The Ugly Duckling

Victoria Ballet Company

Libretto

Act 1

It is the crack of dawn; time for the little chicks in the poultry yard to wake up. All mother hens, ducks, turkeys, birds and mother rabbits are busy with their newborn offspring. Only a small, lonely ugly duckling is neglected by everyone. While all the moms play with their young ones, she wishes she could find her own family so badly, her parents or siblings, but no one recognizes her as their own.
A wise old hen is the head of the entire poultry yard; she invites everyone to celebrate the first birthday of the chicks and baby animals. A big parade with all the youngsters is quickly organized – each mother proudly watches as their children participate in wonderful dances. Cheerful peasant girls with baskets on their hands join in the dancing to celebrate the wellbeing of the big poultry yard family, and the good harvest. Only the poor sad duckling is left out and is overlooked by everyone, except for Mr. Fox and his partner, Ms. Fox. Mr. Fox has had the duckling on his sights for a long time now and can hardly wait to snatch it! In the parade’s commotion nobody notices as he and Ms. Fox sneak up and attack the poor ugly duckling – they hurt its wing but the duckling manages to escape!
Loud noises are heard – all the mothers chase Mr. Fox and Ms. Fox who seem to have stolen something from the poultry yard. The mothers catch and punish them severely, Mr. Fox and Ms. Fox run away in shame and everyone celebrates their triumph over the predators. They all dance and party together – except for the ugly duckling, who is left all alone. Suddenly, torrential rains and thunder scare everyone away. The ugly duckling is left alone crying and as she falls asleep she thinks: “I am alone, alone in the whole world. I am so ugly that nobody wants me.”

Act 2

The cold and severe winter arrives. The pond where the Duckling likes to swim is almost frozen solid. The Duckling is sad because she doesn’t have a family to keep her warm like the other younglings. Her wing has not healed, and therefore she can’t fly. But every day the Duckling looks into the pond which mirrors her changing appearance. She cannot fly yet, but can flap her wings which are becoming stronger and stronger every day. Once, she is startled awake, and feels that somebody is behind her. The Duckling looks back and – oh horror – she sees Mr. Fox in a sheep’s skin hungrily looking at her. The poor Duckling wants to fly away but cannot take wing. She wants to run but her legs are paralyzed with fear. Mr. Fox almost gets the Duckling, when suddenly, big beautiful birds attack the Fox and save the panic stricken Ugly Duckling. They surround her and calm her down. “Fly with us to beautiful warm countries” they say to the duckling. “But I cannot fly, I don’t know how” the duckling tells them. “Just try! You are like us. You are a Swan! You will fly like us. Look into the water and see that you are as beautiful and strong as we are” they reply. The Duckling looks in the water and cannot believe it when she sees a beautiful big Swan. She flaps her wings and suddenly she starts flying high, very high in the sky. As she soars in the sky she thinks: I am so happy, I found my family. I love the world, and the world loves me! And I am flying!

The end