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bart

Most memorable Swan Lake endings... ?

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ABT's. It is the best rendition of the double suicide original version.

Agreed. SL must have a tragic ending. And ABT's has the most dramatic tragic ending. If Kevin restores the 4th act, it could be the most definitive of all current productions. All current productions have major flaws, let's see if Ratmansky's SL for Zurich and La Scala will end the drought.

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Agreed. SL must have a tragic ending. And ABT's has the most dramatic tragic ending. If Kevin restores the 4th act, it could be the most definitive of all current productions. All current productions have major flaws, let's see if Ratmansky's SL for Zurich and La Scala will end the drought.

Kent Stowell's production for Pacific Northwest Ballet is very faithful to the original intent, and includes significant chunks of what we understand to be original choreography (as it's been handed down -- he staged this in 2003, before the extensive use of the Stepanov scores) I have some quibbles with the sets, but the choreography is spot on. Very effective dance drama.

Odette returns to Rothbart, leaving Siegfried alive but bereft, if we're keeping score.

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Odette returns to Rothbart, leaving Siegfried alive but bereft, if we're keeping score.

But...the original libretto calls for a double suicide, so I don't see how keeping Odette and Siegfried alive can be considered a faithful rendition. :dunno:

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My favourite ending to Swan Lake will forever remain Hübbe & Schandorff's new version (for RDB) where (after Odette has disappeared off-stage, forever cursed to be a swan) Siegfried is forced by Rothbart to marry Odile. The entire political intrigue of it is wonderful, not to mention that there's something haunting about having to live with the consequences of your mistakes in life, rather than those mistakes necessarily leading to your demise.

However, I also really liked the ending to Wright's production for Swedish Royal Ballet. It felt genuine and fittingly dark for the production.

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My favourite ending to Swan Lake will forever remain Hübbe & Schandorff's new version (for RDB) where (after Odette has disappeared off-stage, forever cursed to be a swan) Siegfried is forced by Rothbart to marry Odile. The entire political intrigue of it is wonderful, not to mention that there's something haunting about having to live with the consequences of your mistakes in life, rather than those mistakes necessarily leading to your demise.

Similar to the recovered ending to Giselle (which is in the Pacific Northwest Ballet reconstruction), where Bathilde approaches Albrecht at Giselle's grave, implying that she forgives him.

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Performances  with happy end.

  • 1957, Swan Lake, Bolshoi Ballet, N. Fadeyechev, M. Plisetskaya, A. Messerer
  • 1968, Swan Lake, Kirov Ballet, J. Markowsky, Y. Yevteyeva, K. Sergeev
  • 1976, Swan Lake, Bolshoi, A. Bogadirev, M. Plisetskaya, Y. Grigorovitch
  • 1983, Swan Lake, Bolshoi Ballet, A. Bogadirev, N. Bessmertnova, Y. Grigorovitch
  • 1986, Swan Lake, Kirov Ballet, K. Zaklinsky, G. Mezentzeva, K. Sergeev
  • 1989, Swan Lake, Bolshoi Ballet, Y. Vasyuchenko, A. Mikhalchenko, Y. Grigorovitch
  • 1991, Swan Lake, Kirov Ballet, I. Zelensky, Y. Makhalina, K. Sergeev
  • 1992, Swan Lake, S. Petersburg Ballet, A. Bogatiriev, L. Kunakowa, N. Pavloba, M. Petipa-Lev Ivanov
  • 1992, Swan Lake, Perm Ballet, A. Fadeyechev, N. Ananiashvilli, M. Petipa-Lev Ivanov
  • 1992, Swan Lake, POB, P. Dupond, M. C. Pietragalla, V. Bourmeister
  • 1997, Swan Lake, Universal Ballet
  • 2003, Swan Lake, Stanislavsky Ballet, D. Zababurin, T. Chernobrovkina, V. Bourmeister
  • 2004, Swan Lake, Scala di Milano, R. Bolle, S. Zakharova, V. Bourmeister
  • 2006, Swan Lake, S. Petersbourg Ballet, D. Akulinin, I. Kolesnikova,  K. Sergeev
  • 2006, Swan Lake, Tokyo Ballet, J. Martinez, M. Ueno, M. Petipa-Lev Ivanov
  • 2007, Swan Lake, Mariinsky Ballet, D. Korsuntsev, U. Lopatkina, M. Petipa-Lev Ivanov
  • 2008, Swan Lake, SNG Maribor (Slovenia),  A. Bogov, Al. Ribic Laufer, V. Bitoinov
  • 2009, Swan Lake, Zurich Ballet, Stanislas Jermakov, P. Semionova, H. Spoerli
  • 2012, Swan Lake, Mikhailovsky Ballet, V. Lebedev, E. Borchenko, A. Messerer
  • 2013, Swan Lake, Mariinsky Ballet, T. Askerov, E. Kondaurova, K. Sergeyev
     

And without happy end

  • 1966, Swan Lake, Vienna Ballet, R. Nureyev, M. Fonteyn, R. Nureyev
  • 1976, Swan Lake, ABT, I. Nagy, N. Makarova, D. Blair
  • 1982, Swan Lake, ROH, A. Dowell, N. Makarova, F. Ashton, R. Nureyev
  • 1988, Swan Lake, London Festival Ballet, P. Schaufuss, E. Hart, N. Makarova
  • 1990, Swan Lake, Cullbert Ballet, Y. Auzeli, A. Laguna, Mats Ek
  • 1993, Swan Lake, Berlin Ballet, J-L Massot, Chr. Camillo-K. Gdaniec, P. Schaufuss
  • 1996, Swan Lake, Sadler's Wells, Adam Cooper, Scott Ambler, F. Ambler , M. Bourne
  • 1997, Swan Lake, Berlin Opera Ballet, Oliver Matz, Steffi Scherzer, Patrice Bart
  • 1999, Swan Lake, NYCB, D. Woetzel, M. Weese, P. Martins
  • 2002, Swan Lake, Swedish Royal Ballet, Anders Nordstrom, Nathalie Nordquist,  P. Wright
  • 2002, Swan Lake - Illusion like, Hamburg Ballet,  J. Bubenichek,  E. Loscavio-A. Polikarpova, J. Neumeier
  • 2002, Swan Lake, Bolshoi Ballet, E. Ivanchenko, A. Volochkova, Y. Grigorovich
  • 2003, Swan Lake, Moscow Classical Ballet, Ivan Korneev, E. Beresina-N. Burak, Kasatkina-Vasiliov
  • 2003 , Swan Lake, K-Ballet, T. Kumakawa, V. Durante, M. Perego, T. Kumakawa
  • 2004, Swan Lake, Hanover Ballet, , , Stephan Thoss
  • 2005, Swan Lake, ABT, A. Corella, G. Murphy,  K. McKenzie
  • 2005, Swan Lake, Moscow Classical Ballet, Nikolay Chevychelov, Marina Rzhannikova, Kasatkina-Vasiliov
  • 2006, Swan Lake, Australian Ballet, R. Curran, M. Eastoe, D. Rowe, Gr. Murphy
  • 2006, Swan Lake, POB, J. Martinez, A. Letestu, R. Nureyev
  • 2009, Swan Lake, ROH, Th. Soares, M. Nunez, M. Petipa-Lev Ivanov
  • 2010, Swan Lake, Bolshoi Ballet, A. Skvortsov, M. Alexandrova, Y. Grigorovich
  • 2011, Swan Lake, Sadler's Wells,  R. Winsor-D. North,  , M. Bourne
  • 2012, Swan Lake, ROH, N. Kish, Z. Yanowsky, D. Bintley
  • 2013, Swan Lake – Le Lac, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, St. Bourgond, An. Behrend-Ap. Ball, J-Ch Maillot
  • 2013, Swan Lake reloaded, Fr. Rydman
  • 2014, Swan Lake, Norwegian Ballet, Al. Ekman
  • 2014, Swan Lake, Vienna Ballet, Vl. Shishov, O. Esina, R. Nureyev
  • 2015, Swan Lake, Bolshoi Ballet, D. Rodkin, S. Zakharova, Y. Grigorovich
  • 2015, Swan Lake, ROH, M. Golding, N. Osipova, D. Bintley
  • 2015, Swan Lake, Hungarian Ballet, I. Kekalo, Sh. Nakamura, Rudi van Dantzig
  • 2015, Swan Lake, Danish Royal Ballet, Al. Lendorf, J’aime Crandall, N. Hubbe-S. Schandorff
  • 2016, Swan Lake, Universal Ballet, O. Vinogradov
  • 2016, Swan Lake, POB, M. Ganio, A. Albisson, R. Nureyev
  • 2017, Swan Lake, Georgian Ballet, V. Akhmeteli, N. Ananiashvili, A. Fadeechev
  • 2018, Swan Lake, ROH, V. Muntagirov, M. Nunez, L. Scarlett
  • 2018, Swan Lake, Dusseldorf Ballet, M. Schlapher
  • 2019, Swan Lake, POB, G. Louvet, L. Baulac, R. Nureyev
     

There are many other performances but I listed only those that have been released on vhs/dvd/BD or broadcast on tv/cinema.

If I missed any, please let me know.

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On 5/10/2008 at 5:57 PM, bart said:

I just came upon a description of Cranko's production for Suttgart in the 50s. (I don't know if this is still used, or if it has been adopted by other companies).

Cranko said that he was opposed to the idea of a happy ending. ("I believe Tchaikovskky intended to write a tragic ballet. ... Siegfried is a tragic hero and must be vanquished.")

John Percival writes, in his biography of Cranko:

Does anyone know how the Cranko "flood" was accomplished? Ws his the first use of billowing cloth to simulate the waves that engulf Siegfried? (It's interesting that La Scala uses the drowning sequence as something Siegfried has to overcome on the way to his happy ending, a la Bournmesiter, but not Cranko.)

 

A very late answer to this post:

Cranko's Swan Lake premiered in Stuttgart on Nov 14, 1963 and was revised in 1972. You can still see the production at Stuttgart. It was never adopted by another company until recently, in March 2019, by the Czech National Ballet a Prague with different sets and costumes.

The flood is made of three cloths that fly in from the wings, left and right, in a huge bow and then billow wildly on the floor. Siegfried moves between them, he fights and drowns, comes up again and dies, then the floods calm down, all very beautifully suited to the music. In the background, we see the swans (as birds) crossing the lake, they will not be redeemed.

Fonteyn and Nureyev guested in Cranko's production in May 1964 at Stuttgart, so we can assume that Nureyev's 1966 Vienna version was influenced by Cranko. It seems that the Soviet versions at the time preferred the happy ending, so Cranko's sad ending was seen as a change then, back in the 1960s.

 

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It is so interesting to see how whole assessments of the ending gravitate around what we believe to be a "happy" ending versus a "tragic" one. What some might consider "tragic"-(the double suicide)- didn't have to be so necessarily in Petipa's or Tchaikovsky's minds. The fact that the music changes to a major key to a triumphant tune to the souls of the two lovers reunited in heaven-(ABT)- is more than enough to be seen as happy by many, particularly those with religious beliefs. The whole happy=human form/stay on earth idea was Soviet, although I can see how many in the audience who don't share such religious beliefs see it as the only "happy" possibility. 

I myself have always considered the original ending, as ABT does it, perfectly happy. Evil Rothbart is defeated by the power of love and faith. The kingdom is restituted and the two lovers are reunited in a place where only goodness exist. 

Which is exactly the same in La Bayadere.

Fair enough.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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Tragedy doesn't mean "sad" in any conventional sense--tragic emotion is more complex. The Oresteia resolves itself in favor of Orestes, the founding of a jury system, reconciliation between different gods/values etc.  and it's one of the foundational "tragic" trilogies of the Greek tradition. One can judge the ending of Swan Lake with the double suicide, Rothbart defeated, and the lovers united in the land of the dead to be "tragic" without thinking it's simply sad or unhappy.

I think it's also not exactly "happy" in any earthly, ordinary sense--certainly evil isn't banished by laughter (or the "happily ever after" of procreative sex) as in classic comedy but by sacrifice and forgiveness. It's something more profound than earthly happiness, at least for the lovers.

Edited by Drew

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I was intrigued by the Royal Danish Ballet production, which I saw in the summer of 2018 -- it is the first production, to my experience, that shows "what comes next": Odette has died, Siegfried survives and is trapped in marriage to Odile, with von Rothbart pulling the strings at the royal court.

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