Tchaikovsky was ideally equipped to write the music for the ballet Swan Lake. His gift for vivid theatricality, for lively, memorable melodies, and for rich characterisation was allied to a mastery of dance rhythms. These qualities were augmented by his command of orchestral colour. And yet early performances were disappointingly received. It was only after some structural and choreographic revisions in 1895, two years after the composer’s death, that the work was fully appreciated for the masterpiece that it is.