On Saturday, May 18th, 2019, the curtain will rise in Stuttgart on a spectacular new production of Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerlingdesigned by the legendary German set and costume designer Jürgen Rose.
MacMillan had a close relationship with the Stuttgart Ballet in his lifetime, creating world famous works such as Song of the Earthand Requiem for the company. And yet, the Stuttgart Ballet has never had a full-length work by MacMillan in its repertory. Artistic Director Tamas Detrich has therefore chosen to add one of the Scottish choreographer’s most powerful and dramatic works to the repertory: Mayerling, a ballet in three acts chronicling the last anguished months in the life of Crown Prince Rudolf, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On January 30th, 1889, Rudolf the only male descendant of the 600 year old Hapsburg dynasty, tragically took not only his own life, but also that of his 17-year old mistress Mary Vetsera in his hunting lodge near the small town of Mayerling, thus sealing the fate of an entire empire.
Detrich commissioned Rose to create what promises to be one of the largest and most sumptuous productions in the Stuttgart Ballet’s history. Rose, who has worked worldwide in the fields of opera, theater and dance and is the creator of the sets and costumes for – among others – John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, Onegin and Swan Lake, John Neumeier’s The Lady of the Camellias and Marcia Haydée’s The Sleeping Beauty, has tackled this new challenge with an energy and verve which belie his 82 years. Known for his obsession with detail, Rose’s research for this project took him to archives, museums and numerous collections in Vienna, some of which are not accessible to the general public, as well as on three visits to Mayerling itself. His tasteful sets – held mostly in black and white – juxtapose with sumptuous, breathtaking costumes and reflect the individual, historical personages. Working in close collaboration with Deborah, Lady MacMillan and Tamas Detrich, Rose’s sets and costumes have brought the Viennese imperial court to splendid life, providing the perfect frame for Kenneth MacMillan’s gripping masterpiece.
Set to the deeply emotional, sweeping music of Franz Liszt – arranged and orchestrated by John Lanchbery – Mayerling was created for the Royal Ballet in 1978. Over the years appreciation for this complex work, which delves into the troubled psyches of its main characters, has increased and the work has entered the repertory of several other companies most notably the Ballet of the Vienna State Opera, thus returning this tragic story to its point of origin. The Stuttgart Ballet will be the first German ballet company to dance MacMillan’s masterpiece.
Choreography Kenneth MacMillan
Music Franz Liszt, orchestrated by John Lanchbery
Libretto Gillian Freeman
Sets and costumes Jürgen Rose
Lighting Reinhard Traub
World premiere February 4th, 1978, Royal Ballet
Conductor James Tuggle, State Orchestra Stuttgart
Premiere of the new production
May 18th, 2019 in the Opera House
May 24th / 25th / 28th / June 1st / 8th / 9th (aft/eve) / July 28th, 2019