Mata Hari

마타 하리
2019.06.18 - 06.19 Opera Theater, Seoul Arts Center(SAC)

Music

 Dmitry Shostakovich

Choreography

 Renato Zanella

Set Design 

 Alessandro Camera

Costume Design

 Carla Ricotti

Atelier

 NICOLAO ATELIER di STEFANO NICOLAO. — Venice

Lighting

 Jacopo Pantani

Projection Design

 Sergio Metalli

Graphic Design

 Mattia Metalli

Artistic Director

 Kang Suejin

마타 하리

Mata Hari
2019.06.18 - 06.19 예술의전당 오페라극장

Music

 Dmitry Shostakovich

Choreography

 Renato Zanella

Set Design 

 Alessandro Camera

Costume Design

 Carla Ricotti

Atelier

 NICOLAO ATELIER di STEFANO NICOLAO. — Venice

Lighting

 Jacopo Pantani

Projection Design

 Sergio Metalli

Graphic Design

 Mattia Metalli

Artistic Director

 Kang Suejin

Act 1

Cell No. 12 at the prison of Saint Lazare in Paris

The evening of October 14, 1917, Mata Hari is awaiting her execution in Cell No. 12. The short but intense life of the most brilliant dancer at the beginning of the 20th century is nearing its end. She knows: she is convicted by a world ruled by men and the espionage charges against her are false. Emancipation and freedom for women in this world is only a fragile dream. She smiles at the thought that the day will come when the world will find her innocent. But this will happen only when people are free to follow their hearts without fear, as she did. Mata Hari closes her eyes and her mind starts to go back in time.


McLeod’s home in Java, Indonesia

Margeretha Geertruida Zelle, Mata Hari’s real name, married Dutch Colonial Army Officer Rudolf McLeod. They had a son and a daughter, but someone with a grudge poisoned the children and only the daughter Louise survived. Her thoughts go back to her time in Java, where her marriage broke up but a new life began.


A dinner with officers

After a heated argument with McLeod, Mata Hari has to accompany her husband to a dinner party with his corrupt fellow officers. During the dinner, a beautiful performance by Javanese dancers and a young charming officer fascinate her. McLeod leaves the scene with others, and Mata Hari and the young man leave the group and dance together by themselves. At that moment, she at last feels the kindness and gentle love she so desperately wants. But the officer’s wife interrupts them in a fit of jealousy. She becomes violent in fear of her husband leaving her and finally takes a small gun from her purse and shoots herself. Mata Hari sees it as a warning and realizes that she would be the next victim of the tormenting life if she stays there.


McLeod’s home

Mata Hari returns home in tears to find her husband already drunk and agitated. The image of the dead woman never leaves her mind. However, McLeod does not show any interest in what she is saying and the conversation leads to a heated, violent fight. She decides to escape from that life, but when she tries to take her daughter with her, her husband warns that she would never see her again if she leaves.


Paris, France

Mata Hari no longer wants to stay in Java and decides to leave with whatever small amount of money she can scrape together and win over Paris, the most beloved city of Europe. A new life in Paris would be an exciting adventure. Safely ensconced in its reputation as Europe’s center of art, the most creative and talented people in the world are assembled there. Mata Hari meets new people and forges new friendships, and one of them, Maitre Clunet, a lawyer, will stick by her till her end. Paris’ high society always craves novelty, and Mata Hari concocts an alluring story about herself that piques people’s curiosity. The news that a unique and exotic dancer has come to Paris spreads.


At the backstage of a theater

Gabriel Astruc is a journalist, agent, promoter, and theatre manager, and he had a hand in many of the most notable performances and personalities of Belle Epoque Paris. He attends ballet rehearsals in search of inspiration. He wants to discover and promote a new talent. Clunet arranges an audition to introduce Mata Hari to Astruc, and Astruc is immediately bewitched by her never-before-seen dance and unique charm. He choses her as his new artist without hesitation.


Museum Guimet

Mata Hari’s debut performance with the dance of the veils is a huge success. She becomes a star overnight, and Astruc offers to represent her and promises her a splendid career. Cell No.12 is too cold for her to look back on such days. Freedom and success were the reasons she ends up there that night.


Recalling the “winds of war” in Cell No. 12

Mata Hari performed at the Museum Guimet on March 13, 1905. As Mata Hari made her career and the Belle Epoque was at its height, German Emperor Wilhelm II was already conducting war games in preparation for what would become the First World War. When conflict finally does break out, Germany invades other countries according to the Schlieffen Plan already devised in 1905.


A palace in Paris

Mata Hari wakes up from the nightmare and finds herself on the cold floor. She resents the war, which destroyed her perfect world. Her lover Xavier Rousseau, a banker, appears and asks her to follow him. Her thoughts go back to a night when she presents her newest show in a great ballroom in Paris. Astruc, Clunet, and Rousseau are there as well as George Ladoux of the French secret service, who will one day become her worst tormentor. That night, she also meets a young Russian officer, Vladimir Maslov, the man who will became her true love. Soon, German intelligence officer Hans Von Kalle joins them. Kalle will later make the French military believe that Mata Hari is a double agent.


The bedroom

The show is over. All Mata Hari can think about is Maslov, but she spends the night with Rousseau. He is deeply in love with her and spoils her as much as he can. A mansion in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the suburbs of Paris, is the next gift for her.


Ballets Russes

Having gained fame all over Europe, Mata Hari asks Astruc to arrange to meet Sergei Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes’ impresario when the company performs in Paris. Enthralled by the performance of Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinsky in the ballet Scheherazade, she ardently wishes to meet Diaghilev. Backstage, she meets Nijinsky for a brief and magical moment, but Astruc comes with the bad news that Diaghilev does not want to see her. A following dispute with Rousseau, who has come to comfort her, becomes the reason of their break-up. That night, Mata hari smiles as Maslov comes to the theater to meet his compatriots and approaches her backstage. Sparks fly between them. He reminds her of the young officer she met in Java, and she feels she can love him more than anyone. While recalling the dark past, the morning sun penetrates between the doors of her cell. This is not a time to die yet; she still has a life to live, things to say, and things to hope for.



Act 2

Mata Hari’s mansion

In her beautiful mansion, Mata Hari and Clunet are reading newspapers. It has been a long time since they did not carry any articles about her. She is convinced that Astruc will produce a contract with the Ballets Russes. But Astruc arrives and informs that Paris is no longer interested in her, which leaves her greatly disappointed. She thinks of Nijinsky’s performance alone. The only person who makes her happy is Maslov. However, that day, he was summoned by the Russian Consulate, and she is worried about him.


Office of the French secret service

The war is coming. Ladoux takes note of Mata Hari’s connections with major military figures. They have a pointed, unfriendly conversion. He believes she can influence foreign figures who can harm France. They come to terms to cooperate, and he needs all kinds of information about men he knows she is connected to.


Mata Hari’s mansion

After her meeting with Ladoux, Mata Hari cannot wait even just a day for Maslov’s return. She desperately needs him. With the war imminent and her career as a dancer over, she cannot help but feel lonely in the decadent high society. When Maslov breaks the news that he must leave for the war front, she begs him not to go, but he is not the kind of man who would ever betray his country.


A palace in Paris

After some time, Astruc accepts an invitation to assist a performance by a new dancer, Colette, and takes an unwilling Mata Hari with him: it is important for her to remain as a member of Paris’ high society. Surprisingly, it is Rousseau who holds the performance for Colette at the very same place where Mata Hari used to perform. Paris society is no longer interested in her and is instead enthusiastic about the new rising star. Seeing the difference in their attitude toward her, she realizes Paris is no longer a place she has to be.


Cell No. 12 at the prison of Saint Lazare in Paris

Mata Hari sits on the bunk and recalls Astruc trying to console her. Her recollection continues: a man approaches her and proposes to arrange performances in Berlin and meetings with people who can help her. Wishing to return to the stage, she accepts his proposal against Astruc’s opposition. Being Jewish, he refuses to support any relations with Germans. By accepting the proposal, Mata Hari comes to work for Germany under the code name “H21” and loses Astruc for good. Mata Hari is convinced to dance in Berlin, but the performance is cancelled due to the outbreak of the war. From then on, she has to struggle day after day merely to survive. German intelligence officer Kalle helps her go and see the injured Maslov. They have a moving reunion but cannot stay together long. Now, she intends to wait for him as long as she lives

and dedicate the rest of her life to him. Mata Hari has always acted like a free butterfly that cannot be held down but is now a slave to true love.


Back to Paris 

Both France and Germany are disappointed with information Mata Hari provides. She is of no use to either side. On the contrary, information disadvantageous to her is being gathered and the secret services of both sides want to eliminate her: one side considers that a way to raise its morale, and the other seeks revenge for losing out on the deal with her. Kalle informs Ladoux that Mata Hari works for Germany and that she is a double agent. She is arrested immediately upon her arrival in Paris.


Execution

Standing at the center of a courtroom, Mata Hari is sentenced to death. All of the society unites against her and blames her for its troubles. They are convinced that she is at fault for the deaths of countless people and the terrible damage that they have suffered. This is exactly what Ladoux intends. She is left alone: all abandoned her except her true friend Clunet. She desperately waits for Maslov, her last hope, but he denies any close relationship with her, as ordered by his superiors. Only then does Mata Hari stop fighting for her life and accept her fate. The door to Cell No.12 opens and she, beautifully dressed, appears through the thick mist. She stands proud in front of the soldiers in the firing squad before she closes her eyes forever.