Marie Antoinette (musical)

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Musical dates
Title: Marie Antoinette
Original language: English
Music: Sylvester Levay
Book: Michael Kunze
Literary source: Queen Marie Antoinette by
Endō Shūsaku
Original direction: Tamiya Kuriyama
Premiere: November 1, 2006
Place of premiere: Imperial Garden Theater
in Tokyo
Place and time of the action: France, 18th century
Roles / people

Marie Antoinette is a musical by Michael Kunze (text) and Sylvester Levay (music), the authors of Elisabeth , Mozart! and Rebecca . The libretto was written in English and translated into Japanese for the Asian production.
It premiered on November 1, 2006 at the Imperial Garden Theater in Tokyo , Japan. Tamiya Kuriyama directed the production. After its performance in Tokyo, the musical was staged in Fukuoka, Osaka, and again in Tokyo from April to May 2007.

The European premiere took place on January 30th, 2009 in the Musical Theater Bremen .


The idea for the musical is based on a book by the Japanese author Shusaku Endo . Kunze asked the Japanese theater production company Toho to take care of the rights, whereupon Toho also wanted to take over the production of the drama musical. One idea of ​​the book was to contrast the unfortunate Queen of France with a girl of the same age from the people. While Marie Antoinette's star is falling, this girl, her name is Margrid Arnaud, is rising with the revolution. In the second part of the musical, Margrid Arnaud and Marie Antoinette meet. The story thus develops a drama that goes far beyond the presentation of historical facts.

Production history

Since the world premiere in 2006, 374 performances have been played around the world, 234 of them in Japan and 140 in Germany.

JapanJapan Japan :

  • Tokyo : World premiere : November 1, 2006, Derniere: December 2006 (79 performances)
  • Fukuoka : Premiere: January 2007, Derniere: January 2007 (38 performances)
  • Osaka : Premiere: February 2007, Derniere: March 2007 (38 performances)
  • Tokyo : Revival : Premiere: April 2007, Derniere: May 2007 (79 performances)

GermanyGermany Germany :

  • Bremen : European premiere: January 30, 2009, Derniere: May 31, 2009 (120 performances)
  • Tecklenburg : Premiere: June 23, 2012, Derniere: August 26, 2012 (20 performances)


The action continues a year after Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis XVI came to the throne . a. Intoxicated, the regent indulges in her luxurious debauchery, drawing her very own image. In complete contrast to this, the second central female figure in the musical, the poor girl from the people: Margrid Arnaud. A trick by Michael Kunze to contrast the two seemingly dissimilar women and let their lives come into contact again and again. Because even if at first there is only dislike and hatred between the queen and the beggar girl, their lives have more in common than either of them suspect. Only events will show how similar the fates of the two women with the same initials are. And finally, when the shadows of the French Revolution are already falling darkly over Paris, the initial hostility has turned into mutual respect and understanding.

Prologue: Cagliostro , the magician and illusionist, resurrects the glory days when he was famous and admired. It was a time of love and lies, intrigue and greed, high ideals and bloody cruelty, France of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette . He begins to tell how a small cause caused something that turned the world around. ("Illusions")

Act 1 : The beggar girl Margrid Arnaud sells bouquets of flowers to a noble passerby in the streets of Paris. When she notices that he has cheated her out of the purchase price, she runs after him and breaks into a ballroom where the French aristocracy is amused. Queen Marie Antoinette is among the guests. She dances with the Swedish nobleman Axel von Fersen . The ragged girl begs the Queen to help the hungry in the streets of Paris. Marie Antoinette pours a glass of champagne over the head of the beggar girl amid the laughter of the ball goers. Then the host, the rich Duke of Orléans , has Margrid thrown into the street. ("I don't want to be bored.")

Outside, Margrid looks up at the brightly lit windows of the ballroom and prophesies that God will curse the rich who are too blind to see the misery of the poor ("Blind by the light of the many candles"). Axel von Fersen comes out of the hall to apologize to Margrid. He offers Margrid money from the queen as a consolation, but the beggar girl does not allow her anger to be bought.

In the Palace of Versailles, the royal seamstress Rose Bertin and the hairdresser Léonard try to look after the queen. Marie Antoinette brags about her appearance at the Duke's ball and buys jewels and a lock for her friend on the side. When the king's finance minister asks her to spend less money, Marie Antoinette becomes angry. She asks her husband, the King of France, to dismiss the minister immediately. She does not accept his objections. Louis XVI gives way.

One evening Margrid witnessed how the mother of two children died in the gutter of a slum in Paris. A nun who took care of the woman sings a comforting nursery rhyme for her two children, which Margrid recognizes (“Still, still”). The nun's name is Agnés, Margrid was her student some time ago in a convent school. When the conversation turns to Margrid's father, who apparently sang the song many times, she claims that she has no father because he never looked after her.

Cagliostro makes sure that Margrid meets the brothel operator Madame Lapin. He notices the similarity between the beggar girl and the young queen and she offers to work for her. Against Agnés' advice, Margrid seizes the opportunity to make money in this way.

The Duke of Orléans also frequented the brothel. He shares a hatred of the royal couple with Margrid. Orléans is a close relative of the reigning king, but he considers him incapable. That is why he intrigues against Versailles (“Because I am better”). He takes Margrid to a masked ball at the opera. There Axel von Fersen confuses her for a moment with Marie Antoinette (“Wenn”).

King Louis XVI likes to work in a small locksmith's shop that he set up in Versailles. There Dr. Guillotin presented his latest invention, a modern execution machine. The king makes a wise suggestion for improvement. When Marie Antoinette arrives, a vision from Cagliostro predicts that the king and queen will both die under the guillotine.

Five years later in Notre Dame square. A group of actors sing a song of derision to the queen. It is suggested that she has numerous lovers and that the recently born Crown Prince may not be Louis XVI's biological son at all. is. Margrid and Agnés are among the audience. The performance is interrupted when soldiers drag Madame Lapin through the crowd. A royal official announces the conviction of the brothel owner. A cruel flogging ensues, which Madame Lapin does not survive. Margrid turns to the crowd in the square. In a passionate speech, she calls on the citizens of Paris to take an active stand against injustice and the foreign queen (“I don't cry anymore”). She has become a revolutionary.

One summer evening Marie Antoinette is waiting for Axel von Fersen (“The woman he loves”) in the park of her Grand Trianon palace . He comes, but only to say goodbye. In the American War of Independence he wants to fight for freedom. The queen tries in vain to hold on to him ("feeling and understanding"). He assures her of his love and advises her to take more care of the sufferings of her subjects. When he reports on Margrid's speech in the square in front of Notre Dame, Marie Antoinette becomes angry. They split up in an argument.

The Duke of Orléans instructs Cagliostro to brew the deadly poison of slander to overthrow the royal couple. Cagliostro does this by initiating the famous collar affair: everything should look as if the lavish Marie Antoinette had used the simple-minded Cardinal de Rohan as a straw man to buy the most expensive jewels in the world. In truth, Rohan falls victim to a clever trickery. Margrid plays the queen's doppelganger in this plot.

On Ascension Day in 1785, the traditional reception of the nobility and bourgeoisie takes place in the Palace of Versailles. On this occasion, the jeweler Boehmer reminds him to pay for the collar that he believes he has sold to the Queen. This leads to the discovery of the collar affair. Cardinal de Rohan recognizes his deception. Although he protests his innocence, he is arrested at the urging of the angry Marie Antoinette. Margrid is also arrested. But before that, she manages to throw the bloody cloth of Madame Lapin at the queen's feet and accuse her of murder.

Second act:

In front of the Palace of Justice in Paris, a crowd awaits the verdicts in the collar trial. When Cardinal de Rohan comes out of the building and announces that he has been acquitted, everyone sees it as a public condemnation of the queen. The crowd curses Marie Antoinette. Margrid, who is also acquitted, fuels the anger of the crowd even further. Agnés urges her former student to exercise moderation. She considers hatred and lies to be the wrong means to change the world (“God is watching”).

Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI watch from a balcony of the castle. the festive entry of the Estates General. The Queen considers the convening of the meeting to be a mistake, the King tries to explain that he had no other choice because of the shattered state finances. Their argument becomes insignificant when news of her eldest son's death reaches her. Both are heartbroken. The representatives of the estates, Duke of Orléans and Robespierre, nevertheless demand the appearance of the king before the delegates.

While the Versailles assembly is radicalizing, the willingness to riot grows in Paris. After the storming of the Bastille , Margrid Arnaud, meanwhile one of the leaders of the beginning revolution, turned to the laundresses on the banks of the Seine (“Women of Paris”). She tells them to move to Versailles to be mothers and ask for bread for their children. But the women are not ready to leave work behind. Only when the Duke of Orléans offers them money do they take part. Men too quickly put on women's clothes to be there. Margrid is outraged by the Duke's cynicism, but nevertheless declares she is ready to lead the women's band.

In Versailles Marie Antoinette wrote a letter to Axel von Fersen, who after his return from America received a regimental post in the French provinces (“The only thing that is right”). The king rushes in excitedly. Angry women are about to storm the palace. Marie Antoinette wants to flee with the children, but then stays with the king, who refuses to flee. The door is already breaking off its hinges and the mob is pouring into the royal apartments. Only Margrid prevents the royal couple and the children from being attacked. The most radical of the "women" turns out to be the Duke of Orléans. He announces that he will bring the royal family to Paris on behalf of the people.

The royal seamstress Rose Bertin now has her own fashion shop in Paris. The changing fashion shows how quickly the revolution is advancing. Orléans recommends that she also sell guillotines, because this “Parisian style” is now the biggest hit.

The Jacobins meet in the vault of a Dominican monastery. They want to get rid of the king as a traitor, but they lack proof or at least a useful excuse. Orléans, who now calls himself “Citizen Philippe Égalite”, suggests that Margrid be used as a spy on Marie Antoinette.

Margrid becomes the queen's maid. The royal family has lived in a kind of house arrest in the Tuileries in Paris since they were forcibly removed from Versailles. There she visits Axel von Fersen. He persuades Marie Antoinette to flee. Everything is well planned, but the execution fails. A few kilometers before the border to save the refugee's carriage is stopped. King and Queen return to Paris.

Months later, the two and their children are locked in the Paris " Temple ". Louis XVI feels guilty. He knows that he lacks any political talent, and he believes that it was only his clumsiness that led to the fall of kingship (“Why do I have to be what I am not?”). Margrid still serves the queen as a maid in prison. In a moment of rapprochement, Marie Antoinette entrusts her with a letter for Axel von Fersen. It is a love letter, she explains. Margrid takes the letter before Robespierre appears and announces that France has been declared a republic.

In front of the prison, Agnés meets a gang of drunken rebels who are carrying the head of the murdered Princess Lamballe around on a long pole. At the last minute, Margrid can prevent the nun from being slain. As the mob moves away, Axel von Fersen steps out of the shadows. He asks for Marie Antoinette's letter. To make sure that the letter has no political content, Margrid lets Agnés read it. It turns out that it is by no means a love letter. Rather, the queen calls for the invasion of France by Europe's monarchies. This is the sought-after evidence of treason. Axel von Fersen pleads in vain for the handover.

Months later, Louis XVI. publicly beheaded after a short trial. Marie Antoinette turned white-haired overnight. She suspects her “maid” to have given the treacherous letter to the revolutionary authorities and thus brought about the execution of the king. But Margrid declares that she still has the letter. She smuggled Axel von Fersen into the prison and enables them to meet undisturbed.

The beloved proposes a new plan of escape. But Marie Antoinette refuses to leave the children behind. As soon as Fersen left, a delegation from the revolutionary convention appeared in the cell. Several men forcibly tear her young son from Marie Antoinette's arms. He should be removed from the “fateful” influence of his mother and entrusted to the care of a proletarian. Neither the mother's pleading nor the child's cries move the Jacobins. Margrid witnesses the scene. Suddenly she feels deep pity for the previously despised woman. The trial of Marie Antoinette finally takes place in the great hall of the Paris Palace of Justice. The prosecutor quotes Margrid on the witness stand. She should present the evidence she has with her. But she denies having ever received or seen a treasonous letter.

But the verdict has already been passed. The bloodthirsty mob wants the head of the hated queen. Margrid realizes that this has nothing to do with the ideals she fought for.

On the day of the execution she is on the way to the guillotine. Agnés urges caution. Due to her lack of cooperation in the legal process, Margrid has become suspicious of the Jacobins. The slightest sign of sympathy for the queen can now lead to her arrest.

Marie Antoinette gets out of the cart. A rude henchman pushes her and she falls to the ground. Margrid steps out of the crowd and helps Marie Antoinette on. Two women look at each other and each recognizes the person in the other.

Axel von Fersen learns of Marie Antoinette's execution in a Swedish monastery. While the masses in Paris celebrate their freedom, he consoles himself with the thought of a reunion in another world. Margrid feels ready in another way. She has learned to forgive (“Beyond all pain”).


Act I.
  • Prologue (The Great Cagliostro)
  • All we feel is hunger
  • Why she, why not I?
  • Look at her
  • Why don't they eat the cake?
  • Blinded by a thousand candles
  • Turn, turn
  • A perfect queen
  • I'm sorry
  • Gold out of nothing at all
  • The Voice in my Heart
  • You've got to give them what they want
  • If
  • Doctor Guillotin's Machine
  • Parce Qu'elle est Autrichienne
  • The Voice in my Heart (Reprise)
  • God cares for all
  • All I do
  • Lovers' bickering
  • I am the best
  • Seven weird ingredients
  • Some day to remember
Act II
  • The Bells of Justice
  • France on parade
  • Turn, turn (reprise)
  • Woman of Paris!
  • Money's talking
  • The only thing I ever did right
  • Something's wrong
  • The Paris cut
  • Reign of Terror
  • The Flight to Varennes
  • Why can't I just be a Smith
  • Turn, turn (recapitulation III)
  • Onward, Brothers!
  • Thank God, we're all mad
  • All I do (reprise)
  • Taking the Boy
  • Off with her head!
  • Her time is up
  • Blood must flow for Liberty!
  • Freedom!


Japan 2006-2007

Ensemble men:

Seiji Abe, Shinichi Ikeda, Kazuhiko Okara (2007), KENTARO, Noriyuki Konishi, Hiroku Saito, Hojine Shimada, Sugiyama Udai, Naoto Sanagawa, Koumi Takeuchi, Hirotaka Terui, Noboru Nakayama, Shigeo Matsuzawa, Kenji Yokosawa

Ensemble women:

Atsuko Iezuka, Kanako Ishida, Maki Chokori, Asami Kabashima, Shio, Kuri Suzuki, Miho Takashima, Hitomi Tori, Noriko Nakagawa, Yuriko Nakamura, Belle, Yuki Mitzutani, Akiko Yamaguchi

Bremen 2009

  • Marie Antoinette - Roberta Valentini (alt. Maricel ) / Cover: Anika Lehmann , Maike Switzer
  • Margrid Arnaud - Sabrina Weckerlin (alt. Marion Furtner) / Cover: Katie Schauer
  • Giuseppe Balsamo alias Cagliostro - Ethan Freeman (alt. Marc Clear)
  • Axel von Fersen - Patrick Stanke
  • Louis XVI - Tim Reichwein
  • Duke of Orléans - Thomas Christ
  • Agnés Duchamps - Maike Switzer
  • Pierre A. Caron de Beaumarchais - Udo Eickelmann
  • Madame Lamballe - Susanna Panzner
  • Madame de Polignac - Sonja Tièschky
  • Rose Bertin - Sarah Schütz
  • Léonard - Oliver Heim
  • Charles Boehmer - Fernand Delosch
  • Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotin - Daniele Nonnis
  • Madame Juliette Lapin - Bettina Meske
  • Cardinal de Rohan-Guéméné - Hans Neblung
  • Maximilien de Robespierre - Markus Maria Düllmann
  • Jaques René Hébert - Norbert Kohler
  • Turgot - Gerd Achilles
  • Escort ladies of the Hotel d'Orléans (4)
    • Anika Lehmann
    • Marthe Römer
    • Patrizia Margagliotta
    • Mona Graw
    • Julia Steingaß
  • Ensemble - Fredrik Andersson

Open-air theater Tecklenburg 2012

  • Margrid Arnaud - Sabrina Weckerlin / Marion Furtner (6.7., 12.8.)
  • Marie Antoinette - Anna Thorén
  • Giuseppe Balsamo alias Cagliostro - Yngve Gasoy-Romdal
  • Count Axel von Fersen - Patrick Stanke
  • Louis XVI - Frank Winkels
  • Duke of Orléans - Marc Clear
  • Agnés Duchamps - Wietske van Tongeren
  • Rose Bertin - Corinna Ellwanger
  • Léonard - Jan Altenbockum
  • Charles Boehmer - Julian Sylva
  • Madame Juliette Lapin - Anne Welte
  • Cardinal de Rohan-Guéméné - Sebastian's son
  • Maximilien de Robespierre - Michael Clauder
  • Madame Lamballe - Daniela Römer
  • Pierre A. Caron de Beaumarchais - Benjamin Witthoff

Escort ladies of the Hotel d'Orléans (4)

  • Yael de Vries
  • Elena Zvirbulis
  • Marthe Römer
  • Silja Schenk
  • Madame La Motte - Christina Hindersmann
  • Jaques René Hébert - Hakan T. Aslan

Ensemble women:

  • Lucy Costelloe

Ensemble men:

  • Andrew Hill
  • Kevin Foster
  • Jörn Ortmann

CD recordings

  • 2007 Cast album for the world premiere in Japan
  • 2009 Cast album of the German production

Web links