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A few weeks ago, pre-coronavirus lockdown, I headed for a 36h city break to Munich. I ticked off my first ballet of 2020 and looks like it might be my last for a while. I got to see Lady of the Camellias set to the magically melancholic music of Frederic Chopin - a nice Polish touch to this Bavarian trip.

The story behind Lady of the Camellias was created by a 23 year old French writer Alexandre Dumas, and the ballet version is set to the piano masterpieces by Frederic Chopin. What I wasn't aware of is that the novel is also the base for the popular opera La Traviata from Giuseppe Verdi. Some name changes, but otherwise a similar story-line.

The main character, Marguerite, is based on Dumas real life love affair with a courtesan. So yes, yet another love story: the handsome and rich Armaud convinces Margeurite to leave her job as a prostitute and become his full-time lover. As usual in these ballets, someone from the family opposes and the father rages against the social scandal his son is committing. Fast forward to the end, tah-da-da... Marguerite eventually dies of a mysterious illness – possibly pneumonia, so very on time with COVID.

Regardless of the cause of death, I enjoyed the soothing sound of the piano – for a change, it was refreshing to hear the sound of Steinway rather than a full-blown symphonic orchestra. The dancers were predominantly Russian and trained at the famous Bolshoi, so you couldn’t ask for anything more quality-wise, especially for a bargain 11 euro per ticket!

I did some sight-seeing the next day (including a three hour breakfast), but the opera house was the biggest architectural treat of this short get-away. And that chandelier would fit well in my London flat ;-)

I would love to be booking my next opera or ballet city break now…but hard to say when that will happen. Maybe it will all be internet based from now on (please NO!!!!!)


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