Marie

The Houston Ballet’s Stanton Welch creates a new work about the woman who went from child bride to controversial queen

It seems as though Marie Antoinette finally will be getting some sympathy — though unfortunately, it’s come hundreds of years too late — when the Houston Ballet premieres an evening-length work, Marie, which documents the brief, troubled existence of the young Austrian-born queen. The company’s Artistic Director, Stanton Welch, created the ballet and, using dramatic music by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, focuses on Marie’s suffering (she married Louis XVI when she was just 15 and was beheaded at age 38).

“She was born into a life of privilege and transported to a world of extreme decadence and vanity, but in all that, she also endured devastating circumstances and apparently did so with strength and grace,” says HB principle dancer Melody Herrera, who originates the role. Herrera says Welch captured the difficult intricacies of Marie’s life onstage. “There is a lot of tricky and difficult pas de deux work between Marie and Louis, and Marie and Fersen. Louis, as a husband who shunned his wife for seven years, and Fersen, as a best friend and lover, both had relationships to her that were very complicated and emotional so…the movement between these characters would be that way, too.”

Audience members hoping to see some Rococo flourish in addition to great dancing will not be disappointed, as set and costume designer Kandis Cook traveled to Versailles to make sure she was accurately portraying the young queen’s lavish surroundings — not to mention her corsets, waistcoats, jewels and, yes, those towering wigs. 7:30 p.m. February 26 and 28, March 6 and 7; and 2 p.m. March 1 and 8. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit www.houstonballet.org. $18 to $125.


Thu., Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 1, 2 p.m.; Fri., March 6, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., March 7, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 8, 2 p.m., 2009

 
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