A three act ballet based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils
Music FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN
Choreography VAL CANIPAROLI
Costume Design ROBERT DE LA ROSE
Scenic Design DAVID GANO
Act II designed by ROBERT DE LA ROSE
Lighting Design TRAD A BURNS
Staged by CHARLA METZKER WHITELEY
Libretto, Concept & Score NORBERT VESAK & ROBERT DE LA ROSE
Adapted by VAL CANIPAROLI
In 1844, Alexandre Dumas fils began an affair with Marie Duplesis,
one of the most desirable courtesans in Paris.
Marie died of consumption in 1847 at the age of 23.
Dumas turned their liaison into
one of the of the greatest love stories of all time.
Armand casts caution to the wind
as he pursues his passion for Marguerite for
whom love has become her only hope,
But there is a price to pay…
If all the world loves a lover,
Society calls passion to order.
Scene 1: Marguerite’s Drawing Room, Paris
Marguerite returns to her apartment with her guests after an evening at the theatre, accompanied by her escort, the Baron de Varville. There are flirtations and camaraderie, liberally sprinkled with bottles of champagne, and the guests dance their enjoyment. Suddenly, the smitten Armand enters escorted by Prudence, an opportunistic ex-courtesan and milliner.
At last Marguerite succumbs to his advances and invites him secretly to her boudoir after the soiree.
Scene 2: Marguerite’s Boudoir
Summer, A Country Garden, Auteuil
Marguerite and Armand, in the summer of their love, are joined by guests for a picnic and relaxation away from the heat of Paris. The festivities are interrupted by the sudden and unexpected arrival by the Baron de Varville. He demands the return of Marguerite but is frustrated by her rejection and abruptly leaves as the party continues. The happy day has ended. Dusk is falling when Duval Sr., father of Armand, appears unannounced, asking that Marguerite renounce her love for Armand so that he and his family might continue their lives in social acceptability. The ill Marguerite reluctantly agrees and sets forth a plan to delude Armand into believing she no longer loves him and wishes to return to her protector, Baron de Varville.
Scene 1: Autumn, Olympe’s Ballroom, Paris
Olympe is giving a grand party to open the Paris social season. A weakened Marguerite and the Baron de Varville enter. Armand, overwhelmed by the passion of his loss, publicly humiliates Marguerite. The Baron de Varville challenges Armand to a duel; the challenge is accepted.
Scene 2: Marguerite’s Boudoir
In the echoes of her mind, Marguerite witnesses the duel of Armand and the Baron. Ill and alone in her dementia, Marguerite imagines the worst, and envisions the realities and possibilities of the triumph of Olympe, and the realization of her inevitable loss. In her death, she relives the passion of her love and rediscovers her innocence.
Synopsis by Robert de La Rose
World Premiere: February 25, 1994, Ballet Florida, The Raymond Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida. Produced in cooperation with Ballet West and Ballet Florida
Kansas City Ballet Premiere: Friday, February 15, 2019. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri