Good to hear the internationally acclaimed St Petersburg Ballet founded in 1994, will tour Australia starting in Adelaide at the historic Her Majesty’s Theatre in December 2016, presenting their version of the glorious ballet Swan Lake.
The Adelaide season of the St Petersburg Ballet will be followed by performances in Melbourne, Sydney Christchurch Wellington and Auckland and preceded by a season in Singapore. Tickets go on sale from Friday 15 July, 2016.
The company has become renowned globally for its stunning, grand, full-length productions complete with breathtaking scenery and magnificent costumes as it travels regularly and extensively around the world.
First performing here in 1999, the St Petersburg Ballet has in its repertoire the many traditional ballets this grand art form was founded upon, including the glorious Giselle, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Les Sylphide, Paquita, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.
Today Swan Lake the ballet with its ‘spectacular and dramatic ballroom scene, sublime music and deeply moving story’ is the ballet all lovers of this art form ensure is high on their list to see. However no one really knows how far it is from the original.
It was 1871 when Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) first composed his ‘little’ ballet entitled ‘The Lake of the Swans’ to entertain his sister’s children.
Invited to craft a grand ballet for the public stage from a libretto written by Vladimir Petrovich Begichev and Vasily Fedorvich Geltser, Tchaikovsky composed the music for the ‘best loved ballet of all time’.
Rebelling against becoming a lawyer, Tchaikovsky had graduated from the St Petersburg Conservatory, and his repertoire reflects the style of his age as he drew on literary and dramatic sources for inspiration.
The music he composed to commemorate the celebration of the Russian victory over Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812 also still moves and inspires many hearts today.
It was a rich widow Nadezhda von Meck, who was a tireless listener and supporter of all his hopes and aspirations, which both enabled and emboldened Tchaikovsky to concentrate on composition.
Although interestingly they did not ever meet, she supported Tchaikovsky as his patron from 1877 onward.
His musical scores reflect that he was a master at minutiae of detail, important for composing music for the ballet. It was under the guidance of French choreographer Marius Petipa that he developed the full-length ballet scores for Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker.
Swan Lake had made its debut originally in Moscow in 1877 when fairy tales were very popular and swans and women admired for their elegance and beauty.
However on the grand stage it was not really a great success at first, until the prima ballerina involved Anna Sobeshchhanskaya invited the renowned choreographer Marius Petipa (1818-1910) to craft a new version.
Petipa was considered one of the outstanding dancers of his day, having received training with his brother Lucien (who danced with the Paris Opera ballet) from their father, a ballet master in Brussels.
In all he produced more than sixty ballets, with his Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Raymonda and Swan Lake still revived frequently.
He collaborated well with Tchaikovsky, whose music provides the magic so integral to this work, which offers white and black swan characters in classic tulle tutus as its centrepiece.
The ballet first performed in St Petersburg in 1895 has over the years had many changes that have been made over time, enabling it to become the most performed ballet in the world.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016
THE ST PETERSBURG BALLET
Presented by Andrew Guild & Simon Bryce