Swan Lake tells the timeless tale of redemption through love. It is probably the best-known, best-loved of all the classical ballets, and, for the prima ballerina who dances the dual role of Odette and Odile, the supreme test of the dancer's craft.
Asaf Messerer's 80th birthday gala at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1982, it is actually the Concert-class choreographed by him, with all the legendary stars of that time: Akimov, Lavrovsky, Vasiliev, Maximova, Semenyaka, A. Liepa, Vasyuchenko, Ananiashvili, Timofeyeva.....
The story of the ballet is a tad convoluted. We begin with a group of dancers, venturing into the countryside to celebrate the end of the harvest. It transpires that one of the land girls has previously studied ballet in the City but gave it up to marry the man of her dreams. Irritatingly, this same man repays her by attempting to seduce a beautiful ballerina of the company. And coincidentally, the land girl and the ballerina are best friends! Thereafter, the plot becomes complex and involves much cross-dressing, seduction of elderly neighbours and men in dog costumes.
This three-act ballet occupied Prokofiev near the end of his life. Prokofiev took the fairy tale The Stone Flower as his ballet subject; it came from a collection of stories about the miners in the Ural mountains. The ballet is quite philosophical and much pantomime is required to bring out the complicated plot. At the base of it, sculptor Danila is torn between perfecting his art and his love of Katerina. The Mistress of the Copper Mountain offers her minerals as well as herself to him but in the end Danila chooses Katerina and one of those big wedding celebrations so important to many ballets concludes the work.