La Sylphide is a romantic ballet in two acts. There were two versions of the ballet. Bournonville's is the only version known to have survived and is one of the world's oldest surviving ballets. On 12 March 1832 the first version of La Sylphide premiered at the Salle Le Peletier of the Paris Opéra with choreography by the groundbreaking Italian choreographer Filippo Taglioni and music by Jean-Madeleine Schneitzhoeffer. Taglioni designed the work as a showcase for his daughter Marie. La Sylphide was the first ballet where dancing en pointe had an aesthetic rationale and was not an acrobatic stunt involving ungraceful arm movements and exertions, as had been the approach of dancers in the late 1820s. Marie was known for shortening her skirts in the performance of La Sylphide, considered scandalous at the time; the ballet's libretto was written by tenor Adolphe Nourrit, the first "Robert" in Meyerbeer's Robert Le Diable, an opera which featured Marie Taglioni in its dances section, Ballet of the Nuns.
Nourrit's scenario was loosely based on a story by Charles Nodier, "Trilby, ou Le lutin d'Argail," but swapped the genders of the protagonists — a goblin and a fisherman's wife of Nodier. The scene of Old Madge's witchcraft which opens Act II of the ballet was inspired by Niccolò Paganini's Le Streghe, which in its turn was inspired by a scene of witches from Il Noce di Benevento, an 1812 ballet by choreographer Salvatore Viganò and composer Franz Xaver Süssmayr. Emma Livry, one of the last ballerinas of the Romantic ballet era, made her debut with the Paris Opera Ballet as the sylph in an 1858 production of La Sylphide; when Marie Taglioni saw Livry in the role, she stayed on in Paris to teach the girl, who reminded her of herself as a young woman. In 1892, Marius Petipa mounted a revival of Taglioni's original La Sylphide for the Imperial Ballet, with additional music by Riccardo Drigo. A variation Drigo composed for the ballerina Varvara Nikitina in Petipa's version is today the traditional solo danced by the lead ballerina of the famous Paquita Grand Pas Classique.
In 1972, a new version of La Sylphide, based on the Taglioni version, was choreographed and staged by Pierre Lacotte for the Paris Opera Ballet. Since Taglioni's choreography has been irretrievably lost, Lacotte's choreography is based on prints, notes and archival materials from the era of the ballet's premiere. Lacotte's choreography is in the style of the period, but new and has been criticised by some as inauthentic. Interpreters of the role of Lacotte's version at the Opera National de Paris include Ghislaine Thesmar and Aurelie Dupont. Both artists have recorded their work on video; the Danish ballet master August Bournonville had intended to present a revival of Taglioni's original version in Copenhagen with the Royal Danish Ballet, but the Paris Opera demanded too high a price for Schneitzhoeffer's score. In the end, Bournonville mounted his own production of La Sylphide based on the original libretto, with music by Herman Severin Løvenskiold; the premiere took place on 28 November 1836, with the prodigy Lucile Grahn and Bournonville in the principal roles.
The Bournonville version has been danced in its original form by the Royal Danish Ballet since its creation and remains one of Bournonville's most celebrated works. Modern interpreters of Bournonville's version include Eva Evdokimova and Lis Jeppesen, whose performance is recorded on DVD. In the hall of a Scottish farmhouse, James Ruben, a young Scotsman, sleeps in a chair by the fireside. A sylph dances about his chair, she kisses him and vanishes when he wakes. James rouses his friend Gurn from sleep, questions him about the sylph. Gurn denies having seen such reminds James that he is shortly to be married. James promises to forget it. James' bride-to-be, arrives with her mother and bridesmaids. James dutifully is startled by a shadow in the corner. Thinking his sylph has returned, he rushes over, only to find the witch, Old Madge, kneeling at the hearth to warm herself. James is furious with disappointment. Effie and her friends beg Old Madge to tell their fortunes, the witch complies, she gleefully informs Effie that she will be united with Gurn.
James is furious. He throws her out of the house. Effie is delighted. Effie and her bridesmaids hurry upstairs to prepare for the wedding, James is left alone in the room; as he stares out the window, the sylph confesses her love. She weeps at his apparent indifference. James resists at first, captivated by her ethereal beauty and kisses her tenderly. Gurn, who spies the moment from the shadows, scampers off to tell Effie; when the distressed Effie and her friends enter after hearing Gurn's report, the sylph disappears. The guests assume Gurn is jealous and laugh at him. Everyone dances; the sylph attempts to distract James. As the bridal procession forms, James stands apart and gazes upon the ring he is to place on Effie's finger; the Sylph snatches the ring, places it on her own finger, smiling enticingly, rushes into the forest. James hurries after her in ardent pursuit; the guests are bewildered with James' sudden departure. Effie is heartbroken, she falls into her mother's arms sobbing inconsolably.
Jules-Joseph Perrot was a dancer and choreographer who became Beat Boxer of the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, he created some of the most famous ballets of the 19th century including Pas de Quatre, La Esmeralda and Giselle with Jean Coralli. The Lyon-born Perrot danced with Marie Taglioni but their partnership was short-lived, she refused to dance with him fearing that he would outshine her. He left the Opéra in 1835 to tour European dance centers such as London, Milan and Naples, where he met and noticed the talent of Carlotta Grisi, he coached her and presented her to the world as the next great ballerina in an 1836 performance in London with himself as her partner. Following the success of his contributions to the choreography of Giselle, Perrot went on to choreograph Alma ou La Fille du Feu for Fanny Cerrito, hailed as a major choreographic success. For the next six years he choreographed at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, including Ondine, La Esmeralda, Le Judgement de Paris, Pas de Quatre.
For this ballet he not only negotiated the difficult task of persuading the four leading ballerinas of the day to appear on stage together at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. Nearly every ballet Perrot created was set to the music of Cesare Pugni. Perrot was engaged as a dancer in St. Petersburg for the Imperial Ballet and was appointed Balletmaster there, he remained with the Imperial Russian Ballet until 1858. While there, he married Capitoline Samovskaya, a pupil at the Imperial Theater School, with whom he had two children, he returned to Paris to a life of comparative leisure. Perrot died on holiday in Paramé 29 August 1892. Teatro alla Scala, MilanJanuary 8th 1847 — Catarina or La Fille du Bandit, music by Cesare Pugni revised by Giacomo Panizza March 16th 1847 — Odette ou la Démence de Charles VI, music by Giacomo Panizza with dances by Giovanni Bajetti and Giovanni Corfu. February 12th 1848 — Faust, music by Giacomo Panizza with dances by Giovanni BajettiOpéra Le Peletier, ParisOctober 8th 1849 — La Filleule des fées, music by Adolphe Adam.
Ballet-féerie in 3 acts, 7 tableaux with prologue and apotheosis. Libretto by Jules Perrot and Jules de Saint-Georges. Auguste Vestris, Perrot's teacher Ballets by Jules Perrot Works by or about Jules Perrot at Internet Archive The Grand Pas des Naiads from the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet's revival of Perrot's Ondine, music by Cesare Pugni, choreography by Pierre Lacotte
Yury Nikolayevich Grigorovich, HSL, PAU, is a Soviet and Russian dancer and choreographer who dominated the Russian ballet for 30 years. Grigorovich was born into a family connected with the Imperial Russian Ballet, he graduated from the Leningrad Choreographic School in 1946 and danced as a soloist of the Kirov Ballet until 1962. His staging of Sergey Prokofiev's The Stone Flower and of The Legend of Love brought him acclaim as a choreographer. In 1964 he moved to the Bolshoi Theatre, where he would work as an artistic director until 1995, his most famous productions at the Bolshoi were The Nutcracker and Ivan the Terrible. He controversially reworked Swan Lake to produce a happy end for the story in 1984. In 1995, he was accused of having allowed the theatre to plunge into stagnation and after many a squabble was ousted from office. Thereupon he choreographed for various Russian companies before settling in Krasnodar, where he set up his own company. Grigorovich has been heading the juries of numerous international competitions in classical ballet.
After the death of his wife, the great ballerina Natalia Bessmertnova, on 19 February 2008, he was offered the opportunity to return to the Bolshoi again in the capacity of ballet master and choreographer. 1957 - Honoured Artist of the RSFSR 1957 - Medal "In Commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of Leningrad" 1959 - Order of the science and art of Egypt 1966 - People's Artist of the RSFSR 1969 - Award of Sergei Diaghilev of the Paris Academy of Dance 1970 - Jubilee medal "For Valiant Labour. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin" 1970 - Lenin Prize 1973 - People's Artist of the USSR 1976 - Order of Lenin 1977 - Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius, 1st class 1977 - USSR State Prize 1977 - Medal "100 years of Bulgaria's Liberation from Ottoman slavery" 1980 - Honorary Citizen of Varna 1981 - Order of the October Revolution 1981 - People's Artist of the Uzbek SSR 1983 - State Prize of the Uzbek SSR 1985 - USSR State Prize - for the creation of artistic and athletic programs of the XII World Youth and Student Festival in Luzhniki, Moscow 1986 - Hero of Socialist Labour 1986 - Order of Lenin 1987 - Order of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, 1st class 1995 - Honoured Artist of Kazakhstan 1996 - People's Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan 1997 - Vaslav Nijinsky Medal 2001 - Order of the Arts' Amber Cross ", the highest award of the Russian Academy of Arts and musical performance 2002 - Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 3rd class - for outstanding contribution to the development of choreographic art 2002 - "Badge poshani", the highest award of the mayor of Kiev 2002 - Badge of "370 years of Yakutia in Russia" 2002 - Fyodor Volkov award for his contribution to the theatrical art of the Russian Federation 2003 - National Theatre Prize Golden Mask in nomination "For the honour and dignity" 2003 - Badge of "civic virtue" of the Republic of Sakha 2003 - Medal of the "Hero of Labour of Kuban" 2004 - Order of Merit, third class 2004 - Medal of the National Opera of Ukraine to the 100th anniversary of Serge Lifar 2004 - Badge of Honor of the Ministry of Culture and the Arts "for his personal contribution to the development of art" 2005 - The highest theatrical award of St. Petersburg "Gold soffit" 2005 - Order of Dostyk 2006 - Award "Russian National Olympus" in nomination "Man epoch", medal "For the honor and valor" 2006 - Ludvig Nobel Prize 2007 - Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd class - for outstanding contribution to the development of domestic and international choreographic art, many years of creative activity 2007 - Order of Francisc Skorina 2008 - Ovation 2009 - Medal of Honour 2011 - Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 1st class
The Bolshoi Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company, based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russian Federation. Founded in 1776, the Bolshoi is among the world's oldest ballet companies, it only achieved worldwide acclaim, however, in the early 20th century when Moscow became the capital of Soviet Russia. Along with the Mariinsky Ballet in Saint Petersburg, the Bolshoi is recognised as one of the foremost ballet companies in the world; the earliest origins of the Bolshoi Ballet can be found in the creation of a dance school for a Moscow orphanage in 1773. In 1776, dancers from the school were employed by Prince Pyotr Vasilyevich Ouroussoff and the English theatrical entrepreneur Michael Maddox, to form part of their new theatre company. Performing in owned venues, they acquired the Petrovsky Theatre, which, as a result of fires and erratic redevelopment, would be rebuilt as today's Bolshoi Theatre. While some guest dancers come and go from other prestigious ballet companies—like the Mariinsky and American Ballet Theatre—many company dancers are graduates of the academy.
In 1989, Michael Shannon was the first American ballet dancer to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and join the Bolshoi Ballet company. Despite staging many famous ballets, it struggled to compete with the reputation of the Imperial Russian Ballet, today's Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg, it was not until the appointment of Alexander Gorsky as Ballet Master in 1900 that the company began to develop its own unique identity, with acclaimed productions of new or restaged ballets including, Don Quixote, Coppélia, Swan Lake, La fille mal gardée, Giselle, Le Corsaire and La Bayadère. The Soviet leadership's preference for uncomplicated moral themes in the arts was demonstrated in Yuri Grigorovich's appointment as director in 1964. Grigorovich held his position until 1995, at which point a series of directors, including Boris Akimov, Alexei Ratmansky, Yuri Burlaka and Sergei Filin, brought more modern dance performance ideas to the company. Anastasia Volochkova has claimed, she said: “It happened with the corps du ballet but with the soloists.
I received such propositions to share the beds of oligarchs." American dancer Joy Womack echoed this concern when she left the company after being told that, to secure solo roles she must either pay $10,000 or "start a relationship with a sponsor."The January 2013 sulfuric acid attack on art director Sergei Filin once again steeped the company in scandal. Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, was convicted of organizing the attack and sentenced to 6 years in prison. Reasons for the attack include corruption within the company. In July 2017, the Bolshoi Theatre cancelled the premiere of a ballet about gay Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev; the Director General claimed. It was the first time a show has been pulled in such a way since the collapse of the Soviet Union, sparking rumours about the motivation behind it. Andrei Anikhanov Yuri Fayer Algis Shuraitis Today the Bolshoi Ballet remains one of the world's foremost ballet companies, in addition to being one of the largest, with 220 dancers; the word "bolshoi" means "big" or "grand" in Russian.
The company operates on a hierarchical system, similar to those used by other leading European ballet companies, with senior dancers ranked as principals, descending in order of importance through lead soloist, first soloist and corps de ballet. Due to its size, the company operates two troupes of corps de ballet. In 2000, the Bolshoi Ballet opened its first Ballet Academy in Joinville, Brazil; the performance style of the Bolshoi Ballet is identified as being colourful and bold, combining technique and athleticism with expressiveness and dramatic intensity. This style is attributed to Alexander Forsky. There has been a fierce rivalry with the St. Petersburg Heritage Ballet Company, the Mariinsky. Both have developed different performing styles: the Bolshoi has a more colourful and bold approach, whereas the Mariinsky is associated with more pure and refined classicism. Female Male It was announced 30 January 2013, that Svetlana Lunkina told the Russian newspaper Izvestia that she wants to remain in Canada, because she fears for her safety if she returned to Russia.
Female Anastasia Goryacheva Kristina Kretova Maria VinogradovaMale Artemy Belyakov Denis Savin Female Daria Khokhlova Anastasia Meskova Maria Pogosyan Anna TikhomirovaMale Yuri Baranov Vitaly Biktimirov Andrei Bolotin Jacopo Tissi Alexander Vodopetov Female Male The Bolshoi Ballet operates two troupes of corps de ballet, with 169 dancers in total. Official website Official website
Le Corsaire is a ballet presented in three acts, with a libretto created by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges loosely based on the poem The Corsair by Lord Byron. Choreographed by Joseph Mazilier to the music of Adolphe Adam, it was first presented by the ballet of the Théâtre Impérial de l’Opéra in Paris on 23 January 1856. All modern productions of Le Corsaire are derived from the revivals staged by the Ballet Master Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg throughout the mid to late 19th century; the ballet has many celebrated passages which are excerpted from the full-length work and performed independently: the scene Le jardin animé, the Pas d’esclave, the Pas de trois des odalisques, the so-called Le Corsaire pas de deux, among classical ballet's most famous and performed excerpts. Le Corsaire was created for the talents of the famous Italian ballerina Carolina Rosati, the Opéra's reigning Prima ballerina; the role of Conrad—which contained no dancing in Mazilier's original staging—was created by the Italian Domenico Segarelli.
Although he was an accomplished dancer, it was Segarelli's abilities as a mime artist that won him the many roles he created on the stage of the Opéra. It would not be until many years that the role of Conrad included any dancing. Le Corsaire was first staged in Russia for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg by Jules Perrot, who served as Premier Maître de Ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres from 1849 until 1858. Le Corsaire was performed for the first time on 24 January 1858 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, with the Prima ballerina Ekaterina Friedbürg as the heroine Medora, the young Marius Petipa as the corsair Conrad. For this production Petipa assisted Perrot in rehearsals, revised a few of the ballet's key dances. Over the course of his long career Petipa presented four revivals of Le Corsaire, each time adding a substantial number of new pas and incidental dances, his first revival was staged for his wife, the Prima Ballerina Maria Surovshchikova-Petipa, with the Premier danseur Christian Johansson as Conrad.
The production premiered on 5 February 1863, included a score supplemented and revised by the composer Cesare Pugni. For this revival, Petipa extracted a pas de deux, the Pas d'esclave, from Duke Peter Oldenbourg's score to Petipa's ballet La Rose, la violette et le papillon. Four years Joseph Mazilier came out of retirement to mount a revival of Le Corsaire in honor of the 1867 Exposition Universelle, given that year in Paris; the celebrated German ballerina Adèle Grantzow performed the role of Medora, while Adolphe Adam's former pupil Léo Delibes composed new music for a Pas des fleurs for Grantzow. The revival premiered on 21 October 1867 and was given thirty-eight performances with Grantzow as the heroine Medora. After the ballerina's departure from Paris in 1868, Le Corsaire was removed from the Opéra's repertory, never to be performed by the Parisian ballet again. In the winter of 1867, Granztow was invited to perform with the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg by Emperor Alexander II. For her début, Petipa staged a revival of Le Corsaire, given for the first time on 6 February 1868.
For the production Petipa again called upon Cesare Pugni to compose music for new dances. Petipa's third revival of Le Corsaire was staged for the Russian Ballerina Eugeniia Sokolova, given for the first time on 22 November 1880. Petipa's final and most important revival of Le Corsaire premiered on 25 January 1899, at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre; this production was mounted for the benefit performance of Pierina Legnani, Prima ballerina assoluta of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres; the Prima ballerina Olga Preobrajenskaya performed the role of Gulnare, the Imperial Theatre's Premier danseur Pavel Gerdt performed the role of Conrad. In March 1858 Marius Petipa was dispatched to mount Jules Perrot's version of Le Corsaire for the Ballet of the Moscow Imperial Bolshoi Theatre, who continued performing the ballet with some regularity for many years in various revivals. In 1888 Petipa supervised the creation of a new production of Le Corsaire for the company, which premiered to a resounding success.
Petipa was a leading choreographer of the time in Russia. In 1894 the Bolshoi Theatre's newly appointed Ballet Master Ivan Clustine mounted his staging of Le Corsaire, which premiered on 22 March 1894. Petipa would allege that Clustine's production plagiarised much of his own choreography for the scene Le jardin animé. On 25 January 1912 Alexander Gorsky, Premier Maître de Ballet of the Moscow Imperial Bolshoi Theatre, presented his revival of Le Corsaire, with Ekaterina Geltzer as Medora and Vasily Tikhomirov as Conrad. For this revival Gorsky supervised a revised edition of Adam's score that included a myriad of new dances; the airs of such composers as Edvard Grieg, Anton Simon, Reinhold Glière, Karl Goldmark, Frédéric Chopin, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Antonín Dvořák were fashioned into dansante accompaniment for new scenes, pas and the like. Among the most notable scenes added by Gorsky was a dream sequence set to a Nocturne by Chopin, in which the character Medora dreams of her beloved Conrad.
Another interpolation of note was a divertissement for Turkish and Arabian slave-women that took place during the scene in the bazaar of the first act. With the production's large number of interpolated pieces, Gorsky chose to retain many of the additional pas as included in the ballet by Mazilier and Petipa. Gorsky's revival of Le Cor
Don Quixote (ballet)
Don Quixote is a ballet in four acts and eight scenes, based on episodes taken from the famous novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. It was choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus and first presented by the Ballet of the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow, Russia on 26 December 1869. Petipa and Minkus revised the ballet into a far more expanded and elaborated edition in five acts and eleven scenes for the Imperial Ballet, first presented on 21 November 1871 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre of St. Petersburg. All modern productions of the Petipa/Minkus ballet are derived from the version staged by Alexander Gorsky for the Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow in 1900, a production the ballet master staged for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg in 1902; the two chapters of the novel that the ballet is based on were first adapted for the ballet in 1740 by Franz Hilverding in Vienna, Austria. In 1768, Jean Georges Noverre mounted a new version of Don Quixote in Vienna to the music of Josef Starzer, a production that appears to have been a revival of the original by Hilverding.
Charles Didelot, known today as the "father of Russian Ballet," staged a two-act version of Don Quixote in St. Petersburg for the Imperial Ballet in 1808. In 1809 a version of the work was mounted at Her Majesty's Theatre by James Harvey D'Egville. Paul Taglioni presented his own version of Don Quixote for the Berlin Court Opera Ballet in 1839, his uncle, Salvatore Taglioni, set a production at the Teatro Regio, in Turin, in 1843; the most famous and enduring ballet adaptation was created by the choreographer Marius Petipa, unrivalled Maître de Ballet of the Tsar's Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg, the composer Ludwig Minkus. By special commission, Petipa mounted the work for the Ballet of the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow; the production premiered on 26 December 1869 to great success. Petipa restaged the ballet in a far more opulent and grandiose production for the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet on 21 November 1871; this new production used the same designs as the first production. Alexander Gorsky presented his revival of the ballet for the Ballet of the Moscow Imperial Bolshoi Theatre on 19 December 1900, a production that he staged for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg, premiering 2 February 1902.
For his productions of 1900 and 1902 Gorsky interpolated new dances. For his 1900 production, he added new dances to music by Anton Simon – a variation for the Queen of the Dryads, a dance for her mistresses, as well as an additional Spanish dance for the last scene; when he staged the production in St. Petersburg in 1902, the composer Riccardo Drigo composed two new variations for Mathilde Kschessinskaya, who danced Kitri/Dulcinea – the famous Variation of Kitri with the fan for the ballet's final pas de deux, the Variation of Kitri as Dulcinea for the scene of Don Quixote's dream, it is believed that Gorsky interpolated the Grand Pas des toréadors from the 1881 Petipa/Minkus ballet Zoraiya, a piece, still included in modern productions of Don Quixote. However, this piece was in Don Quixote by the time Gorsky came to revive it as it was found published in the ballet score in 1882. Therefore, the likelihood is that it was Petipa himself who interpolated the Grand Pas des toréadors in Don Quixote.
Gorsky's 1902 revival was not well received in St Petersburg, causing shock among both Petipa and the balletomanes, who claimed that the production was a mutilation of Petipa's original masterpiece by one of his former students and dancers. The ballet lived on in Russia well after the revolution of 1917, whereas many other ballets ceased to be performed into the Soviet period. In fact, it became part of the permanent repertoire both of the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre and the Leningrad Kirov Theatre. Don Quixote was brought from Russia to other countries first by Anna Pavlova's company in 1924 in an abridged version of Gorsky's 1902 production, though the full-length work was not staged abroad for many years; the famous Grand Pas de Deux from the ballet's final scene was staged in the West as early as the 1940s, given first by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. The first full-length production mounted outside of Russia was a new staging and choreographed by Ninette de Valois for The Royal Ballet in 1950.
The first full revival of the original Russian production to be staged in the West was by Ballet Rambert in 1962. In 1966 Rudolf Nureyev staged his version for the Vienna State Opera Ballet, with Minkus' score adapted by John Lanchbery. In 1973, Nureyev filmed his version with the Australian Robert Helpmann as Don Quixote. Mikhail Baryshnikov mounted his own version in 1980 for American Ballet Theatre, a production, staged by many companies, including the Royal Ballet, though the company would stage Nureyev's version and most Carlos Acosta's. Today the ballet has been staged by many companies all over the world in many different versions, is considered to be among the great classics of the ballet. American choreographer George Balanchine famously created a modern version in 1965 for the New
La Dame aux Camélias
La Dame aux Camélias is a novel by Alexandre Dumas fils, first published in 1848 and subsequently adapted by Dumas for the stage. La Dame aux Camélias premiered at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris, France on February 2, 1852; the play was an instant success, Giuseppe Verdi set about putting the story to music. His work became the 1853 opera La traviata, with the female protagonist, Marguerite Gautier, renamed Violetta Valéry. In the English-speaking world, La Dame aux Camélias became known as Camille and 16 versions have been performed at Broadway theatres alone; the title character is Marguerite Gautier, based on Marie Duplessis, the real-life lover of author Dumas, fils. Written by Alexandre Dumas fils when he was 23 years old, first published in 1848, La Dame aux Camélias is a semi-autobiographical novel based on the author's brief love affair with a courtesan, Marie Duplessis. Set in mid-19th-century France, the novel tells the tragic love story between fictional characters Marguerite Gautier, a demimondaine or courtesan suffering from consumption, Armand Duval, a young bourgeois.
Marguerite is nicknamed la dame aux camélias because she wears a red camellia when she is menstruating and unavailable for making love and a white camelia when she is available to her lovers. Armand falls in love with Marguerite and becomes her lover, he convinces her to leave her life as a courtesan and to live with him in the countryside. This idyllic existence is interrupted by Armand's father, concerned with the scandal created by the illicit relationship, fearful that it will destroy Armand's sister's chances of marriage, convinces Marguerite to leave. Up until Marguerite's death, Armand believes that she left him for another man. Marguerite's death is described as an unending agony, during which Marguerite, abandoned by everyone, regrets what might have been; the story is narrated after Marguerite's death by two male narrators, Armand and an unnamed frame narrator. Some scholars believe that Marguerite's illness and Duplessis's publicized cause of death, "consumption", was a 19th-century euphemism for syphilis.
Dumas, fils, is careful to paint a favourable portrait of Marguerite, who despite her past is rendered virtuous by her love for Armand, the suffering of the two lovers, whose love is shattered by the need to conform to the morals of the times, is rendered touchingly. In contrast the Chevalier des Grieux's love for Manon in Manon Lescaut, a French novel by Abbé Prévost referenced at the beginning of La Dame aux Camélias, Armand's love is for a woman, ready to sacrifice her riches and her lifestyle for him, but, thwarted by the arrival of Armand's father; the novel is marked by the description of Parisian life during the 19th century and the fragile world of the courtesan. Dumas wrote a stage adaptation that premiered February 2, 1852, at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris. Eugénie Doche created the role of Marguerite Gautier, opposite Charles Fechter as Armand Duval. "I played the role 617 times," Doche recalled not long before her death in 1900, "and I suppose I could not have played it badly, since Dumas wrote in his preface,'Mme.
Doche is not my interpreter, she is my collaborator'."In 1853, Jean Davenport starred in the first United States production of the play, a sanitized version that changed the name of the leading character to Camille—a practice adopted by most American actresses playing the role. The role of the tragic Marguerite Gautier became one of the most coveted amongst actresses and included performances by Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, Margaret Anglin, Gabrielle Réjane, Tallulah Bankhead, Lillian Gish, Dolores del Río, Eva Le Gallienne, Isabelle Adjani, Cacilda Becker, Helena Modrzejewska. Bernhardt became associated with the role after starring in Camellias in Paris and several Broadway revivals, plus the 1911 film. Dancer/Impresario Ida Rubinstein recreated Bernhardt's interpretation of the role onstage in the mid-1920s, coached by the great actress herself before she died. Of all Dumas, fils's theatrical works, La Dame aux Camélias is the most popular around the world. In 1878 Scribner's Monthly reported that "not one other play by Dumas, fils has been received with favor out of France".
The success of the play inspired Giuseppe Verdi to put the story to music. His work became the 1853 opera La traviata, set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave; the female protagonist, Marguerite Gautier, is renamed Violetta Valéry. La Dame aux Camélias has been adapted for some 20 different motion pictures in numerous countries and in a wide variety of languages; the role of Marguerite Gautier has been played on screen by Sarah Bernhardt, María Félix, Clara Kimball Young, Theda Bara, Yvonne Printemps, Alla Nazimova, Greta Garbo, Micheline Presle, Francesca Bertini, Isabelle Huppert, others. There have been at least nine adaptations of La Dame aux Camélias entitled Camille. Camille, an American silent film adapted by Frances Marion, directed by Albert Capellani, starring Clara Kimball Young as Camille and Paul Capellani as Armand Camille, an American silent film adapted by Adrian Johnson, directed by J. Gordon Edwards, starring Theda Bara as Camille and Alan Roscoe as Armand Camille, an American silent film starring Alla Nazimova as Camille and Rudolph Valentino as Armand Camille, an American silent film directed by Fred Niblo, starring Norma Talmadge as Camille and Gilbert Roland as Armand Camille: The Fate of a Coquette, an American short film by Ralph Barton, compiled from his home movies, loosely based on La Dame aux Camélias Camille (1