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Overall rating:


Reference number: 11281

Date: 1977, May 14

Sound: sound

Original format: U-Matic

Colour: bw

Fiction: fiction

Running time: 140.46 mins

Description: A performance of Swan Lake by Scottish Ballet, recorded at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow in 1977. This production of Swan Lake was choreographed by Peter Darrell. In this production Siegfried is seen as an opium-smoking Prince who searches after an impossible love and is tragically deceived.

See also refs. 11269, 11279 and 11280

Of this production, Darrell has said 'In conceiving this production of Swan Lake, I went back to the original Tchaikovsky score used at the first performance in Moscow on 20th February 1877 and adopted the original order of the music with two transpositions and some major cuts. I then attempted to retain the essence of the original plot – deception, true love against profane – but setting it in the mid-19th century where young ideals are opposed to the moral structures of the time’ (Scottish Theatre Archive, call number STA SB Box 7/1, p.5)

'His concern, as always, was to show that classical ballet wasn’t some archaic form best kept shrouded in cobwebs of nostalgia. And so his Prince Siegfried encountered his Swan Princess, the pure and lovely Odette, in an opium-induced dream [… ] this Siegfried was – despite the period costume, the courtly protocols and set-piece divertissements – caught up in a situation that those watching could recognise. Lonely, bored, at odds with the world around him, Siegfried was vulnerable to whatever Benno, his best friend – a ‘Dark Angel’ substitute for the customary evil magician, Rothbart – suggested. Benno, however, not only provides the opium, he provides the girl, Odile, who in Act I so beguiles the susceptible Siegfried that, in his mind-altered state, he transforms her into the ideal of Odette. By moving the famous ‘Black Swan’ pas de deux from Act III to Act I, Darrell enabled Tchaikovsky’s music to revert to its original 1877 sequence: probably the most genuine tribute paid to Swan Lake in what was its centenary year.
The production stayed in the Scottish Ballet repertoire for several years and proved a showcase for many of the company’s leading ballerinas who took on the double role of Odette/Odile. [Scottish Ballet: Forty Years, p.71]

Swan Lake was recorded in Benesh Movement Notation by Julie Haydn

Please note this is a copy of the raw capture of the original analogue video for preservation and as such may display defects such as dropout, washed out colour and sound fluctuation.

Credits: [Music: Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, Peter Darrell
Design: Peter Cazalet
Lighting: John B Read
Production: Peter Darrell
Original choreography reproduced by: Sheila Humphries
Scenery: Harkers Studios Ltd., Ray Addison Ltd, Ken Creasy Lts., J D McDougall Ltd
Costumes: Arthur Davey Ltd., David Healy, Rosalind Kemp, Jean Lampress Ltd, Bonn and MacKenzie, Marjorie Rogers
Hats, head dresses and jewellery, Ann Gainsford, Jean Gates, Patricia Pope
Dying: Audrie Gie
Moustaches and Beards: A & A Wigs
Shoes: Anello & Davide, Frederick Freed, Gamba]

Shotlist: Act One: 00.39-45.45
Prince Siegfried’s Apartment in the Palace
Prince Siegfried is celebrating on the eve of his birthday with his friends and close companion Benno Von Sommerstern. The Queen Mother interrupts the revelry by arriving with for foreign Ambassadors, each bearing a portrait of a Princess from their land. The Queen Mother insists that Siegfried chooses one of these Princesses as his future wife. Siegfried is plunged into despair at the prospect of marrying someone he does not love. Odile arrives, a courtesan whom Benno wishes to intrudce to Siegfried, hoping to gain further favour with him. Siegfried is immediately infatuated with Odile and sees in her someone who could perhaps be his future bride.
Later, left alone with Benno, he seeks solace in opium to ease his uncertainty.

Act Two: 02.30-32.40
A Vision of a Lakeside
Prince Siegfried imagines that his is beside a lake and a vision of Odile appears to him in the form of a swan maiden, Odette. He sees in her everything that is innocent and pure and before the vision fades swears his undying love.

Act Three: 01.21-37.51
The Ballroom of the Palace
A Ball is in progress during which Prince Siegfried is to choose one of the four Princesses as his future bride. He rejects them all and Benno arrives with Odile. The Prince thinks he sees in her the same virtues he found in Odette and asks her to be his bride. The Queen Mother refuses to give permission to the marriage and Odile, realising that she will never be accepted at Court, leaves him. Finding that she is not the innocent creature of his imagination, Siegfried rushes from the Ballroom.

Act Four: 40.38-57.49
A Vision of a Lakeside
Siegfried, alone in his room, again takes solace in opium. Odette appears to him but in his mind he sees her distressed and now completely unobtainable. As the vision fades, Siegfried finds himself with Benno, and realises that it is this friend who is the cause of his misery and orders from the room. Alone he decides to end his life, and in his dying moment sees himself reunited with his beloved Odette.

Curtain call: 58.08

[Synopsis from Scottish Theatre Archive STA SB 7/1]