The Australian Ballet

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Swan Lake


Cast and Synopsis

Total running time – 2 hours and 45 minutes
Interval 1 – 20 minutes
Interval 2 – 20 minutes



The Lake

Deep in a forest lies a mysterious lake, where imprisoned maidens are cruelly transfigured into swans by the malevolent von Rothbart. Only the pure proclamation of true love holds the power to shatter their haunting curse.

Act I

The Palace Gardens

All gather on Prince Siegfried's name day. The Queen Mother extends her invitations to ambassadors from three neighbouring realms, each with intentions of arranging marriage between their princess and her son.

The impending arranged union casts a heavy shadow upon Siegfried's heart, prompting a yearning for solace and a life beyond his birth right. He is given a crossbow as a gift and discreetly slips away into the depths of the forest.

Act II

The Lake

Prince Siegfried finds himself drawn to a lake he has never encountered. To his astonishment he witnesses Odette, the ethereal Queen of the Swans, who undergoes a wondrous transformation.

Siegfried is spellbound by her breath-taking beauty and convinced that she embodies the ideal he has long sought. Yet, his connection with Odette is marred by a sinister warning from von Rothbart, cautioning to him that his love is forbidden.


The Palace Ballroom

An opulent ball unfolds, where princesses from Hungary, Spain and Italy are presented to Siegfried as prospective brides. Siegfried only remembers Odette.

In a sudden and dramatic turn, von Rothbart arrives, accompanied by his beguiling daughter, Odile, whom he has cunningly transformed to mirror Odette's likeness.

Under her spell, Siegfried publicly declares his love for Odile. All is lost after seeing Odette's desperate plea at the window. Siegfried realises his error and swiftly flees the castle in a quest to reunite with his true love, Odette.

Act IV

The Lake

Odette returns to the lake, where the swans mourn her fate. Siegfried discovers her, fervently renewing his unwavering love.

Yet, the cruel hand of fate has already cast its shadow, and as von Rothbart threatens Siegfried, Odette, in a final act of sacrifice, makes an irrevocable promise to von Rothbart, vowing eternal obedience.

Overwhelmed by grief and loss, Siegfried throws himself from a cliff, taking his own life.

Cast sheets

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