The Australian Ballet presents reimagined ‘Swan Lake’ in 2023

The Australian Ballet's Robyn Hendricks in 'Swan Lake'. Photo by Simon Eeles.
The Australian Ballet's Robyn Hendricks in 'Swan Lake'. Photo by Simon Eeles.

The Australian Ballet will bring a reimagined Swan Lake to ballet lovers in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, starting September 2023, as part of its 60th anniversary season.

The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David Hallberg announced that the 2023 Swan Lake production has been inspired by Anne Woolliams’ iconic 1977 production. A classical interpretation of one of the greatest ballets of all time, this adaption will embody the beauty of ballet and reflect the company’s rich legacy.

Swan Lake will be Hallberg’s first full-length commission for the company and will be the cornerstone of The Australian Ballet’s 60th anniversary celebration – a symbolic tribute to the company’s very first performance on 2 November 1962, which was Swan Lake

“Our 60th year is the perfect moment to create a classical version of Swan Lake. One that will stand proud as a fresh representation of The Australian Ballet, further elevating our artistic excellence,” Hallberg said. “With a timeless ballet comes the need for a fresh perspective, and a modern focus on costume and set design will prove that Swan Lake is still the most beautiful of ballets.”

As Hallberg embarks on creating a Swan Lake tailor-made for a new era, he has assembled a team of designers to realise his vision for this ambitious production.

With the original sets and costumes lost to history, The Australian Ballet will welcome long-time creative partners Daniel Ostling and Mara Blumenfeld as the design team. Along with lighting designer T.J. Gerckens, they will collectively create true realism on stage, through a palace interior or by the famous lakeside. These celebrated designers, bringing experience from productions across the world, will breathe new life into Swan Lake, respecting the timelessness of the ballet while bringing it confidently into the 21st century.

“This is the Swan Lake that audiences have loved for generations,” Hallberg said. “A timeless ballet that will carry the torch once again to remind us why this is still the most beloved ballet in history. Following in Anne’s path, I am excited to envision a work that has been so important to the history of this company. This is one of the centerpieces of our 60th year, ensuring it is performed as beautifully as the day it was created.” 

Swan Lake’spowerful themes of solitude, idealism, betrayal and forgiveness, accompanied by an instantly recognisable musical score, enthrall audiences from their earliest years as a ballet lover and throughout their lifetimes.

Since the company’s beginning in 1962, Swan Lake has played an important role in the life of The Australian Ballet, with 659 performances of the work through the company’s 60-year history.

“As I define what the future of The Australian Ballet looks like under my artistic leadership, and especially as we celebrate the 60th anniversary, I am looking to the depth of important repertoire that has defined this company,” Hallberg explained. “But, equally, asking what dance means to us all and how we interpret the art of today. I am confident that Woolliams’ Swan Lake will continue to thrive in the repertoire, set anew for a fresh generation of ballet lovers.”

The Australian Ballet will present Swan Lake in Melbourne (19 – 30 September), Adelaide (7 – 14 October), Brisbane (24 – 28 October) and Sydney (1 – 20 December). For tickets and more information, visit australianballet.com.au/performances/swan-lake.

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