Home > Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Debuts New Scenery for ‘Swan Lake’ PBT Presents 'Swan Lake' Feb. 16-25, with the PBT Orchestra

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 Over Valentine’s weekend, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) revives the great love story “Swan Lake” with new scenic designs. “Swan Lake” with the PBT Orchestra runs Feb. 16-25, at the Benedum Center. Tickets start at $28 and are available at www.pbt.org, 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square in downtown Pittsburgh.

PBT’s “Swan Lake” features P.I. Tchaikovsky’s stirring score conducted by PBT Music Director Charles Barker, staging by PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr, choreography after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, and scenic and costume designs by the late Peter Farmer, who was a leading figure in ballet theater design for more than 50 years.

“It is an honor to be debuting scenery by Peter Farmer, the same visionary behind our re-designed ‘Giselle (2016).’ Peter was one of the world’s most sought-after classical ballet designers, working with companies like the Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Mariinsky. He was a true artist, who hand painted every rendering,” Orr said. “His designs capture incredible depth and light and will add new dimension to our production. Also with a two-weekend run and an exceptionally talented roster, we will have several exciting Odette/Odile interpretations from different dancers to look forward to.”

“Swan Lake” originally premiered in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and was revived by Petipa and Ivanov in 1895.

From the ballet itself to books, films and fashion inspired by it, “Swan Lake” has captured the public imagination for over 100 years. Its choreography exemplifies classical technique – including its famous ballet en blanc swan scenes –  but the undulating port de bras of the swans adds its own mystique to the classical vocabulary.

The ballerina’s dual role of Odette/Odile, commonly referred to as White Swan/Black Swan, is one of the most iconic in the repertoire, demanding technical mastery and emotional range to morph from vulnerable and pure Odette to audacious and deceptive Odile. Thematically, these polar-opposite personalities symbolize a battle between good and evil. Choreographically, they also contrast. Odette is fluid and ethereal with the delicate carriage and rippling swan arms that are a signature of the ballet. Odile is virtuosic, demanding attention with a series of heart-pumping jumps and turns, including the famous 32 fouettes of Act 3.  

In the story of “Swan Lake,” the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart turns the princess Odette into a swan with a curse that only true love can break. She can only return to her human form by night, which is when she encounters Prince Siegfried during a hunting expedition. The pair fall in love, but Von Rothbart intervenes. He sends his daughter, Odile, to impersonate Odette and deceive Prince Siegfried into declaring his love to the wrong woman, throwing the lovers’ fates into limbo.

Tickets start at $28, and are available at www.pbt.org, 412-456-6666 or by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.

Performance Times

  • Fri., Feb. 16 – 8 p.m.

  • Sat., Feb. 17 – 2 p.m.

  • Sat., Feb. 17 – 8 p.m.

  • Sun., Feb. 18 – 2 p.m.

  • Fri., Feb. 23 – 8 p.m.

  • Sat., Feb. 24 – 2 p.m.

  • Sat., Feb. 24 – 8 p.m.

  • Sun., Feb. 25 – 2 p.m.

Theater Programs
Audience members are invited to join the artists for a series of pre- and post-show programs at the Benedum Center. These programs are free and open to all ticket holders unless otherwise noted.

Performance Preview | Fri., Feb. 16, at 7 p.m.
A pre-show discussion with Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr 

Family Pointe | Sat., Feb. 17, at 1 p.m. 
An entertaining pre-show program, designed for all ages, featuring costumed characters and dance activities. Reservations requested at 

Insights | Sat., Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. 
A pre-show discussion with PBT artistic staff members, who share historical and cultural context for the production. Reservations requested at 

Talks with Terry | Sun., Feb. 18, at 1 p.m.
Audience members can watch a few minutes of the company’s onstage warm-up class, then Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr previews the ballet and conducts a Q&A. 

Ballet Adventures | Sat., Feb. 24, at 12 p.m. 
A pre-performance opportunity for children ages 5 to 13 to warm up, learn basic ballet steps and try out modified choreography from “Swan Lake.” Located at the Trust Arts Education Center, 805 Liberty Ave. Fee: $25 plus ticket purchase. Additional details and registration information available at 

Audio-described performance | Sun., Feb. 25, at 2 p.m. 
A live narration of the ballet for patrons with vision impairments. Additional details are available at 

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