“Swan Lake” by Christopher Wheeldon

The last scheduled shows for the 2015-16 Ballet season is the “classic of the classics” of ballet: Swan Lake, in the version of the British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. It is a national premiere at the Teatro Costanzi until November 5, 2016.

On this special occasion, for the first time the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome is hosting two special guests: Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli both Principal at the London Royal Opera House.

On the podium Nir Kabaretti conducts the orchestra. This production is choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, regarded as one of the most interesting and innovative names in the international dance scene. It is a ballet inspired by Edgar Degas’s painting portraying the famous dancers of the Paris Opera. The original version, which is set in a ballroom, combines classical elements with an imaginative and opulent vision until the final overlapping between dream and reality.

In this production, created in 2004 for the Pennsylvania Ballet, there are several cultural references to the turn of the nineteenth century. These were the years in which Edgar Degas caused a scandal by painting his dancers in the guise of artists-workers, immortalised behind the scenes of the Paris Opera among teachers and mysterious gentleman-patrons with top hats.

In the same years Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky, commissioned by the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, wrote the score for a ballet that had a fairy tale as its subject, which was first premiered in 1877. In Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, the encounter between these two great artists, becomes a mysterious and fascinating story, which develops along the thin line between the reality of the dancers’ hard work during their rehearsal and the imagination of the First Dancer, who, in his dream, opens the door to the famous romance between Prince Siegfried and the fantastic swan-creature Odette; their love is opposed by her alter ego Odile and by the evil Von Rothbart.

Adrianne Lobel’s scenography, the costumes by Jean-Marc Puissant and the lighting design by Natasha Katz all work together to recreate the atmospheres of Degas’ canvas and the romantic charm of the late nineteenth century.


“I did not want to do a totally different version from the original, instead I wanted to try to put a modern frame to an old jewel”.

“In addition to being a tribute to Petipa and Ivanov, my “Lake” is dedicated to the effort and hard work that every dancer has to put in to achieve perfection”.