Vienna State Opera – Swan Lake

Date: 17/05 - 12/06/2017

Over the next sixty-nine years, there were many revisions to the work including, during the Soviet era, the authorities’ insistence that Swan Lake have a happy ending. Then came Rudolf Nureyev.

The iconic dancer and choreographer first created his Swan Lake for the Wiener Staatsopernballett. At its premiere on 15 October 1964, such was the reaction to his performance that he and his dance partner, Margot Fonteyn, were called back to the stage eighty-nine times to wild applause from the audience.

Nureyev had stamped his mark on the ballet by elevating Siegfried’s role to the equal of Odette’s but as was typical of Nureyev, he hadn’t finished there. Some twenty years later, as director of the Paris Opéra Ballet, he created an entirely new scenario for Swan Lake. Premiered at the Palais Garnier on 20 December 1984, everything that happens is cast as a dream, a reflection of the prince’s anxieties as he moves from adolescence to adulthood, changing Swan Lake from a period piece into a fascinating exploration into the realm of the subconscious mind.

Now Nureyev’s Swan Lake returns to the Wiener Staatsoper, the scene of his very first triumph in the country that would become his adoptive home.

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