Lady of the Camellias

February 15-24, 2019
Choreography: Val Caniparoli
Music: Frédéric Chopin
Music performed by Kansas City Symphony



Armand, a young countryman meets the ravishing courtesan Marguerite in a chance meeting that leads to a passionate, but doomed love. Val Caniparoli’s popular adaptation of this classic story is set to the romantic score by Frédéric Chopin, and deftly depicts the moving story of beauty, extravagance, jealousy, deception and heartbreak. Alexandre Dumas’ tragic love story has inspired many adaptations, including Greta Garbo’s Camille and Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge!, but none more popular than Verdi’s opera La Traviata.

Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes with two intermissions.

Read the IN Kansas City Preview

Robert Gibby Brand, Baritone
Sarah Kathryn Curtis, Mezzo-Soprano
Sam Beckett, Solo Pianist Act 1
Yee-sik Wong, Solo Pianist Act 2 and 3

Chopin music featured:
Piano Concerto No. 1, opus 11
Krakowiak, opus 14
Variations on “La ci darem la mano”
Grosse Fantaisie on Polish Themes, opus 13
Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise, opus 22
Polish Song: “Melancholie”

In 1844, Alexander Dumas fils began an affair with Marie Duplesis,
one of the most desirable courtesans in Paris.
Marie died of consumption in 1847 at the age of 23.
Dumas turned their liaison into
one of the greatest love stories of all time.

Dig deeper into this Kansas City Ballet production with these resources:

Fast Facts About the Show:

  • The story is based on the novel written by Alexandre Dumas, fils, though you’re more likely to know it from one of the many movies it inspired – Baz Luhrman’s hit movie Moulin Rouge!, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, and Greta Garbo’s classic movie Camille among them. Also, the very popular Verdi opera, La Traviata, shares the same tragic love story.
  • Alexandre Dumas, fils, was a French writer who lived between 1824 and 1895. (Fils is used after a proper name that is common to a father and his son to indicate that the son is being referred to rather than the father.)
  • His father, Alexandre Dumas, is recognized for his novels including The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo and Robin Hood.
  • Work began on the premiere of Lady of the Camellias in 1992, but was halted by the untimely death of choreographer Norbert Vesak.
  • Val Caniparoli, a former student of Vesak’s, was asked to create the choreography and finish the ballet. It premiered at Ballet Florida in 1994.

Armand casts caution to the wind
as he pursues his passion for Marguerite for
whom love has become her only hope,
her redemption
But there is a price to pay…
If all the world loves a lover,
Society calls passion to order.

Act I

Scene 1: Marguerite’s Drawing Room, Paris
Marguerite returns to her apartment with her guests after an evening at the theatre, accompanied by her escort, the Baron de Varville. There are flirtations and camaraderie, liberally sprinkled with bottles of champagne, and the guests dance their enjoyment. Suddenly, the smitten Armand enters escorted by Prudence, an opportunistic ex-courtesan and milliner.

At last Marguerite succumbs to his advances and invites him secretly to her boudoir after the soiree.

Scene 2: Marguerite’s Boudoir

Act II

Summer, A Country Garden, Auteuil
Marguerite and Armand, in the summer of their love, are joined by guests for a picnic and relaxation away from the heat of Paris. The festivities are interrupted by the sudden and unexpected arrival by the Baron de Varville. He demands the return of Marguerite but is frustrated by her rejection and abruptly leaves as the party continues. The happy day has ended. Dusk is falling when Duval Sr., father of Armand, appears unannounced, asking that Marguerite renounce her love for Armand so that he and his family might continue their lives in social acceptability. The ill Marguerite reluctantly agrees, and sets forth a plan to delude Armand into believing she no longer loves him and wishes to return to her protector, Baron de Varville.


Scene 1: Autumn, Olympe’s Ballroom, Paris
Olympe is giving a grand party to open the Paris social season. A weakened Marguerite and the Baron de Varville enter. Armand, the passion of his loss, publicly humiliates Marguerite. The Baron de Varville challenges Armand to a duel; the challenge is accepted.

Scene 2: Marguerite’s Boudoir
In the echoes of her mind, Marguerite witnesses the duel of Armand and the Baron. Ill and alone, in her dementia, Marguerite imagines the worst, and envisions the realities and possibilities, the triumph of Olympe, and the realization of her inevitable loss. In her death, she relives the passion of her love and rediscovers her innocence.

Learn how music, special effects and costumes all make magic on stage by attending a pre-curtain talk, the Belger Footnote Series, hosted by Artistic Director Devon Carney.

Dancers, choreographers, musicians, and special guests offer audience members an insider’s view on the story line, choreography, history, costumes, and music prior to each repertory performance. These informal discussions are free for all ticket holders. They are held at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts one hour prior to curtain for Kansas City Ballet repertory shows.

Lady of the Camellias Pre-Curtain Talks
Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 17, 1:00 p.m.
Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 24, 1:00 p.m.

Special Thank You
This performance is supported in part by Estelle S. and Robert A. Long Ellis Foundation and Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, Commerce Bank, Trustee.