The Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky
The Swan Lake is a ballet whose music was composed by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Its first representation was at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 1877. The musical piece was composed in a year, so, the composer was very excited, but also in a hurry because he wanted to write an opera. This work was written for large orchestra of typical late XIX century, with stringed instruments, woodwind, brass and percussion. Usually it is represented in four acts and four scenes (especially outside of Russia and Eastern Europe) or three acts and four scenes (especially in Russia and Eastern Europe).
The Prologue is in a dark forest, and shows the actual transformation where Princess Odette is converted into a swan.
Act I is about Prince Siegfried, who is celebrating his twenty-first birthday, and in the following night he must choose a wife during the royal dance, which would be invited young girls of the most beauty. This makes Siegfried feel melancholy because he does not marry for love. When it gets dark, Benno sees a flock of swans flying and suggests going to hunt, so they take their crossbows and go hunting.
Act II speaks of Siegfried that is separated from his friends and go into the lake where he sees as one of the swans is transformed into a beautiful girl, Odette. She tells Siegfried that she and her companions have been enchanted by the sorcerer Rothbart, which makes them swans during the day and girls during night, and says that only the spell will be broken if someone falls in love with Odette. Then Rothbart appears. Siegfried tries to fight him but Odette tells him that if he dies before the spell is undone, then they will always be swans. When Rothbart goes, the maids turn into swans, and friends arrive Siegfried, who, by order of Siegfried, do not attack the swans. Siegfried's friends leave, and he is left alone with Odette, and they fall in love each other.
Act III is about the party at the palace. Siegfried did not want to choose any girl, and he thinks about Odette. Then a mysterious man appears with his daughter. It is actually Rothbart and his daughter Odile, who has the false appearance of Odette, only instead of going from white, black dresses. Siegfried, blinded by Rothbart's spell, swears eternal love to the false Odette, and in doing so, the sorcerer and his daughter is reveal themselves, so the repentant Siegfried flees the lake.
Act IV speaks about that Siegfried apologizes and Odette forgive him. Then appears Rothbart and insists Siegfried to fulfill its promise to marry Odile, after which Odette will become a swan forever. They fight against him, but it's useless. Thus, both commit suicide in the lake. This sacrifice breaks Rothbart's spell over other maidens swans. At dawn, their spirits appear in the lake, together forever, rising to the heavenly sky.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, Russia, in late 1840. He is the late vocation, who could engage without financial hardship to the composition with the help that lends an unknown lady (which is proved as Nadezhda von Meck). She held him financially for 13 years, allowing him to devote himself exclusively to composition, but stipulated that they should never meet. He died in St. Petersburg in 1893. Overall, his pathos and sentimentality found various opinions in life and after his death. From those who have reduced their music, heart and melody, without developments, even those who praise his nobility of expression.
It belongs to Romanticism. Tchaikovsky, along with Rubinstein, declare openly anti-nationalist, against the principles of the Five Russians, the major ones of the Russian nationalist music. His art spliced directly with Western music, especially with the Germanic, while being indifferent to the use of folklore as a system, being too trivial.
In conclusion, Swan Lake is a masterpiece of music. It is very famous, and the story is very inspiring. I personally love the legends and if they are part of such a beautiful music, even more. It is a ballet I hope to go to see some time in my life.