Long before our story begins, Odette, a beautiful princess, falls under the spell of Fate, a wicked sorceress...
Act 1 - Scene One
It is Prince Siegfried's twenty-first birthday and he is celebrating with friends. The Queen Mother arrives to give him his present, a crossbow, and reminds him that, as he is to become King, he must choose a bride at the ball the next evening. She leaves, bidding him to enjoy himself, but reminding him again to think about his royal obligation to be wed. Siegfried, realizing that his carefree days are at an end, leaves the party at the height of the festivities to seek the solace of the woods. Lots of woodland creatures try to cheer him up to no avail. Siegfried prefers to be alone.
Act 1 - Scene Two
Lured by Fate, Siegfried finds himself on the banks of a mysterious lake. In the shimmering patches of moonlight on the water, visions of swan maidens rise up before him. Siegfried catches sight of Odette, the most beautiful of the maidens. He is spell-bound, deeply struck by her beauty. At long last, he has found his romantic ideal of love. He swears to Odette that he will love her forever and be faithful to her.
Act 2 - Scene Three
Prospective brides-to-be are arriving, Princesses and their entourages from the different kingdoms in Europe. The Prince must choose one of them to be his wife. But Siegfried can think of nothing but Odette and his meeting of her. He dances in an offhand way with the princesses. Not one of them can compare to his ideal. Suddenly, Fate arrives at the ball accompanied by a ravishingly beautiful young girl and a suite of black swans. It is Fate and Odile, pretending to be Odette. Siegfried hurries towards Odile. Fate is putting the Prince's sentiments to the test. Siegfried is enchanted by Odile who manages to disarm him of all his doubts. He announces Odile to be his chosen bride. At this very moment, a vision of the beautiful Odette appears before the assembled company. Siegfried realizes that he has become a plaything in the hands of Fate. Hoping to atone for his betrayal, he rushes in despair after the receding image of the white swan.
Act 2 - Scene Four
Night-time. Siegfried's conscience is deeply troubled; he hurries towards Odette begging for her forgiveness. Odette forgives the Prince. The Prince and Odette's love for each other conquers the doings of Fate and Odette is transformed back into a maiden and vow their eternal love for each other. The entire castle celebrates with a glorious wedding.