Let’s begin with a story about a tragic love–Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake.
It is believed Tchaikovsky’s enchanting ballet is based upon a German folktale entitled The Lake of Swans. Although I can’t find the actual fable, I did find a Wikipedia page tying the ballet to the story. It matters little what source Tchaikovsky used for his ballet; only that the story is beautiful, the music sublime, and the ending haunting.
Here’s the story as told in Tchaikovsky’s ballet: (Taken from the Detroit Opera’s website)
Prince Siegfried, who on a hunting trip, encounters a flock of swans, He falls in love with the Swan Queen, Odette, and swears his allegiance and undying love to her. As a result of a curse by the evil sorcerer Baron von Rothbart, Odette can only take human form between midnight and daybreak. Only faithful, true love can break the spell. This love is expressed in the White Swan pas de deux, danced to one of the most familiar sections of the music, and is both gentle and tender. (Although my favorite is the last dance — more on that later.)
During this pas de deux, Odette’s timidness and sense of fear of the Prince transitions to acceptance of his love and hope for the future.
To prevent his spell from being broken, von Rothbart transforms his own daughter, Odile, to look exactly like Odette. Dressed in black, she is presented to Price Siegfried at his birthday party, and he thinks she is actually his beloved Odette. (Seriously, Odette is a white swan!!)
Swan Lake doesn’t end well. Thinking she is his Odette, Prince Siegfried swears his love for Odile, (Men can be such fools.) both destroying his future with the Swan Queen and dooming her to death. In most productions, the prince, distraught, commits suicide by jumping into the lake.
In the end Odette and Siegfried fly to that great lake in the sky.
Here’s my favorite part of the ballet.
Yes, yes, I know. I can hear the chorus: ‘River Lady, what does Swan Lake have to do with your life on the Concord River?’
Patience, my dear. I’m getting there.
There was a pair of Mute swans that visited my corner of the world each spring. They would glide along the water as gracefully as any prima ballerina.
Many people don’t realize that swans mate for life. If one of the swans dies, the other will remain without a mate for his or her remaining years. Very rarely a female who has lost a mate will find a male in a flock of swans but without a flock, she has no chance. And a male without a mate is destined to spend his days swimming and longing.
In 2022 someone shot and killed one of the pair of swans that grace the waters of the Concord River. That person is a bastardo.
I wonder what drives the cruelty in humans but that’s a topic for another posting.
This post is about tragic love for it is tragic when an animal must spend its remaining days longing for a mate that will never return.
A form of love? Perhaps.
But most certainly a cruel joke on Mother Nature’s part. Shame on her.
Blessed be :}
Mi manchi, mia amata immortale.