In what promises to be the foremost event of this ballet season in Poland, exquisite American choreographer John Neumeier, founder and director of the Hamburg Ballet, has graciously authorised the Polish National Ballet to stage his legendary choreography. The Polish premiere of Neumeier?s The Lady of the Camellias, set to the music of Fryderyk Chopin, will take place on 20 April 2018 at the Teatr Wielki ? Polish National Opera.
The story is known to anyone who has heard of the eponymous novel by Alexandre Dumas (fils). The grand love story of the Parisian courtesan Marguerite Gautier and the young aristocrat Armand Duval continues to captivate the hearts of those who subject themselves to its romantic charm. Since 1848, it has been translated into countless languages and remained an iconic melodrama, consistently ranking among the world?s bestsellers. Its dramatic adaptations have been a staple in the global theatre repertoire; Verdi used the story as an inspiration for his Traviata; through the years, the book has also been frequently adapted for the screen.
Dumas?s touching story has also been translated into the language of dance, but The Lady of the Camellias had not become the classic it is considered today before the famous adaptation by John Neumeier. It was Neumeier who associated the romantic love of Marguerite and Armand with the musical quintessence of Romanticism: the music of Fryderyk Chopin. Created in 1978 in Stuttgart, The Lady of the Camellias has been staged by the select few ballet companies. It regularly features in the repertoire of the Hamburg Ballet, while also figuring in those of Opera de Paris, the American Ballet Theatre in New York, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and La Scala in Milan. In each of those venues, The Lady of the Camellias has been presented against the backdrop of its signature scenography deisgned by the outstanding German stage designer Jürgen Rose.
Choreographing The Lady of the Camellias, Neumeier used a number of pieces by Fryderyk Chopin, including Piano Concerto no. 2 in F minor, Fantasy on Polish Themes in A major, Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante in E flat major, among many others. The compositions will be performed live by pianists Krzysztof Jabłoński and Marek Bracha, accompanied by the Orchestra of the Polish National Opera conducted by Grzegorz Nowak. The Warsaw production of The Lady of the Camellias has been developed in collaboration with Neumeier and his three assistants, Kevin Haigen, Janusz Mazoń, and Radik Zaripov.
The Polish National Ballet thus adds a true gem of ballet literature to its repertoire, while also bolstering its production portfolio with another choreography set to the music of the great Polish Romantic composer.
Repeat performances will take place on 21, 22, 24, and 25 April, as well as on 21-24 June 2018.
The Lady of the Camellias
Ballet by John Neumeier in two acts with a prologue
Polish premiere: 20 April 2018
Polish National Ballet, Teatr Wielki ? Polish National Opera
Choreography and lighting design: John Neumeier
Music: Fryderyk Chopin
Conductor: Grzegorz Nowak
Stage design: Jürgen Rose
Assistant choreographers: Kevin Haigen, Janusz Mazoń, Radik Zaripov