The source for the musical masterpiece Carousel, now turned into a ballet with music by film score maestro Michel Legrand!
The moving story of the Ruffian Liliom bringing his ill-fated love from the "Next World"

Liliom Ballet in 7 Scenes and a Prologue (1 intermission)

Original story:Ferenc Molnár
Music:Michel Legrand
Choreography, Costumes, Light:John Neumeier
Set:Ferdinand Wögerbauer

Photo:Holger Badekow

One of John Neumeier's more recent works, Liliom turns Ferenc Molnár's drama--the basis for Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway musical masterpiece Carousel--into a movingly staged ballet. Neumeier--whose passions were stirred watching Carousel as a boy in the land of his birth, the USA--said that he was moved even further upon reading the play on which the musical was based and that he aspired to someday take it on himself.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the high-spirited ruffian Liliom lives a humble life with his lover Julie. But when he loses his job and becomes a thief to provide for the child whom Julie will bear, his failure and subsequent despair drive him to suicide. Allowed to return temporarily from "the next world" to the world of the living, Liliom is shaken to learn that his son, who resembles him, is now in the same situation. When it appears as though Liliom and Julie's tragic love and way of living may be passed down to the next generation, a "star" that Liliom brings from the next world gives rise to a ray of hope, bringing forth much excitement.

Much attention was given at the premiere to the fact that Neumeier commissioned the master film composer Michel Legrand--known for such tours de force as the soundtrack to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg--to write all the music for the show. Legrand's jazz-tinged score richly conveys the ambiance of the period as it rises to its crescendo. The Hamburg-based Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) Bigband, which has performed this set on stage since the first performance, will also bring its stylings to the Japanese production.

Alina Cojocaru--the talented star who was once the top principal at the Royal Ballet in the UK and now dances for the English National Ballet, in between the numerous guest performances entrusted to her by Neumeier--played Liliom's wife, Julie, at the premiere of the ballet. Cojocaru is slated to play the part in every performance in Japan. Liliom promises tears and emotion. Do not miss out!


Liliom, a carnival barker, rescues Julie from the clutches of a drunken sailor and falls in love with her. The two begin to live together. Mrs. Muskat, who is both Liliom's employer and his former lover, fires Liliom, forcing him and Julie into a life of struggle. The two are unable to express their feelings to one another candidly. Liliom ends up hitting Julie over a trifling matter. And yet when he learns that she is with child, he has hope for their future. However, the villainous Fiscur entices Liliom into working for him as a thief. When this fails, Liliom commits suicide in despair.

After judgment in the next world, Liliom is trapped in purgatory. Sixteen years later, Liliom is permitted to return to Earth for a brief moment. Bearing a star from heaven as a memento, he meets his now grown-up son. However, his son--in just as much turmoil as his father was--rejects Liliom, who stikes his son out of despair and rage. Julie then appears, and she perceives both Liliom's worries and his love.

Photo:Holger Badekow


Friday March 4, 6:30pm

Liliom:Carsten Jung / Julie:Alina Cojocaru

Saturday March 5, 2pm

Liliom:Carsten Jung / Julie:Alina Cojocaru

Sunday March 6, 2pm

Liliom:Carsten Jung / Julie:Alina Cojocaru