Works by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) were an important milestone in the history and development of ballet. Essentially, it was Tchaikovsky who made ballet a fully-fledged musical and drama genre and released music from its role as illustration to choreography. The composer worked mostly in the rigid frame of ballet dramaturgy. The music of all his ballets is adaptive, choreographic, objective and, at the same time, it has the power of generalization that gives symphonic features to a theatrical piece.
Tchaikovsky’s first ballet masterpiece, Swan Lake, was in fact born twice. Its first birthday happened in 1877, when the ballet was staged at the Bolshoi Theatre to Begichev and Geltzer’s script. The second birthday took place after Tchaikovsky’s death: in winter 1894 the Mariinsky Theatre premiered the ballet adapted by the great choreographer Marius Petipa and his disciple Lev Ivanov. They revealed the profound drama potential of the piece and it was their version that made Swan Lake one of the most popular ballets.
The Russian Classical Ballet offers the Petipa version adapted by Valentin Grischenko.