National Theatre premieres Swan Lake

The famous choreography by the legendary John Cranko will be used

The ballet company of the Czech National Theatre is premiering a new staging of Swan Lake, one of the world’s classics and a cornerstone of almost every repertoire. The premieres on March 28 and 29 are sold out, but tickets are available for later performances.

This version of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake has choreography by John Cranko. The National Theater promises “breath-taking spectacle, encompassing splendid melodies and dance, sheer classical elegance, virtuoso solo and corps performances, exquisite sets and costumes, a show replete with profound emotions.”

The Czech National Ballet is the very first large company to have been granted the approval to stage Cranko’s choreography beyond the Stuttgarter Ballett. This production, though, will feature a new set and costume design.

This new production is based on the version created by Cranko, the founder of the Stuttgarter Ballett, shortly before his premature death in 1973 at the age of 45. His aim was to render a romantic atmosphere combining both splendor and intimacy. He provided the dancers with the opportunity to develop the characters, while placing emphasis on acting and individual freedom of expression.

Czech audiences are not unfamiliar with Cranko. In the past seasons, the Czech National Ballet repertoire had two full-length ballets created by Cranko, inspired by famous literary works: The Taming of the Shrew, based on William Shakespeare’s comedy, and Onegin, based on A. S. Pushkin’s novel, to P. I. Tchaikovsky’s music.

The Czech premiere of his Swan Lake is a major ballet event not only for Prague, but across Europe.

Over its history, the National Theatre has presented 12 different versions of Swan Lake, and this new one is the 13th.

The National Theatre plays an important role in the history of Swan Lake. The first to choreograph the music in Russia was a Czech native, Václav Reisinger, the very first artistic director of the Czech National Ballet, and the second Czech choreographer, Augustin Berger, was honored when Tchaikovsky, who saw a performance in Prague, said that he had experienced “one minute of absolute happiness.”

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