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Swan Lake Act 2 - Pas d'Action Tchaikovsky Help Opus Details
For feedback and questions, please contact Victor Gomersall.
Tchaikovsky wrote Swan Lake in 1875 on a commision from the Imperial Theatre in Moscow. It is the first ballet ever written to use a symphonic type of construction, with a set of themes connected by a system of key structures, and strong musical coherence. The music for earlier ballets usually consisted of a string of unrelated, light hearted dances. This music is superbly orchestrated, and contains a wealth of memorable tunes.

The story of the ballet begins at a royal court. Prince Siegfried, heir to the kingdom, must declare a wife at his birthday ball. Upset that he cannot marry for love, Siegfried escapes into the forest at night. As he sees a flock of swans flying overhead, he sets off in pursuit. Act 2 opens in a mountainous wild place, surrounded by forest near a lake. Siegfried aims his crossbow at the swans and readies himself for their landing by the lakeside. When one comes into view, however, he stops. Before him is a beautiful creature dressed in white feathers, more woman than swan. Enamoured, the two dance and Siegfried learns that the swan maiden is the princess Odette. An evil sorcerer, von Rothbart, captured her and used his magic to turn Odette into a swan by day and woman by night. A retinue of other captured swan-maidens attend Odette in the environs of Swan Lake, which was formed by the tears of her parents when she was kidnapped by von Rothbart. Once Siegfried knows her story, he takes great pity on her and falls in love. As he begins to swear his love to her - an act that will render the sorcerer's spell powerless - von Rothbart appears. Siegfried threatens to kill him but Odette intercedes. If von Rothbart dies before the spell is broken, it can never be undone.

Act 3 opens in an opulent hall in the castle. Prince returns to the castle to attend the ball. Von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his own daughter Odile, making her seem identical to Odette in all respects except that she wears black while Odette wears white. The prince mistakes her for Odette, dances with her, and proclaims to the court that he intends to make her his wife. Only a moment too late, Siegfried sees the real Odette and realizes his mistake.

Act 4 is at the same scene by the lake as in Act 2. Realizing that the spell can never be broken, Odette and Siegfried drown themselves by leaping into the lake. This causes von Rothbart to lose his power over them, and he dies as a result.
Category: Ballet Music Orchestra Romantic Period
Time Signature 6 /8 Key Signature   Eb Minor Play MP3 using player below.

1    Violin solo, main theme of this Pas D'Action after the harp introduction.
 No score for this tune is available yet.
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