Boston Ballet Premiers a New Swan Lake

Posted October 22, 2014 by Cheryl Fenton in Theater & Arts
Swan Lake Ashley Ellis

Who doesn’t love a good fairytale, especially when it’s full of sorcery, betrayal and eternal devotion? You’re in luck. This emotional hat trick comes to the Boston Opera House as the Boston Ballet unveils Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen’s new Swan Lake.

The Opera House comes alive for three weeks, starting on October 30, with P.I. Tschaikovsky’s familiar and timeless romantic score. But Swan Lake is no ordinary boy-meet-girl love story. Get ready to have your heart ripped out because this is three acts of pure frustration, but in a good way. The spirited Prince Siegfrield falls in love with Odette, a swan-turned-princess who carries a bit of baggage, namely a spell from the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart. Their relationship has a few set-backs including a betrayal by Rothbart’s beguiling daughter Odile, and so begins the tragedy and heartache.

As they say, nothing helps heartache better than a fresh perspective. From costumes to choreography, Swan Lake takes on its own new approach this season. Tschaikovsky’s first full length ballet, this classic has been part of the Boston Ballet’s season since its very first one in 1965. This year, theatergoers will enjoy an updated look and feel on this forever favorite.

In addition to the reimagined sets and costumes (thanks to award-winning designer Robert Perdziola, who also revamped the troupe’s The Nutcracker in 2012), Nissinen works his magic to create new choreography that more closely resembles what he believes is authentic to Swan Lake. He even added a prologue that helps “fill in the gaps” about the abduction of Odette and the beginning of Rothbart’s spell.

Boston Opera House Interior

Boston Opera House Interior

“Swan Lake is one of the greatest ballets of all time, set to a score that is celebrated throughout the world,” says Nissinen. “After a six-year hiatus, I am so excited to bring this exquisite classic back to Boston with a fresh look.”

The costumes and sets also have their own elegant change in place. Just when you thought they couldn’t be any more beautiful, they are. “It needed to say period but it also needed flare and heart. And the reason for that is that I feel it to be a fairy tale and it should resonate from a point of emotion,” adds Perdziola about the thoughts behind his new costumes and sets. He adds that “some recognizable German influences” in the new production’s designs might have been seen in the late Gothic and early Renaissance periods.

One of North America’s major ballet companies, the Boston Ballet holds its performances at Boston Opera House. If you’ve never been inside, this is a grand vaudeville movie palace fit for such a glorious performance as Swan Lake. Opening in 1928, it grabbed immediate attention from Boston’s who’s who, with the Boston Globe even reporting it to be “so magnificent that it kind of takes your breath away for awhile.” In 2004 it got a $54 million facelift that helped restore the beauty of its French and Italian styles – gold leaf finishes, Carrara marble, paintings, tapestries, grand staircases, chandeliers and silk wall panels.

It’s this beloved location and all the excitement surrounding the new production that earned Swan Lake an extension from the usual two weeks to three, running from October 30 to November 16. That gives you an extra week to get your tickets, before this beautiful bird flies the coop.

Tickets begin at $29. Show times are Thursday through Sunday at 7:30pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm.