In his ballet – premiered in Stuttgart, Germany, on November 4, 1978 – John Neumeier uses the tragic 19th-century story of the courtesan Marguerite Gautier and her lover Armand Duval, as told by Alexandre Dumas jr., reflecting it against the fate of another equally doomed couple from the earlier century, the courtesan Manon Lescaut and her lover Des Grieux. In the enthrallingly dense choreography of great dramaturgical subtelty, Neumeier intertwines literary, historical and social themes with Frédéric Chopin’s music, namely excerpts from his 1st and 2nd piano concertos, the Grande Fantaisie op. 13, the Grande Polonaise brillante op. 22, and many more. The Largo from the B-minor sonata op. 58 serves as a leitmotif to the whole dramatic action.
Choreography and direction John Neumeier
world premiere: Stuttgarter Ballett, 4th November 1978
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