The Australian Ballet | Swan Lake: a pas de trois with no happily ever after

The Australian Ballet | Swan Lake: a pas de trois with no happily ever after

Graeme Murphy’s signature work returns to Melbourne

Adam Bull and Amber Scott in Swan Lake. Photography Liz Ham

Adam Bull and Amber Scott in Swan Lake. Photography Liz Ham

You’ve seen the traditional version, now be taken on another emotional journey with Graeme Murphy’s modern interpretation of Swan Lake.

The glinting ice-blue lake is back on the Arts Centre Melbourne stage this winter for an exclusive Melbourne season of eleven performances from 21 June 2013.

Created especially to mark the company’s 40th anniversary in 2002 and last performed in Melbourne in a sold-out 2008 season, this is a Swan Lake unlike any other. Thoroughly original in his approach, Murphy gives relevance to the mythical story of a prince and his white swan princess, while retaining its intrinsic magic.

Inspired by the notorious love triangle between Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, Murphy conjures a world of scandal, betrayal and heartbreak.

The instantly recognisable Tchaikovsky score takes on dark new overtones in Murphy’s hands. Helping him realise his unique vision is the sumptuous set and costume designs of Kristian Fredrikson, including an iconic white wedding dress with a sumptuous white train that becomes part of the choreography.

After its premiere, this ballet stormed the theatre and dance award ceremonies, taking home four Helpmann and four Green Room Awards. It also helped the company win the UK Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Company on their 2005 UK tour.

The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, believes Swan Lake is one of the company’s hallmark works.

“Murphy’s Swan Lake is one of our international calling cards, and it’s almost part of our dancers’ DNA. We’ve toured this production to London, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai and last year to New York, where we were met with standing ovations from packed houses,” said McAllister.

“Murphy’s works have universal appeal, due to his inimitable retelling of classic tales with a twist. There are many layers to this ballet, and I take something new from it with each viewing.”

The story

Following her wedding to Prince Siegfried, the young bride Odette realises her husband belongs to another, and breaks down. Hospitalised by the palace, Odette finds peace in a world of her own imagining, where she is protected by guardian swans.

Odette returns to reclaim her Prince, only to find him at a party given by his lover, the Baroness von Rothbart. Upon seeing Odette the Prince realises his love for her but, threatened by her reappearance, the Baroness demands Odette be returned to hospital. Odette flees for the refuge of the lake. Desperate to rescue his beloved, the Prince follows Odette to the lake, where he pleads with her to return to the safety of his arms. Odette realises she will never overcome her madness, and drowns herself in the deep waters of the lake. Bereft at the loss of his beautiful
princess, the Prince never loves again.

Experience this quintessential ballet through the eyes of one of Australia’s most acclaimed choreographers with a Swan Lake that would melt even the coldest of hearts.


SWAN LAKE (2002)
Graeme Murphy

Creative associate
Janet Vernon

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Set and costume design
Kristian Fredrikson

Graeme Murphy, Janet Vernon and Kristian Fredrikson

Lighting design
Damien Cooper


Melbourne (11 performances)

21 June – 1 July

Arts Centre Melbourne State Theatre with Orchestra Victoria

Bookings or 1300 369 741

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