Program booklet »Die Kameliendame«

Page 1

lady of the camellias

The Vienna State Ballet is part of the Vienna State Opera and Vienna Volksoper

lady of the camellias

Ballet by John Neumeier in one prologue & three acts after the novel La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils For Marcia Music Frédéric Chopin Choreography & Direction John Neumeier Musical Direction Markus Lehtinen Stage & Costume Design Jürgen Rose Light Design Ralf Merkel Staging Kevin Haigen, Janusz Mazon, Ivan Urban Piano Michał Białk / Anika Vavić Igor Zapravdin Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera WORLD PREMIERE 4 NOVEMBER 1978 – STUTTGART BALLET – WÜRTTEMBERGISCHES STAATSTHEATER PREMIERE VIENNA STATE BALLET 24 MARCH 2024 – VIENNA STATE OPERA

Timoor Afshar (Armand Duval), Ketevan Papava (Marguerite Gautier)

about today’s performance “I was deeply moved to finish reading this beautiful novel, whose only fault is that it is too short”, George Sand wrote in 1851 to her friend Alexandre Dumas fils about the work he had published three years earlier, La dame aux camélias. It is no surprise that the writer, who led a notorious life and advocated the rights of women, would be pleased by the story of Marguerite Gautier and Armand Duval. For this not only tells the fascinating love story of the two leading characters that ends in tragedy, Dumas fils also attempted to criticise the social conventions of his time – under which he himself suffered as an illegitimate child and that concerned him as the lover of the historical figure on which Marguerite was based, Marie Duplessis. However, what is most compelling about the novel is its remarkable structure: “Dumas knows his craft, he knows how to create tension and the plot is skilfully structured. A well-thought out strategy of guiding the readers enables him to reconcile contradictory elements: the courtesan receives all the reader’s sympathy and pity, without Armand having to seem like a despicable villain at the end. […] Dumas knows very well that his heroine, who has conquered the readers’ hearts not least through her poignant farewell letters, cannot be sacrificed cold-bloodedly by her lover to save his social position – and he has a solution for this. Armand only discovers the reasons for Marguerite’s actions afterwards – and even then filtered through the intermediary perspective of the courtesan who approves of her own self-denial”, Michaela Messner, who translated the novel into German for dtv, writes in her afterword. The life and downfall of the courtesan acting selflessly out of true love still enchants people to this day and has inspired countless artists to engage with this material: Dumas’s fils own theatre version, in which actresses such as Sarah Bernhardt shone, would become one of the theatre world’s greatest successes of the 19th century.



Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La traviata and a film version with Greta Garbo both took the story as their model. The heartbreaking fate of Marguerite and Armand has also inspired a variety of choreographers to create dance and ballet interpretations. Alongside Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, above all John Neumeier’s story ballet Lady of the Camellias is firmly anchored in cultural memory and the ballet canon. Following the tragic death of the choreographer John Cranko in 1973, Neumeier promised Cranko’s prima ballerina Marcia Haydée that he would continue to create ballets for Stuttgart Ballet. Two years after Haydée took over the directorship of the Stuttgart company, he began work on Lady of the Camellias in 1978 – suggested by a dinner with Haydée, as Neumeier had originally planned to choreograph a Shakespeare ballet based on Antony and Cleopatra. The cast was made up of the stars of the ensemble: Haydée as Marguerite, Egon Madsen as Armand, Birgit Keil as Manon Lescaut and Richard Cragun as Des Grieux. “The form of the whole novel, the multiple layers of its indirect narrative style, its poetic power and the fragmentary nature of its retrospective gaze inspired me to make this ballet”, John Neumeier explained, pointing out the filmic dimension inherent in the novel, which he made use of in his ballet through its rapid shifts in time. Neumeier never lost interest in making a dance film of Lady of the Camellias and therefore in 1987, nine years after the world premiere in Stuttgart, he produced his own film version of the ballet: “I conceived Lady of the Camellias as a ballet, but I had always thought of it as a film”, the choreographer explained. With his version of Lady of the Camellias, Neumeier not only succeeded in creating one of the most notable artistic dance versions of the novel, but also one of the leading story ballets of the 20th century. Treating Frédéric Chopin’s music as a partner, the work delights not only through its subtle storytelling and multiple levels created by “play within a play” elements but above all through the dramaturgy of the characters’ movement. As an “illustrator of emotions”, of mental states, who is continuously interested in the human condition, the choreographer is capable of creating the story and depicting the characters purely through dance. The characters express their social and psychological motivations and manifold emotions in movements and glances. While on the one hand the passion and growing love between the couple is tangible in every step of Marguerite and Armand’s pas de deux, on the other the duet between Monsieur Duval and Marguerite is marked by distant body language and silence that makes the audience shiver. As “dance by human beings for human beings” Neumeier always choreographs their inner human expression as well as the external cosmos that his characters inhabit. With the premiere of Lady of the Camellias another of Neumeier’s masterpieces takes its place in the Vienna State Ballet repertoire. The artist has been associated with the Vienna State Opera since 1977 and – following the world premiere of Joseph’s Legend – has staged several works with the ensemble, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Daphnis and Chloë and Le Sacre. The acclaimed stage and costume designer Jürgen Rose also continues his successful relationship with the house on the Ring with his designs for Lady of the Camellias. 5


synopsis The ballet takes place during an auction. The story evolves as a series of memories recalled from various points of view – Armand’s, his Father’s, and Marguerite’s. All actions during the auctions are indicated in italic.

Prolog Marguerite Gautier, once the most desirable courtesan in Paris, has died. The complete furnishing of her luxurious apartment are to be disposed of by auction. Carrying Marguerite’s diary, Nanina, her loyal servant, bids the place farewell. Among those inspecting the items is Monsieur Duval, whose son Armand rushes in frantically. Overcome by memories, he collapses.

Act 1 As Monsieur Duval comforts him, Armand tells his story. It begins in the Théâtre-des-Variétés, during a performance of the ballet Manon Lescaut, in which the famous rococo courtesan deceives Des Grieux with numerous admirers. In the audience, Marguerite Gautier is disgusted by Manon’s frivolous infidelity. Armand Duval, who has long admired Marguerite, is introduced to her by Gaston Rieux. Marguerite makes fun of Armand’s awkward sincerity. As he follows the ballet, Armand fears that his own future may reflect Des Grieux’s sorrowful fate. After the performance Marguerite invites Armand to her apartment along with his friend Gaston, the courtesan Prudence and her own escort, the wearisome young Count N. Annoyed by the jealous Count, Marguerite suffers a coughing attack. Armand follows her to her bedroom, offers his assistance, then confesses his love. Marguerite is moved by his sincere passion. However, aware of her fatal illness and needing the comfort of luxury, she insists that their affair must remain secret. While Marguerite continues to lead her hectic life, hastening from one ball to another, from one admirer to the next, from an old Duke to the young Count, Armand is always there – waiting. When Marguerite departs for the idyllic country house the Duke had put at her disposal – he follows her.



Act 2 Marguerite’s summer straw hat promps Armand to resume his story … Surrounded by reveling friends and ardent admirers, Marguerite continues her turbulent life in the country. With the inevitable confrontation between Armand and the Duke, Marguerite’s moment of decision arrives. She publicly acknowledges her love for Armand. Armand and Marguerite are alone at last. Armand’s father recalls with regret his part in the story. Ashamed that his son is living with a prostitute, Monsieur Duval visits Marguerite in the country. He insists that her relationship with his son will ruin Armand. Shocked, Marguerite protests, but the image of Manon and her admirers appear in memory, a mirror image of her own past, confirming the truth of Monsieur Duval’s accusations. He demands that she leaves Armand. Out of deep and sincere love, Marguerite complies. Armand tells his father how he found the house deserted. He waits in vain until Nanina brings him a letter saying that Marguerite has returned to her former life. Unbelieving, Armand runs to Paris, finding Marguerite in the arms of the Duke.

Act 3 Armand explains to his father how they met later on the Champs-Élysées. Marguerite is accompanied by the beautiful young courtesan Olympia. To have his revenge on the woman who had so deeply wounded him, Armand flirts with and seduces Olympia. Deathly ill, Marguerite visits Armand, begging him not to hurt her by flaunting his affair with Olympia. Their passion ignites once more. Falling asleep, a vision of her alter ego Manon beckons Marguerite back to her former life. Waking, she remembers her promise to his father and silently leaves Armand for the second time. At a grand ball, Armand publicly humiliates Marguerite by handing her money as payment for past services. Marguerite collapses. Armand has reached the end of his story. He will never see Marguerite again. Deeply moved, his father leaves, as Nanina returns and gives Armand Marguerite’s diary. Reading, Armand seems to accompany Marguerite on her last visit to the theatre. Again she views a scene from the ballet Manon Lescaut. This time it is one in which Manon, impoverished like herself, dies in the arms of her faithful lover Des Grieux. Ill and despairing, Marguerite leaves the theatre, but the characters from the ballet follow her into a feverish dream. As the phantom lovers blend with her own memories, her identification with Manon seems complete. Deserted and longing to see Armand again, Marguerite confides her last thoughts to the diary, which she gives to Nanina for Armand. Marguerite dies alone. Armand silently closes her diary. 7



“Dance is the living embodiment of emotions.”



it is about human beings


He was once Germany’s youngest ballet director and now he is bidding farewell as the longest-serving director of all time. The American John Neumeier has spent the vast majority of his 85 years in Hamburg and run Hamburg Ballet for over half a century – longer than any choreographer has run a major company, including his famous colleagues Marius Petipa and George Balanchine. Even those who do not know his 170 works have to admire what he has achieved with his company – including a school, a ballet centre, the National Youth Ballet, a foundation and a ballet museum to come. An empire on this scale might arouse suspicion among those associated with the independent sector and the avantgarde, along with Neumeier retaining pointe shoes and story ballets. However, anyone who leaves aside their place in dance history and just watches his works will surely be able to recall at least one image that went straight to their hearts: the way the weeping clown Petrushka marches off to the World War with the soldiers in Nijinsky, the way all the angels hover in mid-air at the end of Dritte Sinfonie von Gustav Mahler, the way King Ludwig drowns in his blue canopy in Illusions – like Swan Lake or the way that an incredulous hope appears on the face of the Lady of the Camellias and love drags a lost woman out of her sickness and into death.



John Neumeier is the great storyteller among contemporary choreographers. He has not only tirelessly supported literary ballet as a genre, he has perfected it and enriched it with so many themes, ideas, techniques and subtle details. He has created wonderful roles for several generations of dancers and enabled many of them to surpass themselves. In a dance world that has concentrated more and more on pure movement, John Neumeier with his extensive education, his meta­physical background and his adherence to the great human themes like creativity, love, illusion and death, has remained one of the few philosophers among choreographers. Although at times his vocabulary is far removed from that of classical ballet, although he often works with contemporary music, Neumeier remains true to his own original style and leaves exploring new forms of movement to his colleagues. He will leave behind him a huge and splendidly documented legacy of pieces, many of which have become part of ballet’s international heritage and are danced from Paris to San Francisco, and from Moscow to Sydney. When he took up his post in Hamburg in 1973, John Neumeier was not exactly given a warm welcome. The newspapers carried headlines of “Scandal!” and the audience was outraged: the acclaimed new Ballet Director recruited by Artistic Director August Everding had fired a great many dancers. Pictures from that time show an angry young man with wild, shoulder-length hair: Neumeier was not always the elegant grand seigneur, at ease with himself: back then the mood was seething. The young American had come to the house on the Alster via Stuttgart, where for a few key years he had been one part of John Cranko’s “ballet miracle”, and four short years as Director of Frankfurt Ballet, propelled by the spirit of radical change that Cranko’s success had sent cascading through the ballet companies of all German-speaking countries at that time. With his first ballet workshop Neumeier quickly established a direct connection with the Hamburg public, which has since turned into a heartfelt love. His grandfather was originally from Germany, hence the surname. John Neumeier was born in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, the son of a ship’s captain. He learnt to paint, draw and dance and would later study literature and theatre studies. The widely divergent influences that helped to form the later dancemaker included film musicals of the 1950s along with a theatre-obsessed Jesuit and the modern dance rebel Sybil Shearer. Neumeier came to Europe on a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London, where he discovered the English and Danish ballet traditions. He was recruited for Stuttgart in London in 1963 by Cranko’s young prima ballerina Marcia Haydée. Less than twenty years after the war had ended, he moved to what had been enemy territory, to a rather conventional Swabian town where foreign dance artists were met with an astonishingly open audience and a creative atmosphere. Neumeier had choreographed his own pieces while still at dance school, and in Stuttgart he was immediately included in the annual Noverre matinees for Young Choreographers. Neumeier would forgo a career as a soloist to become a choreographer – at least that is how Marcia Haydée remembered the fine young dancer. Hamburg audiences will remember him as Romeo and Christ in the St. Matthew Passion, and until a few years ago he was still appearing on stage in his own Bernstein Dances. 11


Was it the deeply rooted culture of old Europe that fascinated John Neumeier or Germany’s reawakening as a cultural nation? Certainly the fact that theatre funding could be relied upon and that both the citizens and the state valued culture was a factor. In any event, what the American found here convinced him to spend the rest of his life in Germany, just as his compatriot and colleague William Forsythe would do a few years later. Both wanted to do something decidedly different from the abstract neoclassicism of George Balanchine that dominated the aesthetics of American dance both then and now. Just like Neumeier, a young woman from Solingen also took up a new job in September 1973: Philippine Bausch, known as Pina, took over the direction of the dance department of the opera house in Wuppertal. The great storyteller and the icon of German dance theatre both laid the foundation stones of their historic dance empires at the same time. Exactly like Neumeier, Bausch secured a broad and loyal audience and both would go on to free their ensembles from subservience to the opera house and gain their own artistic independence. Both of them took German dance and spread it around the world. With great creativity and his own particular sense of duty, from now on John Neumeier would create evening-length ballets in Hamburg, “Gesamtkunstwerke” based on literary sources or great works of music, often producing two or three of them per year. While Pina Bausch made use of collage, Neumeier regularly accepted the challenge of choreographing a symphony or an oratorio as a complete whole. Subtle principles run through his œuvre: everything seems to be communicating with everything else. There are Tchaikovsky classics, Shakespeare ballets, his Mahler symphonies, ballet settings of Bach and Mozart, the ancient Greeks and other sagas and artistic biographies. He frequently tells stories of a life-long search for a homeland and love: he shows deep empathy for the suffering and hopes of lonely figures such as Odysseus, King Arthur, Parsifal, Peer Gynt, King Ludwig II, Gustav von Aschenbach, Marguerite Gautier, the Amazon-like nymph Sylvia or the Little Mermaid. The well-read choreographer not only captures great, expansive epics in a tight dramaturgy, he is equally adept at adapting wordy stage plays into dialogues in dance. Neumeier’s Shakespeare ballets range from A Midsummer Night’s Dream with its glorious comic situations and works that are rarely set as dance such as Twelfth Night to a very modern Othello with shouting soldiers and a tender love scene in extreme slow motion. The choreographer had a lifelong preoccupation with the Danish prince Hamlet: as early as 1976 he had Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing “to be or not to be” in New York. His adaptations span a wide arc from Russian literature via works written in German such as Franz Molnar’s Liliom to the brutal rape in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire. The most famous of his works and also the most beautiful of his literary ballets is Lady of the Camellias, created in 1978 for Marcia Haydée in Stuttgart and since danced by all the great companies from New York to Moscow. His works repeatedly revolve around dance itself, being set in ballet studios or using ballet as a metaphor – he turns the writer in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice into a dancemaker, just like Drosselmeier in the Nutcracker. He transforms Chekhov’s actors from The Seagull into dancers.



All these story ballets are deeply rooted in the European theatre and ballet tradition: together with John Cranko and Kenneth MacMillan, John Neumeier played a decisive role in shaping the form of modern dance drama and he is now one of the last great storytellers among the great choreographers. His commitment to classically-based dance brought him early criticism and, in the political debates about the direction dance should take, his style was described as belonging in a museum. He pursued his personal mission as an artist unaffected by ideologies, believing in classical ballet and in the traditions of the great ballet companies. For Neumeier, there is always a truth in humanity’s famous sagas, in its epics, novels and dramas, that is worth retelling – in the best Shakespearean tradition he laughs and cries along with the people. Even if his movement contains elements of modern dance, everyday gestures and sometimes even speech, this does not make Neumeier a revolutionary: in purely choreographic terms he does not smash up any steps or invent a new aesthetic, he develops and adapts and everything is focused on the content of the work. When he was a student in Milwaukee, John Neumeier had got to know the Jesuit priest John Walsh, who became an important mentor to him. The choreographer, who describes himself as a “Christian and dancer”, began dancing to works by Johann Sebastian Bach very early on, starting with the concertos and suites. The St. Matthew Passion followed in 1981, which was presented as a kind of danced service in Hamburg’s St. Michael’s Church. Neumeier said of the score: “The great lesson of this work is how people should treat each other.” His religious ballets also include Handel’s Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, Bach’s complete Christmas Oratorio, staged as an outsider’s search for faith, and recently the prayer for peace Dona nobis pacem to Bach’s Mass in B minor. To begin with, the choreographer had to hear himself accused of sacrilege for dancing to church music, but his critics soon recognised the deep religious fulfilment that this dance expresses. John Neumeier choreographed eight of Gustav Mahler’s ten symphonies, Das Lied von der Erde and some of this other works. The Austrian composer, whose works were also considered sacrosanct from dance during the 1970s, has inspired the choreographer like no other composer: “Mahler takes us to places that are rooted deep inside us.” The results were non-narrative, but highly emotional ballets: it might not have been possible to tell their drama in words, but it was clear to the eye. A few years ago the choreographer produced two great evenings inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven, and Neumeier has also frequently commissioned new music from Lera Auerbach, Alfred Schnittke, George Couroupos and Michel Legrand. For all his religious faith and European intellect, deep down Neumeier has remained an American and loves the music of his youth, especially Leonard Bernstein. The choreographer directed two musicals in Hamburg and devised ballet revues, also featuring the music of George Gershwin. If it is possible to speak of a great love out of all the lonely, doubting and searching characters in his ballets, then it is Vaslav Nijinsky. The legendary ballerino, member of the Ballets Russes and choreographer of the scandalous Le Sacre du Printemps, once inspired poets and became the key guiding figure in the artistic life of the Ham 13


burg Ballet Director. His works repeatedly focus on this dance god, who lapsed into schizophrenia at the height of his fame. In his magnum opus Nijinsky Neumeier views this tragic fate against the background of the First World War and presents this conflicted human being through the mirror of his famous roles – with the empathy that only someone who loves dance more than anything else in the world can offer. Little John had already read his first book about Nijinsky by the time he was ten and over the course of his lifetime he collected everything – absolutely everything – he could find about this icon: photographs, statues, letters and accounts, original costumes and especially the dark, mysteriously symmetrical drawings he made when he was mentally ill. Now Neumeier lives in the midst of all his memories: his home contains the world’s largest collection of Nijinsky memorabilia. The John Neumeier Foundation, which he established in 2006, will preserve his life’s work and this huge ballet collection for the city of Hamburg. More forward-thinking than practically any of his earlier colleagues, Neumeier has gone to considerable lengths to record and document his ballets. Back in his Stuttgart days John Neumeier also designed his own sets and when not collaborating with great artists like Jürgen Rose, he often served as his own designer. As a librettist, director and choreographer, he is a gifted all-round artist who has developed a massive array of storytelling techniques – reflections, doublings and multiplications, symbolic and dream figures, flashbacks. Anyone coming from the old school of fairy tale ballets, used to mime and non-narrative dance scenes might at first have difficulties with this. However, the beginning of the Lady of the Camellias is the perfect example of how Neumeier introduces the characters, tells their backstory and sets up both a love story and a conflict, all within a few minutes: with the auction as a framing story with symbolic pictures such as the dress and sunhat, and the two lonely central characters being reflected in the fates of the theatrical figures Manon and Des Grieux. His dance often presents a familiar literary story from an entirely different point of view: every movement in his choreographic language expresses an emotion. John Neumeier’s achievement within the history of dance can hardly be underestimated: for decades he has awakened a love of ballet in countless people. To this day he never stops explaining his art in workshops and promoting the understanding of ballet in general. He has won every prize the dance world has to offer, as well as high state honours and orders. The true reach of his work is demonstrated by other awards, such as the Erich Fromm Prize as an “Ambassador of Humanity” or the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize, whose dedication stated: “In his works, John Neumeier embodies and lives the highest human ambitions and humanity per se.” Whether choreographing Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion or the works of Gustav Mahler, he has always thought his ballets through down to the last detail, grasped the subtlest emotions of the music and found a connection with the present that we live in. With him, dance always indicates something more than pure steps and beautiful lines. It is about human beings and their search for love and meaning.



Timoor Afshar (Armand Duval), Ketevan Papava (Marguerite Gautier)

Brendan Saye (Armand Duval), Olga Esina (Marguerite Gautier)

Hyo-Jung Kang (Manon Lescaut), Marcos Menha (Des Grieux)

Davide Dato (Armand Duval), Elena Bottaro (Marguerite Gautier)


“It was impossible to see more charm in beauty than in that of Marguerite ... Set, in an oval of indescribable grace, two black eyes, surmounted by eyebrows of so pure a curve that it seemed as if painted; veil these eyes with lovely lashes, which, when drooped, cast their shadow on the rosy hue of the cheeks; trace a delicate, straight nose, the nostrils a little open, in an ardent aspiration toward the life of the senses; design a regular mouth, with lips parted graciously over teeth as white as milk; colour the skin with the down of a peach that no hand has touched, and you will have the general aspect of that charming countenance. The hair, black as jet, waving naturally or not, was parted on the forehead in two large folds and draped back over the head, leaving in sight just the tip of the ears, in which there glittered two diamonds, worth four to five thousand francs each. ... How it was that her ardent life had left on Marguerite’s face the virginal, almost childlike expression, which characterized it, is a problem which we can but state, without attempting to solve it … Marguerite was always present at every first night, and passed every evening either at the theatre or the ball. Whenever there was a new piece she was certain to be seen, and she invariably had three things with her on the ledge of her ground-floor box: her opera-glass, a bag of sweets, and a bouquet of camellias. For twenty-five days of the month the camellias were white, and for five they were red; no one ever knew the reason of this change of colour, which I mention though I cannot explain it; it was noticed both by her friends and by the habitue’s of the theatres to which she most often went. She was never seen with any flowers but camellias. At the florist’s, Madame Barjon’s, she had come to be called ‘the Lady of the Camellias’, and the name stuck to her.”



What are your strongest memories of the process of creating Lady of the Camellias with Stuttgart Ballet? JN

Rehearsals started at the beginning of the season. Marcia Haydée returned from the summer break later, so I began by creating the “Blue Ball” with the corps de ballet. The choreography for the group is very ambitious. I was extremely clear – not about the steps but about what this scene was about and how it expressed that. It was a first challenge to the ensemble, which needed that after the summer break. Then I started working with the soloists a few days later. We created the scene in which Marguerite and Armand are alone for the first time in her boudoir. I was still very impressed by the novel and choreographed the pas de deux in a single rehearsal. After that I never did it again. You once said of Dumas’s fils novel La dame aux camélias: “One arrives at the truth through a variety of perspectives.” What inspired you to create a ballet from this story? JN

For a novel that was written in the middle of the 19th century, La dame aux camélias is incredibly modern – above all through the fact that we do not discover the story chronologically, but from different perspectives. For example, firstly through Armand, who wants to buy the book Manon Lescaut – the same copy that he had once given to Marguerite – from the narrator, who had acquired it at an auction.



He falls ill and tells his story while he is recovering. Another section is told by Armand’s father. And we find out how the story ends from Marguerite’s diary. I was very excited by these changes of perspective because I was looking for new possibilities for constructing an evening-length ballet – I still am. Although the subject is taken from the 19th century, I did not want to use the classical form of the 19th century story ballet, I wanted to find a different approach. The difficulty in ballet is that we have no way of making it clear that we are seeing something in the past or the future purely through movement. We share the body, this wordless instrument, with our audience: this makes direct contact possible, but certain subtleties that the written text has, for example its ability to play with grammatical forms, the possibility of three-dimensional verbal images, are harder to achieve in dance. So I was looking for layers, so that the characters were not represented in stark terms, but acquired a deeper, human dimension. To do this I used certain tricks in which one places different versions of the present side by side and compares them with each other. This makes the production more poetic and its rapid scene changes are reminiscent of film as an art form. Also establishing Manon as a character, which is also suggested in the novel, was an important starting point for me. How does the Marguerite – Manon relationship change during the piece? JN

Here again I was inspired by the novel. To begin with, Armand gives Marguerite the Manon book with a dedication. But she is annoyed about it, because Marguerite thinks that Manon would have behaved differently if she were truly in love. We learn a lot about Marguerite’s thinking from that. She is a sick woman who sees luxury as consolatory convenience and would rather die in comfort than in poverty. This is why she does not want to fall in love – but she understands the meaning of true love. At the beginning she compares herself with the character of Manon and denies any connection. But in her confrontation with Monsieur Duval she wonders whether she might not be a “Manon” after all. In the end, though, we discover her touching grief from her diary, when Marguerite expresses a certain jealousy about the fact that Manon could at least die alongside her beloved Des Grieux. For me that shows something very human in this woman’s thinking. In your version of Lady of the Camellias you concentrate intensely on the fate of the protagonists, on the love between Marguerite and Armand. How do you represent their social circumstances? JN

For one thing through a very extensive corps de ballet, but also through contrasting characters like Prudence and Olympia. The group represents a world. Marguerite dances in this world, ergo she belongs to this world. But what is different about her? If Marguerite is placed alongside Prudence and Olympia, the difference becomes evident. But first we have to discover and know her world in order to understand that Marguerite belongs in it and at the same time does not belong in it. The corps de ballet has a decisive function in creating this world. 21


The choreographies for the corps de ballet are also very lively and reactions to events happen through the dancing and not just purely through an arranged mise-en-scène in the background. JN

That’s right, and for me it was always very important. The world of the corps de ballet has a special language. There are very classical movements and steps, but through the particular form of the ports de bras and the body postures, there are suggestions of a sensuality, an erotic aspect. In Act Two, after Marguerite has chosen Armand, this world, that she actually belongs to, vanishes. And the audience does not see it again until Marguerite leaves Armand to protect him and his family. You have selected music exclusively by Frédéric Chopin for the ballet – with particular prominence given to the 2nd Piano Concerto in Act One and the Largo from the B minor Sonata, which is constantly repeated as a leitmotif-like “love theme”. What do these two compositions mean for you within Lady of the Camellias? JN

The Largo is the core of the piece and is repeated in the ballet several times. We hear fragments of it in the prologue and at the end. The greatest turning point happens when Marguerite confesses her love for Armand. The Largo is then heard for the first time in full in the pas de deux “in the countryside”. While the composition is beginning, during its introduction, everything around the couple disappears, love is detached from time and space. The Largo is important and represents the single, brief period of happiness during her life. The Piano Concerto combines two significant aspects of Chopin: firstly he composed for salons, which were typical of the 19th century. It is music that was pleasing, that is exciting and that also describes the society of that time in music. Secondly it deals with his illness. The second movement contains an intimacy and underlying melancholy that reflect this view and that also form part of the subtext for Marguerite. Lady of the Camellias marks a significant point in your collaboration with Jürgen Rose. Before Lady of the Camellias Jürgen Rose and I had created the productions The Nutcracker and Illusions – like Swan Lake together. So we had already studied the 19th century and Lady of the Camellias completed this. We asked ourselves how this specific time can be represented in abstract terms. Jürgen is a fanatic – in a positive sense – and at the same time he is someone who sets to work without being at all egotistical. He is less interested in making his costumes and set designs more beautiful than anyone else’s than whether they make it clear what we want to say with the play.




When the ballet is restaged, as it is now in Vienna, do you still change things? JN

I’m always changing my pieces. But those changes are mostly a form of clarification. Once one gets older, one should learn from experience and be in a position to express what one has wanted to say for 45 years better and more clearly. So there aren’t fundamental changes, the concept of the ballet always remains the same, it’s more about nuances. And working with specific dancers also has an influence on me. The Viennese casts for Marguerite and Armand are very different both physically and in terms of personality, so I use that. It’s like working on a text: one doesn’t have to alter it to give it a different colour, but it depends on how it is spoken. I will always view my works critically as long as I live. Is the work still relevant and truthful? Or is there another way of doing it? If I have the feeling that yes, there is, then I have to change it. What do you look for in a dancer when casting the roles of Marguerite and Armand? JN

To dance Marguerite, the dancer has to be able to make a form of vulnerability visible. That has nothing to do with height or age but with a charisma. Can I believe, whatever steps she happens to be dancing, that she is doomed to die? Can I read that in her movement and her expression? Then I have to feel a dialogue, a chemistry between Marguerite and Armand. Armand is devoted and at the same time – this is also present in Dumas’s text – he knows what he is doing and what he wants. That strength has to be clear for Marguerite. The externalities of the relationship can be interpreted in different ways. And the age difference is interesting, too. The historical model for Dumas fils, Marie Duplessis, was 23 years old. So there are different readings, but the human interaction between Marguerite and Armand is decisive. That’s why I travelled to Vienna several times for casting. I put couples together and changed them again because the chemistry was better or the physical interplay was more harmonious or more exciting. That’s another thing that excites me about my work and repeated new encounters with a ballet like Lady of the Camellias: there are so many possibilities.



Figurines by Jürgen Rose for Lady of the Camellias

sequence of the works by frédéric chopin Prologue Excerpt from Largo from the Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 (1844)

Act 1 Concerto for piano & orchestra No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 (1829) Maestoso – Larghetto – Allegro vivace

Act 2 Valse No. 1 in A flat major from Trois Valses Brillantes, Op. 34 (1835) Trois Ecossaises, Op. 72 (1826) Valse No. 3 in F major from Trois Valses Brillantes, Op. 34 (1835) Largo from the Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 From 24 Préludes, Op. 28 (1836–1839) No. 2 in A major No. 17 in A flat major No. 15 in D flat major Excerpt from Largo from the Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 From 24 Préludes, Op. 28 No. 2 in A minor No. 24 in D minor

Act 3 From Grande Fantaisie sur des airs polonais for piano & orchestra in A major, Op. 13 (1828) Largo ma non troppo – Andantino – Vivace Ballade G minor, Op. 23 (1831–1835) Grande Polonaise brillante précédée d’un Andante spianato for piano & orchestra in E flat major, Op. 22 (1830–1831/1834) Romance from the Concerto for piano & orchestra No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 (1830) Excerpt from Largo from the Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58




“Strange how music sometimes organises for me the uncontrollable and instinctive abundance of my thoughts.” “Chopin is a composer I love very much and to whom I feel very close, not only from the emotional side, but also from the purely musical side in the way I perceive time. His musicality is very similar to mine in choreography.”

“ dances, not of the body, but of the soul” ANNE DO PAÇO

In February 1848, the same year in which Alexandre Dumas fils published his novel La dame aux camélias, Frédéric Chopin gave his last public concert together with the violinist Delphin Alard, the cellist Auguste-Joseph Franchomme and two vocalists in the Paris salon of the piano maker Pleyel. The critics were in raptures, with the Gazette Musicale writing of “the secrets of a piano playing that has no equal on this earth.” Once again the elite of Paris society had gathered to celebrate an artist who they had praised like very few others since his first performance at the Pleyel salon on 25 February 1832 – not least because Chopin avoided large stages in favour of the more intimate salons and made each of his appearances an exclusive event. Now even agreeing to this kind of performance had required the persuasion of a number of friends as Chopin had sunk into a deep crisis. The writer George Sand had ended their nine-year relationship in the summer of 1847. His state of health had seriously deteriorated due to a prolonged bout of tuberculosis. And with the February revolution in Paris, that had ended the July monarchy with the proclamation of the Second Republic and forced the “citizen king” Louis-Philippe to flee to England, Chopin who – unlike Franz Liszt – was by no means a virtuoso at earning money and resisted marketing his talents in large concert halls, had lost an important part of his livelihood. Not only a great many artists, but also most of the aristocracy, from which Chopin had until now been able to recruit his well-paying



piano pupils, had left Paris in these unruly times that had put a rapid end to the huge economic boom marked by rampant industrialisation and a “Get Rich Quick” attitude. In order to regain control of his finances, in April 1848 Chopin agreed to undertake a seven-month tour of England, but this did nothing to improve his condition. In September he wrote to his friend Wojciech Grzymała: “I am sad, and the people bore me with their needless concern. And I cannot breathe and cannot work either. I feel lonely, lonely, lonely, even though I am surrounded by people.” The travelling took such a toll on him physically that after he had returned to Paris he was unable to recover from his exertions. Chopin died on 17 October 1849 at the age of 39. For some time he had been increasingly turning his back on public life, ultimately seeing the piano as his only true partner – even speaking of it as his “second self”. Solo works became his preferred means of self-expression, whether in small character pieces, virtuosic études, pensive and lyrical trains of musical thought, often deliberately left as fragments, or dances, which his unique touch was capable of elevating from the ballroom into an art form. Robert Schumann already recognised in the Trois Valses Brillantes, Op. 34 from 1835 “salon pieces of the noblest kind”, which – still bearing the brilliance in their title – were “dances not of the body, but of the soul”, and turned the waltz into a genre that – in the words of musicologist Barbara Zuber – “in the midst of a society, which was obsessed with dancing and in which the gallops and waltzes break in like an apocalyptic vision [...], express contradictions such as introspection and worldliness, emotion and reflection, ardent enthusiasm and elegant aloofness”. “Not for dancing” was the instruction that the young Chopin had written on a package of mazurkas and a waltz he sent home to his family in Warsaw. However, his music would repeatedly move subsequent generations to dance and continues to do so today. In 1893 it inspired Michel Fokine’s ballet Chopiniana, that he later reworked into Les Sylphides for the Ballets Russes. In 1904 Isadora Duncan’s Chopin dances aroused the minds and provoked loud protests with her “use of masterpieces that their author never intended as dance music”. And if the contemporary critics are anything to go by, even the ballet Chopin’s Tänze, that Josef Haßreiter presented in 1905 as a pleasing choreographic “dessert” to a production of the two one-act operas Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci at the Vienna Hofoper using an orchestral version of Chopin’s piano works was nothing for musical purists. Such objections certainly would not interest a choreographer like Jerome Robbins. With The Concert (1956), Dances at a Gathering (1969), In the Night (1970) and Other Dances (1976) he created four different Chopin ballets that still remain in the repertoire of all the great ensembles. Choreographers including José Limón (Mazurkas, 1958), Hans van Manen (Ajakaboembie, 1971), Marie Chouinard (Les 24 Préludes de Chopin, 1999), Martin Schläpfer (24 Préludes, 2008), Alexei Ratmansky (24 Préludes, 2013) and Thierry Malandain (Nocturnes, 2014) – to name but a few – have drawn inspiration from the composer’s works. However, two works in particular demonstrate just how well Chopin’s music is suited to the dramaturgy of ballet theatre: Frederick Ashton’s 40-minute literary ballet A Month in the Country based on Ivan Turgenev’s comedy, first performed in 1976, and John Neumeier’s Lady of the Camellias from 1978. 31


An entry in John Neumeier’s diary reads: “The idea of choreographing Lady of the Camellias to the music of Frédéric Chopin comes from the conductor Gerhard Markson […]. I was thrilled by the thought of Chopin because I love this composer very much but have never choreographed anything to his music.” Neumeier also began to be interested in “Chopin’s life in the shadow of a fatal illness” and its connections with the Lady of the Camellias: “He led a double life just like Marguerite – he was the focal point of the Paris salons, sought after by the society that he ‘fed’ with his music. At the same time he had this deep, this sick side to him.” In collaboration with Markson, Neumeier made a well-balanced selection of Chopin’s works, integrating some of his major works along with less well-known earlier compositions. Chopin was just 19 years old when he composed his F minor concerto in Warsaw, followed shortly afterwards by its sister work in E minor, which was the first to be published and is therefore still referred to as No. 1. The F minor concerto is one of Chopin’s most personal works, reflecting his effusive feelings for the singer Konstancja Gładkowska as well as the resignation and disappointment that followed them, as Chopin confessed to his friend Tytus Woyciechowski in October 1829: “At the piano I say things I only tell you from time to time”, he writes in a letter. “Perhaps to my misfortune I have met my ideal, to whom I have been devoted for six months without saying a word to her about my feelings. She has inspired me to the adagio of my Piano Concerto in F minor […]. No one will learn anything of this except you. It is unbearable when one is depressed and cannot relieve oneself of that burden.” The poetry and lyricism of the second movement, composed in free lyric form, does indeed sound like a “song of the heart” with its singable yet hymn-like theme which the piano circumnavigates and decorates with trios, series of trills and fast runs to create entirely original sound effects before the setting darkens in the middle section as a result of a tapestry of ghostly tremolos from the strings. The concerto opens in the violins with a theme whose lyrical melancholy is effectively killed by powerful orchestral chords before these subside as unexpectedly as they appeared. The secondary theme introduced by the woodwind section also erupts in a fortissimo before vanishing again in the softest pianissimo in order to make way for the entry of the piano. This leaps into the fray spanning five octaves, leaving no doubt about who is going to be playing the lead role from now on. In the finale, dreamlike lyrical and virtuoso passages meet dance-like elements in the forms of a free rondo and in this movement Chopin does include the Polish national dance, the mazurka. Chopin repeatedly integrated the music of his homeland into his works, either through its dance forms or melodies from folk songs or other composers, such as in his Grande Fantaisie sur des airs polonais in A major op. 13 for piano and orchestra, composed in 1828 while still a student at the Warsaw Conservatoire. Chopin himself described the work as a “potpourri of Polish themes” and quoted the Polish folk song Już miesiąc zeszedł psy się uśpiły (The Moon Had Set) as well as a theme from an opera by Karol Kurpiński – an elegy on the death of the Polish independence leader Tadeusz Kościuszko – leading briskly into the folk dance kujawiak. While the folk music and dances of Poland represented a musical homeland for Chopin, his use of them also had political implications, which his audience at the time




“A certain attitude and a certain irresistible decency emanated from this person who was taken so early by death. She lived apart, but not in a quiet and serene environment, but in a place where everything gets lost ... Alas, she too was just a wasteful ornament, a fantasy, a frivolous toy that shatters at the first impact – a dazzling product of a society in decline, a bird of passage, a sun for a few minutes ... So this particular woman was on the sidelines – in the middle of Parisian passions.” FROM THE PREFACE TO THE NOVEL LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS BY ALEXANDRE DUMAS FILS

would certainly have understood. The polonaise, which formed the basis for his Grande Polonaise brillante in E flat major op. 22 composed in 1830/31 – originally an aristocratic dance of social self-dramatisation that became extremely popular in Western Euro­ pean courts in the 18th century – had by 1830/31 become the music of the Polish uprising against Russian rule, whose failure gave rise to a wave of emigration from Poland. Chopin too turned his back on his homeland forever, but the polonaise remained a symbol of resistance intellectually linked with the cause of independence. In 1834 Chopin prefaced his Grande Polonaise brillante with a nocturne-like Andante spianato (“spianato” means simple or unaffected), dedicating the work to his pupil Baroness d’Est and performing it at a benefit concert for the conductor François-Antoine Habeneck at the Paris Conservatoire in April 1835 that would be his last large-scale concert in Paris. He had already written to his friend Titus Woyciechowski on 12 December 1831: “I do not know whether there is anywhere with more pianists than here; I also do not know whether there is anywhere with more idiots and virtuosi than here.” He stopped making himself endure the Paris performances that some of his colleagues used to boost their own image and frequently degenerated into actual brawls. As a pianist, Chopin abandoned the large concert stage and ended the period he had spent travelling, which had also been a time of self-discovery. As a composer, he turned to a more individual style he had already hinted at in his two piano concertos: virtuoso gestures such as those found in the brilliant concerts of his contemporaries Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles and Friedrich Kalkbrenner and which Chopin himself had displayed so enthusiastically in 1826 as a 16-year-old in his Trois Ecossaises op. 72 would from now on only provide a protective shell around the intimate and fragile emotions that occupied the centre of his works. With the Ballade op. 23 published in 1836, Chopin probably transposed the familiar literary genre to instrumental music for the first time. According to Robert Schumann, he was inspired to do so by the Lithuanian Ballads of the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz – a claim for which no proof has been found. What is more probable is that, aside from programming motives and specific textual references, it is his search for a form to accommodate narrative and dramatic mood passages that not only allows the music a free, sweeping poetic mood, but also permits a seamless mixture of subtle lyricism with dark, passionate drama that lies behind the Ballade in G minor. The 24 Préludes op. 28 contain some of the highlights of his œuvre and represent one of the signature works of the aesthetic of Romantic piano music. Chopin wrote them between 1836 and 1839 and they contain deliberate references to the Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach, whom he admired so much – albeit with very different results. “There are sketches, the beginnings of études, or, if you prefer, ruins, single eagle’s feathers, all completely mixed up together. But ‘Friedrich Chopin wrote this’ is delicately inscribed in pearls on every piece”, is how Robert Schumann reviewed the series of twenty-four pieces that are entirely different in character, length and technical difficulty in 1839. The Prélude No. 2 in A minor is a sombre meditation suffused with piercing pain with its chromatic harmonics based on the tritone and major seventh and a motif that employs the first four notes of the Dies Irae sequence. The Prélude



No. 15 in D flat major, composed on Mallorca, probably received its name “The Raindrop Prélude” from George Sand, who heard non-musical associations in the piece that the composer denied, as the writer herself admitted: “He even became annoyed when I talked about tone painting and repudiated such simplistic musical imitations of acoustic ideas strongly and justifiably.” The A major Prélude No. 17 is a joyous exclamation while No. 24 in the deadly key of D minor is marked by a brooding atmosphere that only brightens briefly: trills, arpeggios and cascading scales descend on a rumbling five-note pattern like flashes of lightning. Chopin only wrote three piano sonatas, however, they are sufficient to prove his mastery of this classical form. The B minor Sonata op. 58 was written 1844 at George Sand’s country estate in Nohant and is one of the leading works in the genre from the 19th century. Between the largely proportioned framing sections that shift between pathos and introspection, and a brief, hurried scherzo, after some mighty opening chords the largo opens out with a bewitchingly beautiful “song” into a nocturne-like meditation. For John Neumeier this third movement of the B minor sonata became a kind of leitmotif that runs through the whole of his Lady of the Camellias, sometimes reduced to a fragment, then woven in full form like a continuous thread running through a series of works that the composer had not intended for dancing, but whose brilliant colours and range of characters are so full of dance gestures that they evoke them like memories of something lost long ago – and as a result can provide a compelling eveninglength score for Lady of the Camellias as the memories of a lost love told through dance.



Andrés Garcia Torres (Eugène), Ketevan Papava (Marguerite Gautier), Duccio Tariello (Édouard), Giorgio Fourés (Arthur)

Ketevan Papava (Marguerite Gautier), Hyo-Jung Kang (Manon Lescaut), Men’s Ensemble

Ketevan Papava (Marguerite Gautier), Timoor Afshar (Armand Duval)

Tomoaki Nakanome (Manon’s Suitor), Hyo-Jung Kang (Manon Lescaut), Marcos Menha (Des Grieux)

Ketevan Papava (Marguerite Gautier), Eno Peci (Monsieur Duval)

Timoor Afshar (Armand Duval), Elena Bottaro (Olympia)

Timoor Afshar (Armand Duval), Ketevan Papava (Marguerite Gautier)

MARKUS LEHTINEN – Musical Direction Markus Lehtinen studied conducting and piano at the Sibelius Acade­ my Helsinki as well as composition with Aulis Sallinen and Einojuhani Rautavaara. He began his international career after winning the Nordic Conducting Competition in 1987 with engagements at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen and the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki as well as regular appearances at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm. From 1999 to 2002 he was chief conductor of the Jyväskylä Sinfonia, and from 2002 to 2006 principal guest conductor of the Malmö SymfoniOrkester. The list of opera houses where Markus Lehtinen has conducted is long, starting with his debut at the Hamburg State Opera in 1993 with Prokofiev’s ballet Cinderella, which established a regular collaboration with John Neumeier and the Hamburg Ballet that continues to this day. Further engagements have taken him to the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Bunka Kaikan concert hall in Tokyo, the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg and the Opera Carlo Felice in Genoa, as well as to renowned orchestras such as the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, the Philharmonie Baden-Baden, Sinfonia Lahti, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. As an expert in contemporary opera, Markus Lehtinen has conducted numerous world premieres, including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Caroline Mathilde (Copenhagen), Rodion Shchedrin’s Lolita (Stockholm), George Couroupos’ Ulysses (Athens and Hamburg) as well as Aulis Sallinen’s Kuningas lähtee Ranskaan and Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Aleksis Kivi at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, which named him Artist of the Year in 2005. From 1993 to 2006, he worked with young musicians as musical director of the Tapiola Youth Symphony Orchestra at the Music Institute in Espoo, touring Europe on numerous occasions and conducting other youth orchestras in Scandinavia. Markus Lehtinen has been professor of Opera at the Sibelius Academy since 2004. He also works as an accompanist and coach and teaches masterclasses. His work as a conductor, pianist and composer is documented on several CDs and in numerous recordings for international radio stations. His debut at the Vienna State Opera in 2011/12 with the ballet programme Meisterwerke des 20. Jahrhunderts was followed until 2015 by the premiere of Tanzperspektiven and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet choreographed by John Cranko.



JOHN NEUMEIER – Choreography & Direction John Neumeier was born in Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and received his ballet lessons in his hometown and later in Copenhagen and at the Royal Ballet School London. He also graduated from Marquette University Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Theatre Studies. In 1963, John Cranko engaged him at the Stuttgart Ballet. After four years as ballet director in Frankfurt am Main, where he attracted attention with new interpretations of The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet, he developed the Hamburg Ballet into one of the world’s leading companies from 1973 and the ballet school, which opened in 1978, into a renowned training centre. He has been Intendant of the Hamburg Ballet since 1993. In 2006, he established the John Neumeier Foundation. In 2011, he founded the National Youth Ballet. In his choreographies, Neumeier searches for contemporary forms for the full-length ballet – whether dramatic or symphonic – and places them in the context of the classical tradition in his new versions of story ballets such as The Nutcracker, Illusions – like Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle or Sylvia, created for the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris. In his new creations, including literary ballets such as Lady of the Camellias, A Streetcar Named Desire, Peer Gynt, The Seagull, The Little Mermaid, Death in Venice and Tatjana, he seeks his own narrative structures. His choreographies for Mahler’s symphonies and sacred music by Bach, Händel and Mozart have also been recognized worldwide. His most recent creations include Ghost Light, Hamlet 21, the Beethoven-Projekt II and Dona Nobis Pacem to Bach’s Mass in B minor. Neumeier has worked as a guest choreographer with the American Ballet Theatre, Royal Ballet London, Tokyo Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet and National Ballet of Canada, among others. His work is extensively documented in television recordings, on DVD and Blu-ray. His awards include the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog, the “Ingenio et arti” medal of honour awarded by Queen Margrethe II, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, an honorary doctorate from Marquette University, the German Dance Prize and the Prix Benois de la Danse. Neumeier is a professor in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg and was made an honorary citizen in 2007. His long-standing collaboration with the Vienna State Ballet dates to the world premiere of Joseph’s Legend in 1977, which was followed by numerous other productions and several choreographies for the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert.



JÜRGEN ROSE – Stage & Costume Design Jürgen Rose was born in Bernburg an der Saale and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and at Marlise Ludwig’s drama school in Berlin. In 1959/60, he received his first engagement as a stage and costume designer as well as an actor at the Städtische Bühnen Ulm. From 1961 to 2001, he worked as a costume and stage designer at the Münchner Kammerspiele. This was followed by designs for over 350 productions in the fields of ballet, theatre, opera and operetta in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, London, Paris, Milan and New York as well as at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals. He has worked closely with the choreographer John Cranko on productions such as Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, The Firebird, Onegin, Poème de l’extase and Spuren. Another important partner is John Neumeier, for whom Jürgen Rose created the stage and costume designs for Daphnis and Chloë, The Nutcracker, Illusions – like Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sleeping Beauty, Lady of the Camellias, Peer Gynt and A Cinderella Story, among others. His most recent works for the Stuttgart Ballet include a new stage design for Kenneth Mac­ Millan’s Mayerling and the stage and costume design for Edward Clug’s The Nutcracker in 2022. Since 1996, Jürgen Rose has also directed his own opera productions, including Werther, Norma, Don Carlo and The Cunning Little Vixen at the Bavarian State Opera. Jürgen Rose made his mark on the design of the Vienna State Opera with numerous stage and costume designs: in ballet with John Neumeier’s Daphnis and Chloë, The Firebird and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, in opera with Otto Schenk’s productions of Don Carlo, L’elisir d’amore, Così fan tutte and Die Meister­ singer von Nürnberg, Boleslaw Barlogh’s Salome, Dieter Dorn’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and August Everding’s Parsifal. In 2015, a selection of Jürgen Rose’s complete works was presented in a double exhibition at the German Theatre Museum and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. From 1973 to 2000, he taught as a professor of stage design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Fine Arts.



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Lady of the Camellias John Neumeier Season 2023/24 PUBLISHER Vienna State Opera GmbH, Opernring 2, 1010 Vienna General Director: Dr. Bogdan Roščić Administrative Director: Dr. Petra Bohuslav Director & Chief Choreographer Vienna State Ballet: Martin Schläpfer Financial Director Vienna State Ballet: Mag. Simone Wohinz Editing: Mag. Anne do Paço, Nastasja Fischer MA, Mag. Iris Frey Design & Concept: Fons Hickmann M23, Berlin Image Concept Cover: Martin Conrads Layout & Type Setting: Miwa Meusburger Producer: Print Alliance HAV Produktions GmbH, Bad Vöslau PERFORMING RIGHTS For the choreography © John Neumeier TEXT REFERENCES About today’s performance by Nastasja Fischer, It is about human beings by Angela Reinhardt, the interview Fragments of Love with John Neumeier and “Dances, not of the body, but of the soul” by Anne do Paço are original contributions for this programme. English translations by David Tushingham. Reprint only with permission of the Vienna State Ballet/ Dramaturgy. pp. 6: Synopsis. In: Programme booklet Lady of the Camellias, Hamburg Ballet. Season 2017/18 / p. 8: John Neumeier on the Michel plaque at St Michael’s Church Hamburg / p. 19: Alexandre Dumas fils: The Lady of the Camellias. English translation by Edmond Gosse. London, New York 2004 / p. 29: John Neumeier quoted after: Die Kameliendame. Stimmungen durch die Bewegungssprache des Corps de ballet. In: John Neumeier: In Bewegung. Munich 2008 / p. 33: Jules Janin: Preface. In: Alexandre Dumas fils: La Dame aux camélias. Paris 1852.

PHOTO CREDITS Cover: A camellia (Camellia japonica var.): flowering stem. Coloured lithograph, c. 1850, after Guenébeaud. Wellcome Collection / The scene photos were taken by © Ashley Taylor at the dress rehearsal on 20 March 2024, the studio photos in February and March 2024 / pp. 9, 44 and 45: © Kiran West / pp. 24–27: Figurines for Lady of the Camellias © Jürgen Rose (with many thanks for the permission to print) / p. 43: private. Rights owners who could not be reached are requested to contact the editorial team for the purpose of sub­ sequent legal reconciliation.

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