Act I

The young Prince is suffocating in the atmosphere of the Royal Court. He hates the palace, he cannot stand the rigors of etiquette, the courtiers' hypocrisy and base flattery.

Act II

When Prince Siegfried was hunting on the lake shore, he met girl-swans among whom was Odette. Siegfried and Odette fell in love with each other. Siegfried swears he will be faithful to her all his life and will save her and her friends from the wicked magician's evil spell.


Siegfried's mother throws a ball in her castle at which the prince will have to choose a bride. But he is in love with Odette and refuses to make a choice. At that time the wicked magician disguised as Knight Rothbart appears in the castle. With him is his daughter Odile who looks exactly like Odette. Deceived by this likeness Siegfried chooses Odile as his bride. The magician is triumphant.

Act IV

When the prince realizes the mistake he made he hurries to the shore of the lake. He pleads Odette to forgive him, but Odette leaves him. The oath of faithfulness has been violated by Siegfried and Odette cannot get rid of the magician's spell.

The wicked sorcerer decides to kill Siegfried. A terrible storm starts and the lake floods the shore. Odette sees that the prince is threatened by death. She rushes to save him even at the risk of her own life.

Odette and Siegfried triumph, the wicked magician dies, the storm abates. And the white swan becomes the girl Odette.

photos: Kiyonori Hasegawa

What is Vladimir Burmeister's Version of Swan Lake?

Vladimir Burmeister was a soviet dancer, choreographer and ballet master. He is best remembered for his 1953 production of Swan Lake which restored Tchaikovsky's music to its original order. One of the major revisions was that he reinterpreted all the national dances in Act III as part of the evil Rothbart's spell, which greatly heightened the dramatic impact of the scene.

In 1960, the Paris Opera presented this version for its premiere of Swan Lake. It is also an important part of the repertoire of La Scala Theatre Ballet in Milan.