During the 19th century at the Paris Opera, one was not allowed to write an opera that did not include a ballet section. This was because the very wealthy patrons of the opera at that time were mostly bachelors who had liaisons with members of the corps de ballet. The men would go out to dinner at the elegant restaurants of Paris - such as Maxims - and then arrive at the opera for the final act to see their mistresses perform.
The ballet Walpurgisnacht was originally choreographed for the fifth act of Charles Gounod’s opera Faust. It depicts the bacchanal which Mephistopheles has invited Faust to attend. It is Walpurgis Night (the eve of May 1st) in the Harz Mountains. Since the premiere of Gounod’s Faust, there have been many versions of the ballet choreographed for productions of the opera, as well as stand-alone ballets. This version is principal dancer Timour Bourtasenkov’s interpretation especially for Carolina Ballet.