Light Refreshments at Intermission.

Opera de Paris (Opéra Bastille) Recorded in 4 Acts.

Act I: In the castle Prince Siegfried’s birthday is being celebrated in festive splendour. The Queen presents her son with a crossbow; she asks him to choose a bride from among the guests the following day. Later the prince sees a group of white swans pass by and is bewitched by their beauty. He decides to go hunting.

Act II: The Swan Lake and its shores are the kingdom of the magician Rothbart, who rules over Princess Odette and her followers in the form of a bird of prey. Odette and her maidens have been turned by Rothbart into swans, but at night they are allowed to assume their human form. The princess can be freed only by a man who loves none but her. Siegfried, ardently in love with the Swan Princess, swears he will be this man and so break the spell.

Act III: At the court of the Queen, the party is in progress. None of the girls is able to captivate the Prince, until a nobleman appears with his daughter. The Prince believes that in Odile (as the strange young woman is called) he recognises his beloved from Swan Lake. In reality, the nobleman is the magician Rothbart, and his “daughter” the enchantress Odile, who takes the form of a black swan. The dance with the black swan seals the fate of the Prince and his beloved Odette. Bewitched by Odile’s magic, he announces to the guests that he has chosen the beautiful stranger to be his bride. Thus, he breaks the oath he has made to Odette, and Rothbart and Odile have prevented the release of the Swan Queen.

Act IV: In vain the white swans on the lake shore try to console their mistress. Odette, shattered by the fact that the Prince has broken his promise, has resigned herself to her fate. The Prince then appears to tell his beloved how Rothbart and Odile have deceived him. Odette forgives the Prince, and they again declare their love for each other.  Rothbart, who is powerless against this love, seeks his revenge by making the lake burst its banks. Odette and the maidens, transformed again into swans, take flight, and the Prince, overcome with despair, sinks beneath the swirling waters of the lake.