A palace by a lake
Prince Siegfried is a young man who lives with his mother. It is the night before his 21st birthday, and he misses his father who died when he was a young boy.
The next day
The Prince’s friends try to cheer him up and distract him from his worries. His mother, the Queen arrives with The Chancellor. The Chancellor has ruled the kingdom since the King died. Visiting foreign princesses are presented to the Prince, but he is not interested! Prince Siegfried dances and drinks with his friends.
At the end of the party, he goes back to the lake on his own.
Siegfried sees a white swan, who transforms into the beautiful Princess Odette before his eyes!
Odette and her swan friends are prisoners of the evil magician von Rothbart. They are kept as swans all day, only allowed to be human for a few hours every night. Only a vow of true love can break the spell. Siegfried promises Odette he will love her forever.
Odette loves Siegfried too, though she is still frightened of von Rothbart’s evil powers.
A great ball is taking place at the palace, and Prince Siegfried is meant to choose a girl to be his future wife and Princess. No one knows that he is in love with Odette. Von Rothbart interrupts the party; he has brought his daughter Odile with him. She looks like Odette, and Prince Siegfried is tricked! Prince Siegfried is very upset and runs away from the palace.
The women at the lake will now stay swans forever. They gather round Odette to protect their friend.
The Prince begs Odette to forgive him and she does, but he is still in despair and throws himself into the lake.
Odette’s soul is released by Prince Siegfried’s love for her, and she is free of von Rothbart forever.