Houston Ballet premieres new Marie Antoinette work

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As her spending habits, wardrobe choices and overall behavior became fodder for public outrage, the young princess became the object of gossip, backbiting and derision that ultimately led to her gruesome downfall.

Sex, lies, but no videotape for Marie Antoinette, the legendary French queen seen by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch as an 18th-century version of modern-day celebrities stalked by paparazzi and splashed across supermarket tabloids.

"I thought it was an interesting parallel," he said of the title character in his new ballet "Marie," which has its world premiere on Thursday in Houston. "She died for the sins of France and all the kings and queens that had gone before her. It wasn't necessarily for her. She was a victim."

While arts companies around the country are cutting productions, laying off staff and even closing, Houston Ballet is readying the three-act story ballet about the life and death of the woman at the center of the French Revolution.

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