A powerful retelling of one of the world’s most adored ballets will make its debut this September as The Australian Ballet reveals its much-anticipated new production of Swan Lake.
The cornerstone of The Australian Ballet’s 60th Anniversary season, Swan Lake will debut at Arts Centre Melbourne on 19 September (running until 30 September), before heading to the Adelaide Festival Centre (7 – 14 October), Queensland Performing Arts Centre (24 – 28 October) and Sydney Opera House (1 – 20 December).
Swan Lake is reimagined by Artistic Director David Hallberg and is inspired by the iconic 1977 Anne Woolliams’ production.
David Hallberg has worked with choreographer Lucas Jervies to weave his own interpretation of Woolliams’ dramatically powerful work, creating a new production that will simultaneously pay homage to ballet history and firmly plant The Australian Ballet in the present moment, for today’s audiences.
“Our 60th year is the perfect moment to create a new classical version of Swan Lake. One that will stand proud as a fresh representation of The Australian Ballet, further elevating our artistic excellence,” said Hallberg.
“With a timeless ballet comes the need for a fresh perspective, and a modern focus on costume and set design will prove that Swan Lake is still the most beautiful of ballet ever created.”
Since its first performance on 2 November 1962, Swan Lake has been performed 659 times, playing an important role in the company’s 60-year history. This production reflects the company’s passion, dedication and commitment to classical ballet.
Swan Lake tells the story of Prince Siegfried’s yearning for meaning which he finds in his ideal love for Odette, a mysterious princess who has been trapped in the form of a swan by the sorcerer von Rothbart.
Audiences across the country will enjoy all their favourite moments from this masterpiece, including the Act II pas de deux between Siegfried and Odette, the Black Swan pas de deux, and the dance of the four cygnets.
Swan Lake is considered one of the most technically difficult productions for a ballet dancer and a highlight of any dancer’s career.
This new production of Swan Lake has been brought to life by a team of celebrated set, lighting and costume designers who have breathed new life into the ballet bringing it confidently into the 21st century while respecting its timelessness and history.
With the original sets and costumes lost to history, The Australian Ballet has been joined by creative partners Daniel Ostling and Mara Blumenfeld as the design team and lighting designer T.J. Gerckens.
More than 250 costumes have been constructed for the production, and over 500 metres of tulle used to craft the tutus. Von Rothbart’s menacing black cape has been hand-crafted with hundreds of feathers by the dedicated costume department.
“This is the Swan Lake that audiences have loved for generations. A timeless ballet that will carry the torch once again to remind us why this is still the most beloved ballet in history,” said Hallberg.
“Following in Anne’s path, I am excited to bring this reimagined Swan Lake to The Australian Ballet and I am confident that it will continue to thrive in the repertoire for many years to come, set anew for a fresh generation of ballet lovers,” Hallberg said.
Swan Lake’s powerful themes of solitude, idealism, betrayal and forgiveness, accompanied by an instantly recognisable musical score, continues to enthral audiences from their earliest years and throughout their lifetimes.
The Australian Ballet’s Musical Director Jonathan Lo will lead Orchestra Victoria, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Opera Australia Orchestra to perform Tchaikovsky’s haunting and dramatic score.
“To conduct Swan Lake is to conduct a symphony that lasts a whole evening,” said Lo. “The symphonic logic across the entire score propels the drama with the famous melodies, kaleidoscopic range of orchestral colours and soul-stirring harmonies.”
“This is music that moves, inspires and excites no matter how many times you do it. To conduct this masterpiece in this iconic ballet with our incredible artists – this is going to be an artistic journey that transcends and elevates our collective human experience.”
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 19 – 30 September 2023
Following the Melbourne season, Swan Lake will be presented at the Adelaide Festival Centre (7 – 14 October), Queensland Performing Arts Centre (24 – 28 October) and Sydney Opera House (1 – 20 December). For more information, visit: www.australianballet.com.au for details.
Image: Robyn Hendricks – photo by Simon Eeles