Petipa’s Thoughts on Color (and More) in Swan Lake

From Lynn Garafola: Russian ballet in the age of Petipa in Kant 2007: Cambridge Companion to Ballet:

“Here [in Odile’s pas de deux in Act III of Swan Lake], writes Krasovskaya, Petipa ‘brilliantly {set} off Ivanonv’s Odette, with her elegiac arabesques, against Odile, the bird of prey, with her resilient and commanding attitudes. His skill triumphed in the fouetté’ – a sequence of thirty two [!] of those highly virtuosic turns – ‘which was no longer a technical stunt but the culmination in the depiction of cunning temptation: the swift repetition of the dancer’s spins put the finishing touches to Odile’s charcter.’ [quoted from: Vera M. Krasovskaya: Ivanov, Lev in Selma Jean Cohen and Dance Perspectives Foundation (Ed.): International Encyclopedia of Dance, Oxford 1998]” (p.159/160)

“[Petipa] pondered the colour scheme of the costumes, deciding on black and white to underscore the theme of moral guilt and the presentiment of death. The intonation of sorrow was intensified […] when the black swans cut through the lines of white swans and climaxed at the end of the act, when first Odette, then Siegfried died by their own hands, thereby breaking the spell. With the lovers united in death, Rothbart, the ‘evil genie’, as he was called in the libretto, fell dead. In the apotheosis the lovers appeared in the clouds, seated on enormous swans, giving the ballet a happy, if banal, ending.” (p.160)


One response to “Petipa’s Thoughts on Color (and More) in Swan Lake

  1. The ending is the most beautiful, sending tears to my eyes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s