With its fairy tale story of a beautiful princess, a passionate prince, and the evil spell that threatens their happiness together, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake was composed in 1875 as a commission by Vladimir Petrovich Begichev, the head of the Russian Imperial Theatres in Moscow. Like The Nutcracker, Swan Lake was unsuccessful after its first year of performance. Conductors, dancers and audiences alike thought Tchaikovsky's music was too complicated and difficult to dance to. The production's original choreography by German ballet master, Julius Reisinger, was considered uninspiring and unoriginal. After Tchaikovsky's death, the ballet was reconceived by legendary choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. This version, most familiar to today's audiences, has become one of the most beloved full-length ballets of all time.