The Bolshoi Theatre has a very special relationship with Swan Lake and it is not fortuitous that it is this work that often starts off the Ballet Company’s foreign tours. For Swan Lake was born within the walls of the Theatre; it was here on February 20, 1877 that its first performance took place. It has to be admitted that the production (the choreographer was Vatslav Reisinger) was not a great success, though it was to remain in the Theater’s repertory for about six years. And there was no way it could have been a success: for this was the first time ever that music of such symphonic scale, psychological and emotional depth, had been written for ballet. The great Tchaikovsky was ahead of his times.