Choreographer: Derek Deane
Set & Costume Designer: Peter Farmer
Rehearsal Director: Amanda Eyles
Since 1895 till date, Swan Lake has won its accolade in the world's ballet scene for over 120 years. It exudes an air of purity, with stunning ballet techniques that keep it in the top tier of the classical ballet repertoire.
Shanghai Ballet invited Derek Deane, former Artistic Director at English National Ballet, as Choreographer of the Grand Version of Swan Lake, who puts together an ocean of swans which is unprecedented in the ballet world. The most charismatic star dancers, the largest corp de ballet, accompanied by the magnificent live orchestra, will be a perfect combination attributed to the 123 years old classic masterpiece.
The lovely Princess Odette is kidnapped by the wicked Rothbart, who is half-man half-bird. The evil sorcerer turns the Princess into a swan and condemns her to a life under his spell at the lakeside.
ACT I THE PALACE
Preparations are underway to celebrate the birthday of Prince Siegfried. The Palace courtyard is being decorated with garlands under the watchful eye of the Prince’s tutor. He announces Prince Siegfried’s arrival and the entertainment begins.
In the midst of the celebration, the Queen arrives to give her son a magnificent crossbow for his birthday. Taking him aside, she tells him that as he has now come of age he must consider marriage. The Queen then departs and the celebrations continue.
Late in the afternoon, Siegfried is left alone with his thoughts. He sees a flock of swans flying overhead and armed with his new crossbow he sets out to hunt them at the lake.
ACT II A LAKESIDE
Rothbart appears from beneath the waters of the lake to survey his domain. He sees the Prince approaching and disappears into the forest. Searching for the flock of swans, the Prince arrives at the lakeside. Odette, Queen of the Swans, appears. Siegfried is captivated by her beauty. Rothbart reappears and Odette flees from the lakeside with Siegfried chasing her into the night.
Summoning all his powers, Rothbart commands every swan to the lake. The lakeside is suddenly filled with swan maidens, who are girls who have been transformed into swans by the evil sorcerer.
Siegfried returns to the lake in search of Odette and finding her swears undying love and the promise that he will be faithful to her for the rest of his life.
Rothbart returns and steals the Swan Queen from the Prince’s embrace, leaving him alone and desolate by the waters of the lake.
ACT III THE GREAT HALL OF THE CASTLE
A formal celebration is taking place in honour of Prince Siegfried’s birthday. Guests arrive from many countries to join in the festivities. The Queen presents her son with the choice of six Princesses and commands him to select a bride from among them, but he remains preoccupied and aloof because he intends to marry Odette. At his mother’s request he dances with the Princesses, but finally refuses to marry any of them.
With a flourish of trumpets, Rothbart arrives with his daughter Odile in cunning disguise as the Swan Queen. Believing she is Odette, Siegfried is entranced and she leaves the Great Hall with him in pursuit. After a display of national dances, Odile and Siegfried return to the hall and dance together.
Persuaded by the wicked Odile, he believes that she is his true love and fails to see Odette pleading with him from outside the Palace to remain faithful to her. Siegfried swears undying love to Odile thus breaking the pledge that he has made to Odette. Rothbart is jubilant and summons Odette to show Siegfried that he has betrayed her for Odile. Rothbart and Odile leave the Great Hall in triumph.
In desperation, Siegfried flees from the hall to find Odette and beg for forgiveness, leaving the Queen and the Court in chaos and despair.
ACT IV A LAKESIDE
Realizing that she has been betrayed, Odette returns to the swans at the lake’s edge. Siegfried arrives to beg for Odette’s forgiveness, which she eventually grants.
Rothbart appears and reminds Siegfried of his earlier promise to Odile. A fight ensues.
Odette decides that she can continue no longer and throws herself into the lake. Siegfried follows and they are both drowned. The evil spell is broken and Rothbart is destroyed by the power of Siegfried’s and Odette’s love for each other.
As the dawn of a new day rises, Siegfried and Odette are united in eternal love.
Former Artistic Director of English National Ballet and ENB School
Derek Deane joined The Royal Ballet in 1972 and rapidly rose through the ranks to become Senior Principal in 1980. He danced all the major roles in the repertoire including specially created roles by many of the world’s leading choreographers. Having created numerous ballets for The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, Deane left The Royal Ballet in 1989 in order to create a wider body of choreographic works. From September 1990 until October 1992 he was Deputy Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer at the Teatro dell’ Opera in Rome. Since October 1992, he has staged and choreographed productions throughout Italy and created ballets in the USA, France, Japan and South Africa.
Derek Deane was appointed Artistic Director of English National Ballet and English National Ballet School in the Spring of 1993. His choreography for the Company includes a re-staging of Marius Petipa’s Grand Pas from Paquita, a new production of Giselle, which premiered in 1994 and a new production of Alice in Wonderland, Which premiered in 1995. Other works in English National Ballet’s repertoire include Impromptu, Which he originally choreographed for The Royal Ballet. In September 1995 he was the subject of a BBC television documentary which took the form of a year long video diary.
Deane also choreographed a unique staging of The Nutcracker, which premiered in 1997 and performed the role of Drosselmeyer when it returned to the London Coliseum in December 1998 and 1999. His new production of Romeo and Juliet in the round was premiered in 1998 at the Royal Albert Hall and was later re-staged by Deane for a spring tour in 1999. Deane’s production of Swan lake, which premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in 1997 received two nominations for the Laurence Olivier Awards in February 1998. In 1999 this production was seen by a record 250,000 people worldwide in a tour that performed at arena venues in Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane before returning to the UK for a 5-venue tour. In Summer 2000, Deane choreographed The Sleeping Beauty, his third in-the-round production, which was performed at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2011, Deane choreographed Strictly Gershwin for English National Ballet for the Royal Albert Hall.
Derek Deane was awarded an OBE in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2000.
About Shanghai Ballet
Shanghai Ballet was formally renamed in 1979 at the base of The White-haired Girl performing team. Shanghai Ballet is one of the world’s predominant ballet companies, bringing the unique glamour of Chinese dance to the international stage. The White-Haired Girl, an award-winning classical Chinese ballet created in the 20th century, brought instant fame to the Company and helped establish its leading position in the ballet world.
During its 40-year history, Shanghai Ballet has created and staged many new ballet productions, including The Butterfly Lovers (XIN Lili), A Sigh of Love (Bertrand d’At), The Last Mission of Marco Polo (Jose Martinez) , Jane Eyre(Patrick de BANA), Echoes of Eternity (Patrick de BANA), Bright Red Star(ZHAO Ming), Hamlet (Derek Deane), Shanghai Grand Theatre’s version The Nutcracker (Derek Deane), Shanghai Ballet Version The Sleeping Beauty(Derek Deane), and the Lady of the Camellias (Derek Deane). Besides, the repertoire of the company includes Swan Lake (Derek Deane), Romeo and Juliet (Derek Deane), Coppelia (Pierre Lacotte), La Sylphide (Jean-Paul Gravier), The Nutcracker (Tetsutaro Shimizu), Giselle, Don Quixote, Balanchine and Beyond, The Ode of Joy—Gala Performance.
Such artists as SHI Zhongqin, MAO Huifang, LING Guiming etc. came out with the glory of The White-haired Girl while XIN Lili, WANG Qifeng and YANG Xinhua, etc stood out with the inheritance of The White-haired Girl and creations. Nowadays, new generations as CHEN Zhenrong, JI Pingping, FAN Xiaofeng, WU Husheng, QI Bingxue, etc. shine with the new repertories and creations. Since its founding, young dancers of the company have won a total of 52 medals in various international dance competitions, and they have also achieved impressive results in nationwide competitions.
Shanghai Ballet is active in cooperation and artistic exchange with artists and companies both at home and abroad. The company has toured not only in China but also throughout the world, including performances in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, Poland, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and important cities like Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan etc.
In the words of a critic, “Shanghai Ballet is as elegant as the delicate porcelain imported from China.”