Von Rothbart is a character in the ballet Swan Lake, the antagonist of the story, rarely seen in human form, mostly appears as a giant owl. He is a powerful evil sorcerer who casts a spell on Odette that turns her into a swan every day and returns her to human form at night. The reason for Rothbart's curse upon Odette is unknown. When Rothbart realises that Odette has fallen in love with Prince Siegfried, he tries to intervene by tricking Siegfried into declaring his love for his daughter Odile, disguised as Odette. The plan succeeds, yet in the end, Rothbart is not triumphant. When Siegfried and Odette make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of their love by throwing themselves into the lake, Rothbart's powers are overcome and he is destroyed. However, his fate is different in some versions, as there are productions where Rothbart is triumphant and survives.
Rothbart or Rotbart is a German surname, derived as a nickname for someone with a red beard, from Middle High German rot "red" and bart "beard".
Artwork by Yang Mansik.