PHOTO: © Paolo Chiabrando/Unsplash

Endstation Sehnsucht

In the organizer's words:

The 2023/24 season will open with "Endstation Sehnsucht," John Neumeier's choreographed version of Tennessee Williams' theatrical classic, which originally premiered in 1983 with Marcia Haydée and the Stuttgart Ballet. The tragic story of loss, love and violence became Williams' definitive breakthrough and earned him the coveted Pulitzer Prize. Above all, Elia Kazan's 1951 film adaptation starring Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando made his play world-famous. Tennessee Williams' dramas have always left a strong impression on John Neumeier, and in 2019 he created "The Glass Menagerie."


"I was told to take a streetcar called 'Desire,' then change to another called 'Cemetery,' and get off after six cross streets - at the 'Elysian Fields,'" Blanche DuBois tells her sister Stella during their arrival in New Orleans. Blanche had to leave the family home, Belle Reve, when it was lost. After being advised to leave her job as a teacher, she seeks refuge with her younger sister. Stella is married to laborer Stanley Kowalski, who is despised by Blanche because of his rudeness and origins in a Polish immigrant family. "Thousands and thousands of years of development have passed him by, ineffectual - a survivor from the Stone Age," she will later observe. But her refined, slightly affected, and occasionally blasé behavior also goads Stanley into crude and vulgar behavior, even to the point of brutal outbursts. His callous coldness toward Blanche is charged with sexual energy. In the cramped living conditions, which give an image of the densely built-up French quarter, tensions quickly arise, which lead to disaster due to Blanche's inability to separate reality from illusion. Flowing, mutually blending worlds obscure Blanche's view of her actual situation.

John Neumeier's ballet begins at the end point of the drama, in the insane asylum. It tells Blanche's back story and delves into the fragile, disintegrating world of Belle Reve. Blanche's memories take her back to the summer when her sister Stella left home and Blanche celebrated her wedding day. Traditional, upper-middle-class wedding dances and congratulations set the scene. In the middle of it all, an attractive, nervous-looking, single young man; he kisses Blanche's groom, Allan, the moment she comes through the crowd. A shock, a shot that separates Blanche from Allan forever. And the first of the deaths on Belle Reve. With each passing of the family members, the once-proud country estate dies a little more. Blanche can no longer hold onto the family estate and takes refuge in fast acquaintances.

Later, New Orleans strikes her as gluttonous, smelly, hectic, greedily depraved by the multitude of sounds, noise, and people. On the surface, this corresponds to the relentless action that takes place between Blanche and Stanley, leading to an éclat in the rape scene. Nothing is more erotic and arousing for Stanley than her 'genteel' posturing. Sex to him means domination. Anything that challenges him excites him. And he abuses what Blanche so desperately grasps for: a need for protection stemming from nineteenth-century tradition.

"For me," says John Neumeier, "'A Streetcar Named Desire' is one of the greatest plays in American literature. It fascinates me because of its particular setting and the problems of the old South." Tennessee Williams' stage work - one of the American playwright's greatest successes - earned him the coveted Pulitzer Prize. In 1983, John Neumeier created his version for the Stuttgart Ballet. The first part is musically accompanied by Sergei Prokofiev's "Visions fugitives", which the composer wrote between 1915 and 1917. The second part features Alfred Schnittke's First Symphony, premiered in 1974.

Music: Sergei Prokofiev, Alfred Schnittke
Choreography, staging, stage design, costumes and lighting concept: John Neumeier

Music from sound recording

2 hours | 1 intermission
1st part: oo minutes, 2nd part: oo minutes

The Stuttgart Ballet, Stuttgart, December 3, 1983
Hamburg Ballet, April 30, 1987

Blanche DuBois: Marcia Haydée
Stanley Kowalski: Richard Cragun
Stella, Blanche's sister: Lisi Grether
Harold Mitchell (Mitch): Vladimir Klos
Allan Gray: Johannes Kritzinger
Allan's friend: Paul Chalmer
A soldier: Randy Diamond
Kiefaber: Christian Fallanga
Shaw: Stephen Greenston

1988 Milwaukee 1989 Leverkusen 2010 Baden-Baden 2012 Hong Kong

The Stuttgart Ballet
Norwegian National Ballet
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Czech National Ballet

This content has been machine translated.


Hamburgische Staatsoper Große Theaterstraße 25 20354 Hamburg

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