La Dame aux camélias, Ballet by J. Neumeier
With his ballet La Dame aux camélias, American choreographer John Neumeier reaches for a classic work that has already left a bright trace through several genres and still manages to make it his own. The performance is based on the novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas fils, a monumental piece of literature that also inspired Giuseppe Verdi to create his timeless opera La Traviata. Neumeier’s ballet version takes liberties with its famous source text, but it preserves its essence beautifully and expresses the emotions of its title characters in an inimitable, visceral fashion. La Dame aux camélias debuted on 4 November 1978 at the Württemberg Staatstheater in Germany, performed by the Stuttgart Ballet. Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice revives a truly special dance performance this season.
Taking his cue from Alexandre Dumas’s novel but also from Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, John Neumeier sets about exploring the beauty and tragedy of a doomed love. His main characters are the courtesan Marguerite Gautier and her devoted suitor Armand. As in the famous source text, the slightly older and much more experienced woman is reluctant, even cynical about the liaison at first, but who can resist the advances of true love? Marguerite and Armand engage in a series of adventures across Paris, gradually losing themselves in their blossoming romance. Much like La Traviata’s Violetta and Alfredo or like Manon and Des Grieux from Manon Lescaut, however, harsh reality kicks in, and the dream must come to an end.
The sentimental, highly technical music of Frédéric Chopin is the perfect driver behind Neumeier’s intriguing, eclectic, and intense choreography. Rarely has human emotion found more organic expression than in La Dame aux camélias and the beautiful dance sequences that only a seasoned master like John Neumeier could concoct. This ballet rightfully earns its place next to the other famous works it cites, assuming a well-deserved spot in the neoclassical pantheon. Gran Teatro La Fenice invites you to a very special experience.