Swan Lake returns to Covent Garden for autumn 2012

Anthony Dowell's interpretation returns Tchaikovsky's classic to its opulent, most romantic Russian roots - booking now

Swan Lake returns to Covent Garden
Swan Lake returns to Covent Garden

Swan Lake really is a name to conjure with. For those with a deep love of ballet and the finer arts, it is their art form's badge of honour. In the 130 or so years since Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's masterpiece enjoyed (or rather, endured) its premiere, Swan Lake has become a transcendental force in popular culture; being updated by the likes of Matthew Bourne and finding itself a vehicle for any number of Hollywood adaptations.

The love for the swans runs deep. But it wasn't always so. When it first opened in 1877, Swan Lake was poorly received - deemed too complex for the theatre with the (now) memorable scored seemingly forgotten amid groans about décor, the dancers and the orchestra. It was not helped by the fact that Russian ballerina Anna Sobeshchanskaya, who was cast in the role of Odette, had been prevented from performing following allegations of theft. It bombed. A handful believed, however, and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov joined forces with Sobeshchanskaya, now restored to the cast, and eventually triumphed with the most celebrated version, musically and choreographically, coming in 1895.

One hundred and seventeen years later, Anthony Dowell is faithfully revisiting Petipa and Ivanov's trailblazing production for his new adaptation for 2012, which promises to evoke the splendour, grandeur, drama and romance of that 1895 production.

Swan Lake plays at the Royal Opera House - Covent Garden in London's Covent Garden on selected dates from 8th October until 24th November 2012. We have tickets available now, priced from around £30 for amphitheatre tickets, rising to around £120 for the very best stalls.

There are matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The opening weekend performances (Saturday 13th October) are already selling fast.

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