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Manon/Lady of the Camellias

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perhaps the best reply is "not that much" as they dwell on different centuries and social worlds.

in current repertory, MANON by Macmillan and THE LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS by John Neumeier, have credits as follows:

Manon: Chor: Kenneth MacMillan; mus: Jules Massenet (various works, but not from his opera Manon) orch. & arr. by Leighton Lucas, with collaboration of Hilda Gaunt; lib: based on the book by the Abbé Prévost; scen & cos: Nicholas Georgiadis. First perf: London, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Mar 7, 1974, Royal Ballet

Kameliendame: Chor: John Neumeier; mus: Frédéric Chopin (various piano works); lib: based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils; scen & cos: Juergen Rose. First perf: Stuttgart, Württembergisches Staatstheater, Nov 4, 1978; Stuttgart Ballet.

as you can see the literary sources are different as are the settings.

you can probably find details of the ballet's backgrounds on the Royal Ballet and Hamburg Ballet sites respectively.

each has a title/leading role for a female dancer, who in the individual narratives of the two ballets dies tragically at the end, both having lived their lives partly as courtesans.

there are operas related to both subjects, MANON LESCAUT and LA TRAVIATA, respectively, as well as other ballets, esp. in the case of the latter, focussed on these subjects, but the ones listed above are prominent in contemporary ballet repertories.

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at one point in LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS the novella, MANON LESCAUT, is read by the character(s) in LADY but there are no characters with these names in the play or the novel or the ballet. Manon Lescaut and Des Grieux are acutal characters only the story of Manon, on the printed page and on the stage in the ballet.

you might look for synopses of both the Prevost MANON and Dumas LADY/CAMELLIAS to get a sense of the characters involved in each.

p.s. if this is for a research project of any sort, please be aware that Ballet Alert is not in the business of providing such research.

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RG, I am not asking anyone to perform research. My confusion arose because I read the following notes from the library on ABT.org's website regarding "Lady", which I reviewed in anticipation of purchasing tickets:

"Lady of the Camellias was given its World Premiere by the Stuttgart Ballet at the Weurttemberg Staatstheatre, Stuttgart, Germany on November 4, 1978, danced by Egon Madsen (Armand Duval), Marcia Haydée (Marguerite Gautier), Birgit Keil (Manon Lescaut) and Richard Cragun (Des Grieux).

John Neumeiers original staging of Lady of the Camellias received its United States premiere by the Stuttgart Ballet at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D. C. on May 15, 1979, with the same cast.

John Neumeier revised Lady of the Camellias for the Hamburg Ballet; this version premiered on February 1, 1981 with Marcia Haydée as Marguerite and Kevin Haigen as Armand. This production made its United States premiere at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, California on February 13, 2007.

The revised production of Lady of the Camellias was given its American Ballet Theatre Company Premiere on May 25, 2010 at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York danced by Julie Kent (Marguerite Gautier), Roberto Bolle (Armand Duval), Gillian Murphy (Manon Lescaut) and David Hallberg (Des Grieux)."

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ah my apologies for my bad memory - you make sense - i don't.

i completely forgot that in a memory/dream scene Neumeier's LADY presents the characters of Manon and des Grieux in reference to the fact that the characters of LADY have been reading Prevost's telling of the story of Manon Lescaut.

sorry to have utterly muddied this thread by misremembering the latter work.

so to answer you simple question: yes, in Neumeier's LADY there is a passing interconnection between the story of Manon and his choreographic telling of the story of the Lady of the Camellias.

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Now I understand. Thank you. I have rented DVDs of "Camille" and "La Traviatta" and will read the "Lady" book prior to the ballet, but I am unsure if I should make time to read "Manon" in advance, as well. I am still trying to work through "Apollo's Angels" and a primer on ballet in advance of the ABT performance.

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having now located my house prog. from LADY last year i have scanned the synopsis, which i hope is clear.

my first thoughts here were toward sorting out the subjects overall in the ballet repertory and not just Neumeier's in particular.

now that i realize the subject is Neumeier's ballet, these particulars are surfacing, slowly.

as the synopsis shows, the Neumeier ballet includes a ballet-within-the-ballet (of MANON) once early in the action and again near the end, as an actual ballet performance and as a hallucination.


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rg, I watched "Camille" this weekend and thought you would be interested to learn that in the movie, Armand buys the book, Manon, for Marguerite as a birthday present. The movie was very sad and moving, but the ballet, as described in the program notes that you posted, sounds even more compelling.

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