The Czech National Ballet to present John Cranko’s Swan lake in Czech premiere
John Cranko’s choreography, to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is a breath-taking spectacle. The Czech National Ballet is the very first large company to have been granted the approval to stage the piece beyond the Stuttgarter Ballett.
Swan Lake ranks among the most celebrated of all classical ballets, the most frequently performed and the most popular among audiences all over the world. Although at first glance coming across as depicting anything but the prosaic reality of everyday life, the ballet has never failed to touch the hearts of audiences, which has applied to virtually every earnest production. To date, the National Theatre has staged twelve adaptations of Swan Lake.
Number thirteen, the new Czech National Ballet production will be a revival of the immortal story’s version created by the world-renowned choreographer John Cranko, the founder of the Stuttgarter Ballett, shortly before his premature death. His aim was to render a romantic atmosphere and to incorporate into his dramatic piece both the splendour of the concept and a certain degree of intimacy. A true master of epic ballet, in his Swan Lake Cranko provides the dancers with the great opportunity to develop the characters, while placing emphasis on acting and individual freedom of expression.
Even though closely linked with the milieu and ballet in Germany, which he himself formed, John Cranko is not unknown in the Czech Republic. His dance idiom was clearly influenced by his having studied at the Sadler’s Wells School in London, as well as his initial professional experience gained at the Sadler’s Wells Ballet. One of the world’s most distinguished choreographers, his accomplishments while serving as the artistic director of the Stuttgarter Ballett have been included in all ballet textbooks, with the company during Cranko’s era having been referred to as the “Stuttgart ballet miracle”. The charismatic artist got together and nurtured a number of young dancers, who went on to become renowned ballet figures: Marcia Haydée, Egon Madsen, Richard Cragun, Birgit Keil and Susanne Hanke, as well as, later on, such renowned choreographers as Jiří Kylián and John Neumeier.
John Cranko was a master of storytelling, capable of working with and rendering emotions, which he blended with magnificent dance passages and virtuoso solo performances, bringing great artistic experiences to the audience. The Czech premiere of his Swan Lake will indisputably be a major ballet event in the Czech Republic and within the European context alike.
We are the first big company that obtained permission to stage this ballet outside its home scene in Stuttgart. It is the first time, too, that the Swan Lake of John Cranko will get a new visual form: Foreign rights owners allowed us to create new costumes and set. Two Czech artists will be involved in devising the new scene elements: Josef Jelínek, the costume designer, and Martin Černý, the set designer.
Swan Lake – second premiere of season 2018/2019
Czech premiere: March 28th 2019
The production’s partner is Preciosa Beauty, s.r.o., a company adorning the dancers with its jewellery.
photo: Alexandre Katsapov