GNO Ballet Sponsor
The great success of the Greek National Opera's Ballet, after the sold-out run of the previous season, returns for six more performances at Christmas time. Konstantinos Rigos, in his first choreography after assuming the directorship of the GNO Ballet, created a new reading of Swan Lake, in which excerpts from Petipa / Ivanov's classical choreography engage in a dialogue with his own new choreography which is based on a neoclassical concept.
Rigos transferred the work to the landscape of a dried lake with clear signs of environmental destruction, proposing a metaclassical reading. George Segredakis' impressive costumes and Christos Tziogkas' emotive lighting contribute to the creation of an otherworldly ambience.
Konstantinos Rigos notes: «In Swan Lake I present a version which flirts with the enchantment of classical dance in a modern and neoclassicaly interesting way [...] Heroes preserve the characteristics of the classical version, but their roles are presented as projections of the prince himself. I see the roles of the white and black swan as the two sides of one and the same person. The innocence and the need for self-destruction hidden in every man. Human existence is attracted by both the good and the evil. I think this is an ingenious feature of this work and one of the elements I want to bring out. Namely, how the two aspects of the human existence, the good and the evil, are presented».
ACT I A magnificent park outside the palace. Prince Siegfried is celebrating his birthday with his tutor, friends and peasants.The revelries are interrupted by Siegfried's mother, the Queen, who is concerned about her son's carefree lifestyle. She tells him that he must choose a bride at the royal ball the following evening. Siegfried is upset that he cannot marry for love. His friend Benno and the tutor try to lift his troubled mood. As evening falls, Benno sees a flock of swans flying overhead and suggests they go on a hunt. Siegfried and his friends take their crossbows and set off in pursuit of the swans.
ACT II That night at the lake Siegfried is transfixed by the appearance of a swan, which changes before his eyes into the princess Odette. She and her maidens are prisoners of the sorcerer Rothbart, and condemned to be swans for all but a few hours of each night. Only a vow of true love and fidelity can break the spell. Rothbart suddenly appears. Siegfried threatens to kill him but Odette intercedes - if Rothbart dies before the spell is broken, it can never be undone. As Rothbart disappears, the swan maidens fill the clearing. Siegfried breaks his crossbow, and sets about winning Odette's trust as the two fall in love. But as dawn arrives, the evil spell draws Odette and her companions back to the lake and they are turned into swans again.
ACT III The next night in the palace ballroom. A great ball is in progress, and this evening the distracted prince is expected to choose a future consort to reign with him. None are aware of his secret love for Odette. The festivities are interrupted by the arrival of Rothbart and his retinue, which includes his daughter Odile. Strangely resembling Odette, the seductive beauty captivates Siegfried. Odette appears and attempts to warn Siegfried, but he does not see her. He then proclaims to the court that he will marry Odile, believing her to be Odette, before Rothbart shows him a magical vision of Odette. Grief-stricken and realizing his mistake, Siegfried hurries back to the lake.
ACT IV That night at the lake Odette is distraught. The swan-maidens try to comfort her. Siegfried returns to the lake and makes a passionate apology. She forgives him, but his betrayal cannot be undone. Rather than remain a swan forever, Odette chooses to die. Siegfried chooses to die with her and they leap into the lake. This breaks Rothbart's spell over the swan maidens, causing him to lose his power over them and he dies. The lake rises from the storm and drowns Odette and Siegfried. The storm quiets, and a group of swans appears on the lake.