Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Great Performances
HomeBroadcast ScheduleFeedbackNewsletter Great Performances Shop
Musical TheaterOpera on FilmClassical MusicDanceRegional PerformanceCinema
Multimedia PresentationsDialogueEducational ResourcesDance
Video clip still
The swans appear before the Prince at a lake.
Swan Lake banner
The young Prince and the Queen

Brilliant British choreographer Matthew Bourne turns tradition upside down with a new spin on "Swan Lake," resetting Tchaikovsky's classic in a fantasy 1950s London and a court of libidinous Royals and replacing the traditional female corps of leggy, tutued swans with a menacing flock of bare-chested males. GREAT PERFORMANCES presents the ballet that is set for Broadway in September 1998 and has already played to sold-out houses in London and Los Angeles.

Web Highlights
Late music critic John Ardoin traces Tchaikovsky's ballet from its initial failure to its current status as a beloved classic; reveals the neurotic, self-absorbed man behind the artist who would endure as Russia's most popular composer; and highlights the originality of Bourne's production while declaring its continuity with the classic "Swan Lake."

Click here to explore the Web companion for this program, which originally aired on June 10, 1998.

Top banner photos: The Swan (Adam Cooper) with The Prince (Scott Ambler); The Swan (Cooper) with his flock; the all-male swans (Adventures in Motion Pictures dancers).

Ambler and Chadwick

The Prince (Ambler) and the Queen, danced by Fiona Chadwick.

Scene from ballet

A scene from the ballet staged for the entertainment of the Royals.