Odette’s Crown

Avant Projekts presents Odette’s Crown, a theoretical epilogue to the 1877 version of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Music/Libretto: Dannielle McBryan
Choreography: Anneke Belman

Odette: Jennie Harary
Siegfried: William Byram
Musicians: Dactyl Duo (Caroline Sonett, flute & Dannielle McBryan, oboe)
Videography: Jordan Tetewsky

Ending of original 1877 version of Swan Lake:

In tears, Odette tells her friends that Siegfried did not keep his vow of love. Seeing that Siegfried is coming, Odette’s friends leave and urge her to go with them, but Odette wants to see Siegfried one last time. A storm begins. Siegfried enters and begs Odette for forgiveness. Odette refuses and attempts to leave. Siegfried snatches the crown from her head and throws it in the lake, saying “Willing or unwilling, you will always remain with me!” “What have you done? I am dying!” Odette says, and falls into Siegfried’s arms. The lake rises from the storm and drowns Odette and Siegfried. The storm quiets, and a group of swans appears on the lake.

Synopsis by Roland John Wiley

Our epilogue:

Odette stands just before the lake without feeling the force of the rain and wind in the furious storm. Suddenly, Siegfried runs out of the woods, towards the lake. Odette cannot move not move. Siegfried begs for her forgiveness and that she come back to him, but even in her pity, her heart is too broken. Odette tries to run away, but he chases and catches her. “Willing or unwilling,” he says, “you will remain with me!” and then takes the crown from her head and throws it into the lake.

Without her crown, Odette becomes vulnerable. She feels herself slipping and, with the pain in her heart and hollowness in her soul, passes away in Siegfrieds grasp. The lake gushes past the banks and consumes them both.

* * * *

Slowly, Siegfried regains consciousness. Down on the ground near him wis Odette. She is completely limp.  He tries to awaken her, but she remains unresponsive.  He begins to explore. After a while, he notices a faint silhouette. He reaches over to pick it up, discovered it is Odette’s crown. He becomes excited and picks it up off of the ground. With eagerness he walks over to Odette’s body.

Nervously, he sets the crown back upon her.  He waits there silently. He touches her skin, but he lurches back in horror as he finds it is as cold as ice.

Realizing that Odette is gone forever, Siegfried resolves that he can not live with his regret. He lifts the crown towards his chest, directs the point at his heart, and, in his lament, plunges it as deep as he can.

Siegfried never knew such agony. He tries to remove the crown, but it is stuck within him. There is a snap and he quickly pulls out the crown.The tip is missing, but he is in so much pain that he can not think. He tries again. This time, however, the crown will not break his skin.

In his heart is the tip of Odette’s crown, which, in her lifetime, warded off fatality from her darkness. Siegfried can not breath, but no matter how much time passes, he remains awake. Without a thought left in his mind, he crawls over to Odette’s frozen body and wraps himself around her.

Dannielle McBryan