Ann Ray / OnP

Ann Ray / OnP

Ballet

Mayerling

Kenneth MacMillan

Palais Garnier

from 29 October to 16 November 2024

from €35 to €170

2h45 with 2 intervals

Mayerling

Palais Garnier - from 29 October to 16 November 2024

Synopsis

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Mayerling is the name of the hunting lodge in which the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Rudolf, was found dead in 1889. Why did the son of Emperor Franz Joseph and Elisabeth (the famous Sissi) commit suicide in the company of his mistress, the young Mary Vetsera?

Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet inspired by this mystery‑shrouded historic event was first performed in London in 1978 and entered the Paris Opera’s repertoire in 2022. Plagued by addictions and suicidal thoughts, a tormented character buffeted by history, Rudolf provides an opportunity for the choreographer to develop themes dear to him.

Set to feverish music by Franz Liszt, Mayerling unfolds an immensely theatrical neo-classical choreography. Grandiose scenes are interwoven with intimate scenes in sumptuous costumes whose autumnal hues reflect the decline of a world destined to disappear.

Duration : 2h45 with 2 intervals

Show acts and characters

CHARACTERS

Rudolf: Heir to the Austrian crown
Mary Vetsera: Daughter of Baroness Helena Vetsera, Rudolf’s lover
Mary Larisch: Countess, Rudolf’s former lover and chaperone of Mary Vetsera
Stephanie: Princess, Rudolf’s wife
Franz Josef: Emperor of Austria, Rudolf’s father
Elisabeth: Empress of Austria, Rudolf’s mother
Mitzi Caspar: Rudolf’s mistress
Bratfisch: Rudolf’s coachman and friend
Bay Middleton: Colonel, Empress’s lover

First part

Prologue
In the middle of a rainy night, a coffin is buried in the cemetery of the abbey of Heiligenkreuz (Lower Austria).

Act 1

Scene 1: The ballroom at the Hofburg Imperial Palace
Crowned heads, political dignitaries and courtiers parade through the ballroom. At the party celebrating his marriage to Princess Stephanie of Belgium, the Austrian Crown Prince Rudolf offends his parents and his wife by openly flirting with Stephanie’s sister, Princess Louise. Left alone, Rudolf encounters Countess Larisch and Baroness Vetsera.
Baroness Vetsera introduces him to her young daughter Mary, aged seventeen. They are interrupted by four Hungarian officers, friends of Rudolf, who forcefully plead for their country’s separatist cause. Countess Larisch seeks to revive the intimacy of her past relationship with Rudolf. The emperor discovers them and orders Rudolf to return to his wife.

Scene 2: The empress’s apartments at the Hofburg
Empress Elisabeth has retired from the ball and is enjoying the company of her ladies-in-waiting. Rudolf visits her and tries to elicit his mother’s sympathy by sharing her grief.

Scene 3: Rudolf’s apartments at the Hofburg
Princess Stephanie is preparing for her wedding night. Rudolf finds her and, before making love to her, torments her with a skull and terrifies her with a revolver.

Second part

Act 2

Scene 1: A tavern
Rudolf takes Stephanie to a tavern where there are prostitutes and their customers. Seeing that Stéphanie is unhappy, their coachman Bratfisch does his best to amuse her, but she leaves the place in disgust. Rudolf devotes his attention to his mistress, Mitzi Caspar, and his Hungarian friends.

A police raid occurs, during which Rudolf, Mitzi and the Hungarian officers hide. In a mood of despair caused by the constant surveillance, Rudolf proposes a suicide pact to Mitzi. The Prime Minister, Count Taafe, arrives at the tavern, having been informed of Rudolf’s presence. The latter hides again, but Mitzi indicates his presence to the Count, with whom she leaves.


Scene 2: Outside the tavern
As Rudolf leaves the tavern, Countess Larisch introduces him to the young Mary Vetsera.

Scene 3: The Vetsera house
Countess Larisch visits her friend, Baroness Vetsera, and finds Mary absorbed by a portrait of Rudolf. She takes a pack of cards and tells Mary’s fortune. She assures Mary that her romantic dreams will come true. She encourages her to write a letter to Rudolf.

Scene 4: The Hofburg

During Emperor Franz Josef’s birthday celebrations, Count Taafe confronts Rudolf with a political pamphlet. At the same time, Colonel Bay Middleton offers the Prime Minister a joke cigar, which amuses Rudolf. A firework display is set off, which entertains everyone. Countess Larisch gives Rudolf Mary’s letter.

Scene 5: Rudolf’s apartments at the Hofburg

Mary and Rudolf meet in secret for the first time. Moved by Rudolf’s torments and fantasies, Mary takes the skull and revolver with which he had terrified Stephanie.

Third part

Act 3

Scene 1: In the countryside, in the snow
While out hunting, Rudolf accidentally shoots and kills a member of the court. He almost kills the emperor.

Scene 2: Rudolf’s apartments at the Hofburg
The empress discovers Countess Larisch and Rudolf together. She separates them, unaware that Mary is waiting outside. Mary joins Rudolf. The latter proposes a suicide pact.

Scene 3: The Mayerling hunting lodge
Rudolf, drinking with Count Hoyos and Prince Philipp, tells them that he is unwell. Bratfisch arrives with Mary, and Rudolf orders him to entertain them. But Bratfisch soon realises that he is losing their attention. In a frenzy of passion, Rudolf makes love to Mary.

Calming his nerves with an injection of morphine, he embraces her one last time and then shoots her. Loschek, Hoyos and Philipp, alerted by the shot, come running. But Rudolf hides the truth from them and reassures them. Left alone, the prince kills himself.

Epilogue
The final scene takes up the prologue and reveals its meaning. The coffin laid in the ground is that of Mary Vetsera, buried by night in the rain.

Artists

Ballet in three acts

Creative team

With the Paris Opera Étoiles, Premières Danseuses, Premiers Danseurs and Corps de Ballet
The Paris Opera Orchestra

Media

[TRAILER] MAYERLING by Kenneth MacMillan
[TRAILER] MAYERLING by Kenneth MacMillan
  • Mayerling, a psychological tour de force

    Mayerling, a psychological tour de force

    Watch the video

  • Podcast Mayerling

    Podcast Mayerling

    Listen the podcast

© Ann Ray / OnP

Mayerling, a psychological tour de force

Watch the video

MacMillan through the eyes of Karl Burnett

3:53 min

Mayerling, a psychological tour de force

By Antony Desvaux, Anne-Solen Douguet

Guest répétiteur Karl Burnett discusses his work in passing on the work to the Paris Opera Ballet dancers in 2023. A specialist in Benesh notation, he worked with Kenneth MacMillan and is currently directing the choreography for the Company's dancers.

He discusses MacMillan's virtuoso neo-classical style and the way in which each step is linked to the ballet's storyline.

The truly sombre role of Prince Rudolf, one of the repertoire's most complex, is a psychological and technical tour de force for the dancers.

© Ann Ray / OnP

Podcast Mayerling

Listen the podcast

"Dance! Sing! 7 minutes at the Paris Opera" - by France Musique

07 min

Podcast Mayerling

By Jean-Baptiste Urbain

"Dance! Sing! 7 minutes at the Paris Opera" offers original incursions into the season thanks to broadcasts produced by France Musique and the Paris Opera. 

For each opera or ballet production, Charlotte Landru-Chandès (opera) and Jean-Baptiste Urbain (dance), present the works and artists you are going to discover when you attend performances in our theatres.

Press

  • Mayerling is probably the most demanding ballet in the repertoire for the male lead: three muscular pas de deux with Mary Vetsera and others with several female characters, including his wife, Princess Stephanie.

    Franceinfo, 2022
  • This is a perfectly successful entry into the repertoire, which means we can look forward to many more performances in the coming seasons.

    ResMusica, 2022
  • A ballet of luxurious sets and costumes - special mention to the Paris Opera workshops - "Mayerling" is an obstacle course for soloists.

    Les Rchos, 2022

Access and services

Palais Garnier

Place de l'Opéra

75009 Paris

Public transport

Underground Opéra (lignes 3, 7 et 8), Chaussée d’Antin (lignes 7 et 9), Madeleine (lignes 8 et 14), Auber (RER A)

Bus 20, 21, 27, 29, 32, 45, 52, 66, 68, 95, N15, N16

Calculate my route
Car park

Q-Park Edouard VII16 16, rue Bruno Coquatrix 75009 Paris

Book your parking spot
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Imagined as benchmark, richly illustrated booklets, the programmes can be bought online, at the box offices, in our shops, and in the theatres hall on the evening of the performance.      

BUY THE PROGRAM

At the Palais Garnier, buy €10 tickets for seats in the 6th category (very limited visibility, two tickets maximum per person) on the day of the performance at the Box offices.

In both our venues, discounted tickets are sold at the box offices from 30 minutes before the show:

  • €25 tickets for under-28s, unemployed people (with documentary proof less than 3 months old) and senior citizens over 65 with non-taxable income (proof of tax exemption for the current year required)
  • €40 tickets for senior citizens over 65

Get samples of the operas and ballets at the Paris Opera gift shops: programmes, books, recordings, and also stationery, jewellery, shirts, homeware and honey from Paris Opera.

Palais Garnier
  • Every day from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until performances end
  • Get in from Place de l’Opéra or from within the theatre’s public areas
  • For more information: +33 1 53 43 03 97

Palais Garnier

Place de l'Opéra

75009 Paris

Public transport

Underground Opéra (lignes 3, 7 et 8), Chaussée d’Antin (lignes 7 et 9), Madeleine (lignes 8 et 14), Auber (RER A)

Bus 20, 21, 27, 29, 32, 45, 52, 66, 68, 95, N15, N16

Calculate my route
Car park

Q-Park Edouard VII16 16, rue Bruno Coquatrix 75009 Paris

Book your parking spot
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text

Imagined as benchmark, richly illustrated booklets, the programmes can be bought online, at the box offices, in our shops, and in the theatres hall on the evening of the performance.      

BUY THE PROGRAM

At the Palais Garnier, buy €10 tickets for seats in the 6th category (very limited visibility, two tickets maximum per person) on the day of the performance at the Box offices.

In both our venues, discounted tickets are sold at the box offices from 30 minutes before the show:

  • €25 tickets for under-28s, unemployed people (with documentary proof less than 3 months old) and senior citizens over 65 with non-taxable income (proof of tax exemption for the current year required)
  • €40 tickets for senior citizens over 65

Get samples of the operas and ballets at the Paris Opera gift shops: programmes, books, recordings, and also stationery, jewellery, shirts, homeware and honey from Paris Opera.

Palais Garnier
  • Every day from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until performances end
  • Get in from Place de l’Opéra or from within the theatre’s public areas
  • For more information: +33 1 53 43 03 97

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3 min

Mayerling

Mayerling: the true/false story

Debauchery, dark plots, tears and blood: welcome in the world of Mayerling, a stormy, erotic, and convoluted-story ballet. Can you sort facts from fiction?

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