Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake at Ahmanson Theatre

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Extraordinary dancing unleashed to the power and beauty of Tchaikovsky’s music! Mathew Bourne’s SWAN LAKE is a multi-award winning re-imagining of the Russian romantic ballet SWAN LAKE. The twist Bourne’s rendering is best known for having the traditionally female parts of the swans danced by men.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake Tickets:

SWAN LAKE, is a dark, dark contortion of the classic ballet.

A descent into nervous breakdown, a heavy dash of Oedipus complex.

Mathew Bourne swan lake tickets

Bourne’s SWAN LAKE radically reinterprets the German myth of Ondine. The focus of the ballet is turned away from the original Princess Ondine character to the man, the Prince. It is the Prince who struggles against repression and hopes for liberty, and who needs love to make him safe. In addition, it is not the mortal who is unfaithful to the nymph. Rather, it is the Swan who expresses love for the Prince, betrays him in the form of the Stranger, and finally returns to him. However, as in the Ondine myth, the sin of betrayal cannot be expiated except in death. Much has been made of Bourne’s decision to cast men as the swans. The original ballet is a standard in the European tradition of romanticized female–male love. The heroine, the swan princess Odette, is portrayed as powerless but lovely in accordance with conventional gender roles, and her hero is portrayed as a hunter who alone has the power to save her. Having a man in the role of lead Swan suggests that the Prince’s struggle has repressed gay love at its core, and changes the realm of the plot from magical to psychological. The fierce, bird-like choreography given to the swan corps re-interprets the archetype of the swan as a pretty, feminine bird of gentle grace. “The idea of a male swan makes complete sense to me. The strength, the beauty, the enormous wingspan of these creatures suggests to the musculature of a male dancer more readily than a ballerina in her white tutu.” – Mathew Bourne

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Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotional, Matthew Bourne’s SWAN LAKE is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm. In order to accommodate his revised scenario, Bourne somewhat altered Tchaikovsky’s score, reordering several numbers and omitting others. For example, No. 5 has been moved in its entirety from Act One to Act Three, where it follows the reordered national dances. Act Three has been trimmed by leaving out most of No. 19 and all of the following pas de deux. Retaining all the iconic elements of the original production loved by millions around the world, Matthew Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherson (Set & Costumes) and Paule Constable (Lighting) will create an exciting re-imagining of the classic production.

Collecting over thirty international theatre awards including an Olivier in the UK and three Tonys on Broadway, Matthew Bourne’s powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s beloved tale is a passionate and contemporary SWAN LAKE for our times. Matthew Bourne’s SWAN LAKE was first staged at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London in 1995. The longest running ballet in London’s West End and on Broadway, it has been performed in the UK, Los Angeles, Europe, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Israel and Singapore. Winner of Best New Dance Production and Winner of TIME OUT Dance Award 1996 & 1997 at the Oliver Awards 1996, Winner of Best Choreography at Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards 1997, Winner of Excellence in Dance on Broadway at Astaire Awards 1999, Winner of Best Director of a Musical, Winner of Best Choreography and Winner of Best Costume Design at the Tony Awards 1999. An excerpt of the show featuring The Prince and Swan duet was performed at The Olivier Awards 2019 on 7 April as part of Matthew Bourne receiving the Special Award in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in dance.

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Swan Lake Ballet Reviews

“It’s funny that Matthew Bourne’s shows are associated with Christmas festivity because his most famous, SWAN LAKE, is a dark, dark contortion of the classic ballet. A son repressed and depressed, deprived of love by his mother; hallucinations, strange sexual fantasies, a descent into nervous breakdown, a heavy dash of Oedipus complex. Twenty-three years on from its debut, this show is still best known for its gender-swapped, all-male cast of swans, but there is so much that is sinister and tragic going on here. Of course, being Bourne, there is also cartoonishness, larky humour and toy corgis on wheels. He gets away with the huge tonal shifts because it’s all there in Tchaikovsky’s music – and the orchestra hikes up the drama to match. In fact, everyone on stage is dialled up to 11. This revival sees some updating of designs, some comic touches – the bored burlesque dancer is hilarious – and choreographic tweaks. But what’s most noticeable is a mighty injection of energy, the pack of macho swans hissing, kicking, stamping, glaring; intensity surging from the stage.”
– Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian.

“I just took my mum to Matthew Bourne‘s SWAN LAKE & she already wants to go again! Even if you think you hate ballet or classical music or even any kind of theatre whatsoever you will love this. I promise. This show is PURE MAGIC.”
– David Walliams

“Witty, menacing, lyrical and wild” – Daily Telegraph

Extraordinary dancing unleashes the power and beauty of Tchaikovsky’s music – The Irish Times

SWAN LAKE remains a deliciously subversive watch – Attitude

One of the most successful modern dance works around today – The Sunday Express

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