The production, from 1987, is by Anthony Dowell – one of Ashton’s own dancers and a former Director of the Company Ashton did so much to shape – and uses the classic choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, set to one of Tchaikovsky’s most memorable scores. Yolanda Sonnabend’s designs suggest the Fabergé world of imperial Russia and enhance its romantic tale of frustrated love. During a hunting expedition, Prince Siegfried is enamoured of Odette who has been transformed by the evil Von Rothbart’s spell into a swan by day, returning to her womanly form only at night at the lakeside. With Siegfried’s love – the love of one who has never loved before – the spell can be broken. But Siegfried is tricked into declaring his love for Von Rothbart’s daughter Odile disguised by magic as Odette, and all seems lost. Siegfried and Odette finally break the power of evil by drowning themselves in the lake to be united in death for eternity.

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