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RNZB Tours The Ballet Of All Ballets, Swan Lake, In May

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s (RNZB) much-anticipated season of the timeless masterpiece, Swan Lake, will finally take flight in May.

Heralded as the ultimate ballet, this exquisite work has captivated audiences across generations with its unparalleled beauty, emotion, and onstage spectacle. Last seen onstage in 2013, when the RNZB’s performances attracted full houses across the motu, the return of Swan Lake to New Zealand theatres has been eagerly awaited by ballet lovers of all ages.

Swan Lake is the pinnacle of balletic artistry, a testament to the dedication and skill of any dancers who bring its characters to life. Celebrating the talent and technical brilliance of a new generation of RNZB performers, this production, lovingly re-staged by former RNZB Ballet Mistress Turid Revfeim, pays homage to the artistic legacy of former Artistic Director, choreographer and RNZB kaumatua, Russell Kerr.

“We are thrilled to be visiting Swan Lake once again in 2024,” says RNZB Artistic Director Ty King-Wall. “This production holds so many precious memories for generations of New Zealanders. With Russell’s passing in 2022, our season is imbued with even more emotion, as we recognise his incredible talent and honour one of the true luminaries of ballet in Aotearoa. Swan Lake’s themes of hope, deception, betrayal, and forgiveness continue to resonate so powerfully. I know how excited the dancers are to be performing Swan Lake this year, and hope audiences are ready to be swept away to this supernatural, transcendent world with us.”

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In Tchaikovsky’s sweeping score, each note resonates with romance, drawing the audience into a world of opulence and tragedy. Kristian Fredrikson’s lavish costumes, illuminated by masterful lighting designer Jon Buswell, will transport guests from the grandeur of palace ballrooms to the serene shores of the lakeside.

Avis New Zealand General Manager, Bryn McGoldrick says, “We are proud to partner with the RNZB to help bring this extraordinary season of Swan Lake to audiences around the country. The RNZB’s dedication to excellence shines through in their performances, and Avis is delighted to be part of sharing this vibrant experience in New Zealand.”

On performing the coveted role of Odette/Odile for the first time in her 12 years with the national ballet company, RNZB Principal Mayu Tanigaito says, “It is a privilege to get to perform this iconic dual role. Although it is quite late in my career to debut this role, I feel like I have been working towards this my whole career. From performing Odile in competitions as a young teenager, to understudying this role 11 years ago, and since performing both main pas de deuxs, I am very excited to perform the complete role in Russell Kerr's beautiful production.”

Tanigaito’s husband, recently retired RNZB Principal Paul Mathews, will rejoin the company in a character role for the season – Wolfgang, Prince Siegfried’s tutor – a role until now only performed in this production by the late Sir Jon Trimmer.

He says, “I have performed over 50 performances in this production over a variety of roles, but I am excited to perform Wolfgang. I shared many character roles with Sir Jon over my career and we would talk in depth about character development so I will incorporate those gems of wisdom. Reconnecting with the RNZB and honouring Russell Kerr and Jon Trimmer, who both did so much for ballet in New Zealand, was an opportunity that I couldn't turn down.”

The RNZB will collaborate with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in Ōtautahi, and the Auckland Philharmonia in Tāmaki Makaurau to bring this exquisite production, and its iconic score, to magical and mesmerising life.

NZSO Principal Conductor in Residence Hamish McKeich says, “Many would say Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is the most iconic and pure ballet score ever written. Certainly the music is packed with all the drama you’d want, and glorious moments abound with seemingly endless inventiveness. A delight to interpret and I’m looking forward to performing it with the wonderful dancers of the RNZB and live orchestra.”

For more information and to view the full 2024 RNZB program, visit

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