to the ice Tony Mercer, leading ice director, decided to rework the performance to be more contemporary. “Inspired by my research into Tchaikovsky’s original score and intentions for the story, I wanted to create a more realistic interpretation of this much-loved tale and transpose it onto the ice, creating a new art form in the process – ice dance in a full theatrical setting. I always felt it was a natural fit, to have swans gliding on ice.”
Catch 23 Olympic, World, European and National Championship level skaters deliver this breath-taking performance of Swan Lake this Thursday at 8 p.m. on Stingray Classica, channel 332 on StarSat.
Thursday at 20:00 on Stingray Classica (ch 332 on the 21st of November)