Monday, December 17, 2007

Swan Lake - the story

Synopsis: from Wikipedia

Act 1
Swan Lake begins at a royal court. Prince Siegfried, heir to the kingdom, must declare a wife at his birthday ball. Upset that he cannot marry for love, Siegfried escapes into the forest at night. As he sees a flock of swans flying overhead, he sets off in pursuit

Act 2
Sigfried aims his crossbow and readies himself for their landing by the lakeside. When one comes into view, however, he stops; before him is a beautiful creature dressed in white feathers, more woman than swan. Enamoured, the two dance and Siegfried learns that the swan maiden is the princess Odette. An evil sorcerer, Von Rothbart, captured her and used his magic to turn Odette into a swan by day and woman by night.

A retinue of other captured swan-maidens attend Odette in the environs of Swan Lake, which was formed by the tears of her parents when she was kidnapped by Von Rothbart. Once Siegfried knows her story, he takes great pity on her and falls in love. As he begins to swear his love to her - an act that will render the sorcerer's spell powerless - Von Rothbart appears. Siegfried threatens to kill him but Odette intercedes; if Von Rothbart dies before the spell is broken, it can never be undone.

Act 3
The Prince returns to the castle to attend the ball. Von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his own daughter Odile, making her seem identical to Odette in all respects except that she wears black while Odette wears white. The prince mistakes her for Odette, dances with her, and proclaims to the court that he intends to make her his wife. Only a moment too late, Siegfried sees the real Odette and realizes his mistake. The method in which Odette appears varies: in some versions she arrives at the castle, while in other versions Von Rothbart shows Siegfried a magical vision of her.

Act 4
In the fourth act, versions of the ballet diverge. In the original version, Odette and Siegfried, realizing that the spell can never be broken, drown themselves by leaping into the lake. This causes Von Rothbart to lose his power over them, and he dies as a result. But many different endings exist, ranging from romantic to tragic.

In a version danced by the Mariinsky Ballet in 2006, the true love between Siegfried and Odette defeats Von Rothbart, who dies after the prince breaks one of his wings. Odette is restored to human form to unite happily with the prince. This version has often been used by Russian and Chinese ballet companies.

In a version which has an ending very close to the original danced by American Ballet Theatre in 2005, Siegfried's mistaken pledge of fidelity to Odile consigns Odette to eternal swanhood.

Realizing that her last moment of humanity is at hand, Odette commits suicide by throwing herself into the lake. The Prince does so as well. This act of sacrifice and love breaks Von Rothbart's power, and he is destroyed. In the final tableau, the lovers are seen rising together to heaven in apotheosis.

In a version danced by New York City Ballet in 2006 (with choreography by Peter Martins after Lev Ivanov, Marius Petipa, and George Balanchine), the Prince's declaration that he wishes to marry Odile constitutes a betrayal that condemns Odette to remain a swan forever. Odette is called away into swan form, and Siegfried is left alone in grief as the curtain falls.


Anonymous said...

My two cents.

You can search for "swan lake" clips from various video-sharing sites. Since you now know the story from Wikipedia, basically there is nothing more to see - you know the story, beginning and ending. unless of course you want to get so close to smell their body odour or see their makeup.

If you pay for the miserable $16 tickets, you are giving up 4-5 lunches and still sitting too far to see those tiny specks of white clearly.

If you pay for the princely sum of $88, it is expensive considering that it is only for one show and it's ten times more expensive than million-dollars-production, awarding winning, special effects galore, famous actors/actresses movies showing in local cinema.

Furthermore, when the show is over, you still got to rush home (via public transport) before midnight where you may have to waste more money taking cab.

Lesson: It is better for you rent (don't ever buy because you only watching it once) the respective VCD/DVD. be sure to survey a few shops for the best price, watch it in the comfort of your home (where you can have the flexibility of watching it at leisure or pause it or rewind or fast forward) and invest the savings (and your precious time) in something more worthwhile. If you have family of 4, all of you can watch the same production at a cheap price instead of paying $88 x 4! Rent it and save/invest the difference.

dun be foolish to buy tickets for productions like this because of all the marketing and advertisement. there is always a cheaper alternative.

Tan Kin Lian said...

Many people pay up to $300 to watch a live performance.

The ambience is much better than watching a video.

It is also a nice time to go out and enjoy the festive mood in the theatre.

You can enjoy the performance better, when you know the story line.

The cost of production (not the advertisement and marketing) is high. So, the show is highly subsidised by sponsors. Do not miss it.

Tan Kin Lian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tan Kin Lian said...

I guess the person who contributes the "two cents" is the one who has been persistently attacking insurance agents. This person might be fed up with me for blocking his postings.

Alternatively, this person could be an insurance agent who wish to attack me for promoting "Buy Term and invest the difference".

Anonymous said...

hey mr. tan, regarding your post at 8.02am, rest assured, I am neither.

No reason to "attack" you - I am indifferent to your concept. To me, how you want to manage your financial or advise other people is your personal matter. Neither am I interested in attacking insurance agents - again it's a matter that society has to deal with.

However, I wish to highlight that there is an alternative to watching any play/drama/musical. And it is cheaper and more effective version. If the act is good (world class), it will be available in the local library too - then you can rent for free.

Just like you, who believe in your concept of investing the different - so do I have my perspective. You have an agenda - for more ticket sales. I don't.

I only interested to share this information for educational purposes. A drama, act or pay, after all is still a production - it can be video-ed and viewed by a larger audience through modern technology. So I highlight it.

The media library is just at the Esplanade - have you tried it?

I watch other productions before - I need to be on time, restrict myself to the space given, if I missed a part, I can't rewind, and after that I have to compete with others for last bus home. This "ambience", personally, I can do without. hence, a DVD for family would be the right choice for me.

If you think $88 per person is peanuts to you, so be it. It's quite pricey for other people, like me for instance, when I have a family of 4. Whether a person invest the difference - that's his/her choice.

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