Ballet by August Bournonville / Lloyd Riggins



Edvard Helsted
Holger Simon Paulli
Niels Wilhelm Gade
Hans Christian Lumbye

  August Bournonville
1st and 2nd act
New Choreography
  Lloyd Riggins
  Rikke Juellund


The Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, December 7, 2014


Original Cast

Silvia Azzoni
Alexandr Riabko
Otto Bubenícek
Laura Cazzaniga
Carten Jung
Konstantin Tselikov



"Napoli" is a classic example of the spirit and style of the great Danish choreographer, August Bournonville. It has been in the repertoire of the Royal Danish Ballet since its premiere on March 29, 1842 in a nearly unbroken performing tradition. Passed from one "Balletmester" (the Danish theater's word for artistic director) to the next; from one generation to the next, with slight changes and subtle alterations which have for the most part increased the clarity of the story and the depth of the characters. Especially the first and third acts can be thought of, with very little doubt, as directly connected to Bournonville's choreography. The second act of Bournonville's original production was criticized for having too much dancing!!!! This resulted in the master himself constantly cutting and restating large sections for many years, and this continued after his death in 1905 with his successors' productions. By the 1930's Bournonville's version was considered lost.

I wish to choreograph the second act NOT in the manner of August Bournonville but inspired by his spirit and ideas. To imitate the master is to surely fall short because his voice was a voice of HIS time. With the guiding words of his detailed libretto and the vast education I was privileged to receive from the many generations of teachers in my years with the Danish Ballet, I will present a second act inspired by Bournonville; paying hommage and respect to his romantic vision and spirit.

It was in "Napoli" that I danced my first Bournonville steps on the Royal Theater stage; the Balabile divertissement in the first act and the first and second male solos of the famous Pas de Six of the third act. In those days in Copenhagen I was one of a very few foreigners in the company and to be given a solo in it's signature work was a very moving experience for me. It was an incredible honor to be included into the living history of the Danish Ballet.

I later danced my first Gennaro on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of "Napoli"'s premiere in the 2nd Bournonville Festival in 1992. The experience made me understand the responsibility of carrying on an artistic legacy and the secret of not RE-creating art but living it new with each performance. These themes, along with Bournonville's belief that the audience must relate to his work through it's humanity, are themes which I found alive and dancing here in Hamburg when I arrived in 1995.

The connections, for me, of my time in Denmark and my work with John Neumeier are many. The bridge (like the one in "Napoli"'s third act) of my career has been built from my training in Florida, my beginnings in Copenhagen and the amazing years with John.

And now in this portion of my life as a ballet master to be staging "Napoli" for John's Hamburg Ballet, a circle has become complete in me.

I feel a great deal of excitement to give this work to our wonderful company and to share an important part of my history which shaped me as a dancer and an artist. The benefits for dancers of working on a Bournonville ballet are many, but I am also looking forward to what the energy and commitment of the Hamburg dancers will bring to the piece; what they will bring to it's living history.

I would like to dedicate this "Napoli" to Frank Andersen (the former director of the Danish Ballet who gave me so many important opportunities and has offered so much support with my Bournonville work and productions), to the invaluable time and teachers I had in Denmark, and finally to John Neumeier who continues to inspire, guide, and create worlds of beauty and humanity.

Lloyd Riggins




Act 1 Naples, Santa Lucia harbor
In the middle of the clamor of Neapolitan life Veronica, a widow, wants her daughter, Teresina, to marry one of the two wealthy tradesmen of the city, Peppo and Giacomo. However, the rebellious girl has given her heart to the poor fisherman Gennaro. Amidst much dispute and even slander from the two suitors, the young lovers convince the mother to give them her blessing. The couple and their friends dance for joy. Seek­ing a little privacy from the excitement, Gennaro and Teresina sail out on the harbour to speak of their future. The festivities continue as street per­formers entertain the Neapolitans. A terrible storm erupts and all run for cover. Gennaro is seen struggling in the waves and is brought ashore. Teresina has succumbed to the waters. Veronica furiously curses Gennaro for sacrificing her daughter to the sea. The poor fisherman is left alone in shame. He is about to throw himself to a watery death when he remembers the Madonna dell’Arco, the patron saint of the city and the sea. The monk, Fra Ambrosio, appears and on hearing Gennaro’s unhappy tale, gives him an amulet with the Madonna’s image. The monk fills the
fisherman with faith and hope and sends him to find his beloved.

Act 2 The blue Grotto
Teresina awakens to find herself in the lair of the sea spirit Golfo, surrounded by his Naiads. They are the souls if maidens lost at sea. The demon is bewitched by Teresina’s beauty and fire, and transforms her, too, into a Naiad. Slowly she forgets her Gennaro, her Naples—and loses herself to the sensual world of Golfo. Gennaro arrives and finally finds her—but she does not remember or respond to his embrace. Gennaro desperately prays to his God clinging to the monk’s amulet, and this image of faith awakens Teresina’s soul and she is transformed back to the fisherman’s beloved bride. Out of rage and loss, Golfo wants to crush them but the Naiads, moved by Gennaro and Teresina’s love, protect and shield the couple allowing them to escape.

Act 3Monte Vergine outside Naples
In the midst of the pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Arco, the woeful Veronica is mourning her lost daughter. But sorrow soon turns to bewildered amazement as Teresina appears with her hero Gennaro. All the people though, led by the rejected suitors Peppo and Giacomo, look on him with only with suspicion and loathing, sure there is some witchcraft at work. Gennaro flies into a rage but Fra Ambrosio is summoned and soon calms and resolves the suspicions by declaring that Gennaro’s faith and love brought Teresina back to them. He blesses and unites the couple and their elation spreads out to everyone in dance upon joyous dance!




2 intermissions
2 hours 45 min.




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