Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the best known masters of the Romantic era. His many works (eighty of which are known by an opus number) were published largely between 1867 and 1893 and include Symphonies, Overtures, Concertos, Chamber music and solo works. Among all of these pieces, Tchaikovsky's three ballets are some of his best recognized works.
Written in 1876 Swan Lake received is debut on March 4, 1877 at the Bolshoi Theater. Tchaikovsky's first ballet, it was inspired by a variety of sources, including a story called "Der geraubte Schleirer" (The Stolen Veil) by German writer Johann Karl August Musaus, the life of Bavarian King Ludwig II, and a Russian folktale known as "The White Duck." The earliest known version of Tchaikovsky's composition was written in 1871. After the world premier at the Bolshoi it was premiered in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theatre on January 27, 1895, over a year after Tchaikovsky's death.The original production was unsuccessful and nearly universally panned by critics. The ballet still received forty-one performances between 1877 and 1883. Fortunately it subsequently received better notices, especially by music lovers world-wide, who as I do love the soaring melodies and the way the music captures the drama of the ballet. His Swan Lake Ballet has never been surpassed for its melodic intensity and instrumental brilliance.