The Lady of the Camellias

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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.

 

PROLOGUE

Marguerite Gautier, once the most desirable courtesan in Paris, has died. The com- plete 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 h is assistance, then confesses h is love. Marguerite is moved by h is 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 tur- bulent life in the country.

With the inevitable confrontation between Armand and the Duke, Marguerite’s mo- ment 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. Read- ing, 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.

 

PROLOGUE & ACT 1 - 40 MIN.

INTERMISSION - 25 MIN.

ACT 2 - 40 MIN.

INTERMISSION - 20 MIN.

ACT 3 - 50 MIN.

Program and cast

Piano: Anika Vavić, Igor Zapravdin
Musical Direction: Markus Lehtinen
Music: Frédéric Chopin
Choreography, Direction & Lighting Concept: John Neumeier
Stage & Costumes: Jürgen Rose
Lighting Implementation: Ralf Merkel
Rehearsal Direction: Kevin Haigen, Janusz Mazon, Ivan Urban

Photo gallery
Dama cu Camelii
Wiener Staatsballett | Ashley Taylor
© Wiener Staatsballett | Ashley Taylor
Dama cu Camelii 3
Wiener Staatsballett | Ashley Taylor
© Wiener Staatsballett | Ashley Taylor
Dama cu Camelii 2
Wiener Staatsballett | Ashley Taylor
© Wiener Staatsballett | Ashley Taylor

Vienna State Opera

Public Transport
 

Subway lines: U1, U2, U4
Trams: 1, 2, D, J, 62, 65
Buses: 59A
Local Railway: Badner Bahn
Stops: Karlsplatz / Opera

Taxi stands are available nearby.
 

Parking



Parking is only € 6, - for eight hours!

The Wiener Staatsoper and the ÖPARK Kärntner Ring Garage on Mahlerstraße 8, under the “Ringstraßengalerien”, offer the patrons of the Vienna State Opera a new, reduced parking fee. You can park in the Kärntner Ring Garage for up to 8 hours and pay only a flat fee of € 6, -. Just validate your ticket at one of the discount machines inside the Wiener Staatsoper. The normal rate will be charged for parking time greater than 8 hours. The validation machines can be found at the following coat checks: Operngasse, Herbert von Karajan-Platz, and the right and left and balcony galleries.

Important: In order to get the discount, please draw a ticket and do not use your credit card when entering the garage!

After devaluing your ticket in the Wiener Staatsoper you can pay comfortably by credit card or cash at the vending machines.

The machines accept coins and bills up to 50.- Euro. Parking time longer than 8 hours will be charged at the normal rate.
 

History



The structure of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside was designed by interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll. It was also impacted by other major artists such as Moritz von Schwind, who painted the frescoes in the foyer, and the famous "Zauberflöten" (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda. Neither of the architects survived to see the opening of ‘their’ opera house: the sensitive van der Nüll committed suicide, and his friend Sicardsburg died of a stroke soon afterwards.

 

On May 25, 1869, the opera house solemnly opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
The popularity of the building grew under the artistic influence of the first directors: Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn. The Vienna opera experienced its first high point under the direction of Gustav Mahler. He completely transformed the outdated performance system, increased the precision and timing of the performances, and also utilized the experience of other noteworthy artists, such as Alfred Roller, for the formation of new stage aesthetics.

 

The years 1938 to 1945 were a dark chapter in the history of the opera house. Under the Nazis, many members of the house were driven out, pursued, and killed, and many works were not allowed to be played.

 

On March 12, 1945, the opera house was devastated during a bombing, but on May 1, 1945, the “State Opera in the Volksoper” opened with a performance of Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. On October 6, 1945, the hastily restored “Theaters an der Wien” reopened with Beethoven's FIDELIO. For the next ten years the Vienna State Opera operated in two venues while the true headquarters was being rebuilt at a great expense.

 

The Secretary of State for Public Works, Julius Raab, announced on May 24, 1945, that reconstruction of the Vienna State Opera would begin immediately. Only the main facade, the grand staircase, and the Schwind Foyer had been spared from the bombs. On November 5, 1955, the Vienna State Opera reopened with a new auditorium and modernized technology. Under the direction of Karl Böhm, Beethoven’s FIDELIO was brilliantly performed, and the opening ceremonies were broadcast by Austrian television. The whole world understood that life was beginning again for this country that had just regained its independence.

 

Today, the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world; in particular, it is the house with the largest repertoire. It has been under the direction of Dominique Meyer since September 1, 2010.

© Bwag/Commons
© Wiener Staatsballett | Ashley Taylor
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