Swan Lake

Opened 1 June 2016, Closed 12 June 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall in London

Derek Deane's critically acclaimed production of Swan Lake returns to London for its eighth season at the Royal Albert Hall this coming June 2016.

Causing a sensation when it premiered in 1997, this production has since been enjoyed by over 500,000 people, captivating audiences worldwide. Now you can now experience the beauty and intimacy of this unrivalled spectacle as the Royal Albert Hall is transformed into a magical lake for this spectacular fully staged 'in the round' production. From the lakeside seats to the top of the Hall, witness English National Ballet's magnificent company that features 60 swans, stunning costumes and sensational lighting, this spectacular production will captivate and enthral you. Tchaikovsky's wonderful score, played by the English National Ballet Philharmonic, features some of the most beautiful music in the classical ballet repertoire.

Choreographed by Derek Deane to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with designs by Peter Farmer and lighting by Howard Harrison. This production premiered he at the Royal Albert Hall in May 1997, since when it has returned for two week seasons here in June 1999, June 2002, June 2004, June 2007, June 2010 and June 2013.

"When Derek Deane created his Swan Lake-in-the-round, he had one intention: to please a crowd. This production gives audiences what they most love about ballet and an unprecedented 97 per cent box office return reflects its popularity accordingly. A 60-strong, drilled-to-perfection Corps de Ballet cover acres of stage in an endless succession of stunning geometrical formations. The effect is spine tinglingly thrilling. Storytelling is cut to a minimum and the dancers get to stretch their wings... Showpiece pirouettes and heart throb Siegfrieds aside, the night belonged to the beautiful and indefatigable Corps de Ballet." The Sunday Express 2013

"Choreographed by Derek Deane it has been seen by more than half a million people. The Royal Albert Hall doesn't lend itself to intimacy, and many of the ballet's more nuanced moments are lost in its vastness, but Deane's production is all about spectacle, with rock'n'roll-scale servings of dry ice. The sight of 60 swans in shimmering white tutus all bourree-ing on pointe in unison takes the breath away... It's a great evening out. Deane achieves his choreographic ends by a variety of ingenious, if not always subtle, means. Peter Farmer's designs look as good as ever, with the Act 1 costumes a particular delight. And the ENB dancers look sharp and finely tuned." The Observer 2013

"English National Ballet's arena staging of Swan Lake is justly famous. Created by Derek Deane at the Royal Albert Hall in 1997, it has been seen by half a million people, and in its latest season there, the company were dancing on splendid form, with the amplitude that the setting requires. I have found Deane's production exciting, on every viewing, in its sheer spectacle - which never traduces the artistic and emotional essence of the ballet... [The] swans - 60 of them - are the production's most magnificent sight, immaculately drilled, flowing into the arena in row after row, many of them young and specially recruited to augment the regular company. The effects of Deane's choreography are lovely and the precision is stunning, while Howard Harrison's lighting is magically atmospheric." The Sunday Times 2013

English National Ballet's Swan Lake in London at the Royal Albert Hall from 1 to 12 June 2016


Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake

Opened 4 December 2013 and closed 26 January 2014 at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London

Following sell-out seasons at Sadler's Wells, triumphant national and international tours, New Adventures now brings Matthew Bourne's award-winning and extraordinary interpretation of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet Swan Lake back to Sadler's Wells for a strictly limited Christmas season. Matthew Bourne's stunning production created a sensation with its full corp de ballet of male swans when it was first seen at Sadler's Wells in 1995. Winner of the 1996 Laurence Olivier Award for 'Best New Dance Production'.

Now firmly established as a modern day classic, this iconic production is perhaps best-known for replacing the traditional female corps de ballet with a menacing male ensemble. A Sadler's Wells Associate Artist, Matthew Bourne blends dance, humour and spectacle with extravagant, award-winning designs by Lez Brotherston, to create a provocative and powerful Swan Lake for our times.

Swan Lake is directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne with designs by Lez Brotherston and is presented in London by New Adventures. The production has collected over 30 international theatre awards since its premiere in 1995 including three Tony Awards and has been acclaimed as a landmark achievement on the international stage. It has become the longest running ballet in the West End and on Broadway and has enjoyed four hugely successful tours in the UK and thrilled audiences all over the world.

Matthew Bourne's London stage choreography credits include adaptations of Tim Burton's motion picture Edward Scissorhands, Bizet's Carmen renamed as The Car Man, Prokofiev's Cinderella set in London during the Second World War, Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray (Sadler's Wells Theatre 2008 and 2009) and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. He has also provided choreography for the stage musical version of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! directed by Sam Mendes / Rupert Goold, the Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady directed by Trevor Nunn and the stage version of Walt Disney motion picture Mary Poppins directed by Richarrd Eyre.

"Matthew Bourne's subversive reboot of ballet's most famous story is now in its 18th year but remains Bourne at his very best. His troupe of male swans has become iconic but seeing them en masse - seething, threatening unpredictable, powerfully masculine - is still thrilling. Swiping wings, angry kicks and pecks are all deployed: messing with these wild swans, it's made clear, is a dangerous game. The dancers, a fair few new to the company, have been drilled beautifully: in fact, clever details abound throughout the piece, all carefully executed, so this Swan Lake feels burnished to a high shine... This Swan Lake is still original and still unmissable." The Metro (2013)

"Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake is not so much a ballet as a danced drama, and he didn't so much remake Swan Lake as reveal it... Bourne somehow clarified Swan Lake, and, for that, his 10th anniversary return to Sadler's Wells is worth celebrating... Credit to the orchestra, and to Lez Brotherston's designs and the ensemble who rose to the challenge of Bourne's closing crescendo. In the final half-imagined, half-delirious scene, the broken Prince sees the battered Swan, only for the flock to devour them. It is thrilling, chilling theatre." The London Evening Standard (2004)

"Swan Lake, Matthew Bourne's best-known production, is back in the West End, at the huge Dominion Theatre... Much toured since it was created in 1995, it has provided one of the landmark images of modern ballet in its bare-chested, feathered-legged troupe of male swans. There is still plenty of wit in the staging, but I feel the humour has coarsened during its long travels, and not all the characters make as much impact as they originally did... In the first of three casts, the charismatic Adam Cooper returns to his created role of the Swan: a performance of tremendous excitement, subtlety, emotional depth and sheer sexiness. And the other real star of the show remains the designer Lez Brotherston's brilliant set." The Sunday Times (2000)

"The West End's first full-length commercial ballet in 75 years, since Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe, is a triumph. Matthew Bourne has recreated a wonder for his Adventures in Motion Pictures company and Royal Ballet principal Adam Cooper brings it brilliantly to life... The USP is that the swans and cygnets are male, but this is much more than a potential notoriety. The muscularity of the male swans is tangible, their particular grace, power (and malice) of a kind unseen in more conventional versions. Nonetheless, I am still not entirely convinced by the notion of changing the sex of the swans, particularly when The Swan is off-stage. The night belonged to Matthew Bourne and to Adam Cooper. The first standing ovation will not be the last." The Daily Express (1996)

"[Matthew Bourne's] new production for Adventures in Motion Pictures is a radical take on the Russian classic that presents itself through striking imagery and some of the best performances you will ever see on a ballet stage. It will be a great hit... Adam Cooper, borrowed from Covent Garden, gave the performance of his life as the Swan. Electrifying as the seducer, searing in his sensual intensity, powerfully beautiful as the awesome avian: this truly was a swan to die for." The Times (1995)

"Matthew Bourne's production is dark, searching and provocative. As in all the greatest theatre, you leave shaken and also stirred... This is a show that will be talked about for months. The plot imposes nothing that Tchaikovsky's great score cannot amply contain, and in working through its implications and meticulous attention to psychological nuance, Bourne finds a dramatic potency that goes far beyond what dance is normally capable of. He has created a new form of music drama of near-Wagnerian profundity. See it, even if you never want to feed the swans again." The Independent on Sunday (1995)

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake originally premiered in London on 9 November 1995 at Sadler's Wells when it played for a three week before returning to London the following year and playing at the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End (Previewed 9 September 1996, Opened 11 September 1996, Closed 1 February 1997). It then returned again to the West End playing at the Dominion Theatre in 2000 (Previewed 3 February, Opened 7 February 2000, Closed 11 March 2000). In 2004 the production returned for a Christmas season back at Sadler's Wells Theatre (Previewed 30 November, Opened 7 December 2004, Closed 16 January 2005).

This production famously (or even infamously!) changes the corps de ballet swans from female to male. Regarding this change the show's choreographer Matthew Bourne said: "It wasn't an easy decision to take. There are so many versions and productions of Swan Lake around the world, I did have to ask myself if we really needed another one. I wanted something more contemporary, which was very different from the norm, and I had the idea of changing the sex of the swans. It's the kind of idea that initially feels wrong, but somehow works. Now, I can't imagine doing it any other way. It just seemed to me a better way of showing the true nature of the swan. The male dancer's body can convey the power of the swan's wings — and their violent nature. They may appear gracefully gliding but, if they attack, their power and strength can easily break bones. Bringing out that sense of power was the initial idea for the change of sex. It also adds that little something extra; on air of mystery. Watching it is almost addictive."

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in London at the Sadler's Wells Theatre opened on 4 December 2013 and closed on 26 January 2014