Which ballets were composed by Tchaikovsky?

Swan Lake
PacificNorthwestBallet/Flickr

Question: Which popular ballets were composed by Tchaikovsky?

Answer

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was one of the greatest Russian composers of all time. He wrote the music for some of the most famous ballets, including three of the most popular classical ballets:

  • Swan Lake: First performed in 1877, Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky's first ballet score. Even though the ballet failed in the beginning, it is now one of the most popular of all ballets.
    The popular classical ballet tells the tale of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. While hunting, Prince Siegfried sees an amazing swan. He takes aim to shoot, but the swan turns into a beautiful woman named Odette. She tells the prince that she is a princess who has come under the spell of an evil sorcerer. During the day she must be a swan and swim in a lake of tears. At night she is allowed to be a human again. The spell can only be broken if a prince promises eternal fidelity to her. She tells Prince Siegfried that if he refuses her she must remain a swan forever. Prince Siegfried falls in love with Odette, but an evil sorcerer puts a spell on him, making him accidentally propose to another woman. Princess Odette threatens to kill herself and throws herself into the lake. The Prince feels sorry and jumps into the lake with her. The couple become lovers in the afterlife.
  • The Sleeping Beauty: First performed in 1890, The Sleeping Beauty was Tchaikovsky's first successful ballet. The Sleeping Beauty tells the story of the timeless fairy tale based on a deep sleep interrupted by the kiss of a prince. The evil Carbosse curses baby Aurora. The curse states that on her 18th birthday the princess will prick her finger and die. However, the Lilac Fairy weakens the curse. She proclaims that instead of dying, Princess Aurora will fall into a deep sleep for 100 years. She will then be awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince.

    During Aurora's 16th birthday party, a mysterious guest (the evil Carbosse) offers her a gift...a lovely spindle. Aurora pricks her finger and the whole court falls into a deep sleep.

  • The Nutcracker: First performed in 1892, The Nutcracker was Tchaikovsky's final ballet. The Nutcracker tells the story of a fascinating Christmas dream of a young girl named Clara. The Nutcracker has become the most famous ballet of all time. Clara receives a wooden nutcracker as a gift from her godfather. During the night, the nutcracker transforms into a handsome prince. The prince takes Clara on a magical journey to the Land of the Sweets where they are entertained by many delicasies including the Sugar Plum Fairy. Clara awakens with the wooden nutcracker, wondering if the journey had been only a dream.

     

     

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    Bedinghaus, Treva. "Which ballets were composed by Tchaikovsky?" ThoughtCo, Mar. 4, 2017, thoughtco.com/ballets-composed-by-tchaikovsky-1007138. Bedinghaus, Treva. (2017, March 4). Which ballets were composed by Tchaikovsky? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ballets-composed-by-tchaikovsky-1007138 Bedinghaus, Treva. "Which ballets were composed by Tchaikovsky?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ballets-composed-by-tchaikovsky-1007138 (accessed November 20, 2017).