Posted by Jan (22.214.171.124) on September 06, 2003 at 07:34:35:
In Reply to: Ludwig II. Sehnsucht nach dem Pardies. posted by Jan den Breejen (126.96.36.199) on September 06, 2003 at 07:32:24:
Summary of the plot
Act I: Munich, 1864
A seemingly endless procession is following the coffin of Bavarian King Maximilian II., among the mourners his son and heir, Ludwig II. In a church, the young king is met by three black Nymphs. They foretell of a difficult and lonely path, warn him of water, women and politics, and encourage him to realise his dreams and to build fantastical castles.
In the reception hall Ludwig and his ministers are shown the latest weaponry, hoping to inspire the king with an enthusiasm for war. A Prussian Ambassador arrives, planning to win Bavaria's assistance for a war against Austria but the ministers only offend him. They are waiting impatiently for the King's speech of ascension, but in it he sings of a peaceful Bavaria, dedicated solely to art.
Act II: Bad Kissingen
In a magnificent ballroom at the Bavarian spa, the crowned heads of Europe and their attendants are dancing the waltz. Ludwig and his cousin Elizabeth (Sissi) admit their love, even though they know that their situation is hopeless, as she is already married to the Emperor of Austria. The beautiful woman and the young king dream of a paradise far away. Then the king meets the famous composer Wagner, whose mysterious operas he admires. The ministers are very worried about any promises the king might make to the composer, whose debts are legendary. They then force the king, for reasons of state, to become engaged to Sissi's sister Sophie, who is secretly in love with the young court-photographer Hanfstaengl.
Act III: At the palace
Ludwig's little brother Otto is playing war with his tin soldiers and has a mad fit. The king recognises that he is helpless in the face of the power-politics of his ministers and looks for comfort in music.
In the music-room Sissi, accompanied by the court's director of music von Bülow, sings for Ludwig her song about the Eagle and the Seagull, a symbol of their hopeless love. Sophie sings, too, but purposefully sings so badly that Ludwig feels compelled to cancel their engagement. Happily Sophie and Hanfstaengl fall into each other's arms – they have found their paradise. For the king, the future of music lies in Wagner's musical theatre. After attending a private showing of the master's new opera, the King surprises the composer in a compromising situation with Bülow's wife Cosima. While Ludwig feels deeply betrayed by the whole world, the nymphs give him a new aim in life – to build a dream-world of royal castles.
Act IV: The Realm of the Castles
At the building site for Neuschwanstein castle, the ministers are commenting on the building plans of the king. Count Bismarck of Prussia gets Ludwig to agree to the founding of the German Empire and buys Bavaria's sovereignty off him, thus giving the king the financial means to continue building his architectural fantasies. Ludwig becomes the fairy tale king who goes on nocturnal sleigh-rides, enjoys exotic feasts, and dreams of journeys around the world in a hot-air balloon. Not even Sissi can draw the king away from his escapist and lonely fantasies. In the meantime, the ministers plot to have the king declared insane and have him deposed.
Act V: Grotto and Lake
In his crystal grotto the king becomes a theatre director, who creates an orgiastic bacchanal with his heroes Lohengrin and Siegfried. More and more Ludwig himself becomes part of this scene. In a rapture of memories, true and false friends appear to him and he sings a loving duet with Sissi.
But his enemies, the politicians and civil servants, want to arrest him and pull him rudely from this last, wonderful dream. The king pre-empts them and a thunderclap is heard as he relinquishes his royal crown, sceptre and cloak.
"In memories my paradise awakens and is calling me “ are the last words of the fairy-tale king as he stands upon the shore of lake Starnberg. Now the hymnic finale can begin.
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