Virtual Museum

Swan Lake

Rothbart mask

Von Rothbart headpiece designed by Kay Ambrose (1961). Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.

National Ballet Founder and Artistic Director Celia Franca created the National Ballet’s first full-length Le Lac des Cygnes (Swan Lake) after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, with set and costume designs by Artistic Advisor Kay Ambrose. The four-act production premiered at the Palace Theatre in Hamilton on January 19, 1955 featuring Lois Smith as Odette/Odile, David Adams as Prince Siegfried and James Ronaldson as Von Rothbart. 

CBC filmed this production and it aired on December 12, 1956. Following some variations to the choreography and set and costume designs, CBC filmed it again and aired it on December 18, 1961. 

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Top image credit: The National Ballet of Canada tutus on display. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.