Dieter Stéphane Speidel 1950-2010. Is best known for creating and producing ‘Le Prince, a play that tells the story of the legend of Louis Henri de Bourbon, the 7th Prince de Condé (Chantilly 1692 – 1740) who believed he would be reincarnated as a horse. He therefore told architect Jean Marc Aubert to build the Grandes Écuries in Chantilly near Paris. This was a huge castle-like stables which had room for more than 300 horses. The Prince was able to see the stables when he had breakfast on the balcony of his water castle in Chantilly.
The horse musical Le Prince (music composed by Mike Turtle, London & Basel) first played in 2001 at the world’s largest horse fair, Equitana in Essen, Germany and then played almost 100 times in Germany, Switzerland and France for around 200,000 spectators.
Dieter believed that he would be able to bring this enchanted world to London. An entrepreneur he was a horseman, a business man and worked across a wide spectum of the business world including the hotel and entertainment world. He was a horse breeder and he had a publishing business.
His innovative ideas are finally reaching a wider audience with a flowering of horse theatre. His visionary theatre has been absorbed into the theatre of the horse we are now seeing flowering across America and Europe thanks to the Pignon brothers, Lorenzo and Bruno and now a host of equine stars. His great talent was to gather teams of people together and achieve what many saw as the impossible. He was an innovator, a leader and an inspired director. His world of the horse which was the one he loved most we hope will be the one for which he will be remembered.
Our last communication:
Thank you so very much for your lines.
I know this can be beaten and I work on it that the cancer will disappear! Thank you for your compassion and for taking the time to write to me. I send you a photo that was taken about a week before it was discovered. I’ll be back! Thank you for your prayers and I wish you the very best too and enjoy riding. Riding a horse is one of the best things we can do on earth! They bring as so much joy and the feeling to be one with the universe!
THE STORY OF LE PRINCE, the equestrian opera.
In 1692, Louis Henri of Bourbon was born in Chantilly.
He was the seventh Prince of Condé. He loved horses so much that he wanted to be reborn as a horse in his next life. At the age of twenty-seven, he gave a famous architect, Jean-Aubert, the task of designing a building for his stables which would look as beautiful as his lakeside palace.
Jean-Aubert produced the plans. The building for the stables was situated where the Prince could see it while breakfasting from the balcony of his lakeside palace. The construction took sixteen years, and in 1735 the stables were ready.
Meanwhile, the Prince served as a Minister at the Court of King Louis XV for three years.
For the opening of the building, now known throughout the kingdom as ‘The Great Stables’, the Prince invited the noblemen of every land to attend, on one condition – that they would perform unique and amazing presentations on their horses
The envoys of the Spanish royal family arrived, accompanied by musicians. They were followed by the Belgians, the Dutch, and the Swedish envoys.
When the Russians arrived and gave their presentation, the Prince saw the beautiful Russian Princess Natasha. He fell headlong in love with her and asked her to accompany him on the next day to the hunt.
His enemies at the court were against his marriage to Natasha, and set a Monster onto the Prince. The Monster frightens the Prince’s horse, causing him to fall and break his neck. The Princess, who has witnessed everything, cries in desperation for help, but instead day is suddenly transformed into night and dramatic music prevents her from further action.
Fire riders appear and drive the monster away as he is rejoicing at the death of the Prince.
A troop of dark figures surround the Prince like monks at prayer, accompanied by soulful music. The monks put out their torch lights and are plunged into darkness. Suddenly from the gloom there emerges a horse wearing a blue sash. It is the Prince who has been reborn as a horse!
The Princess rides on the Horse-Prince to the centre of the herd of horses and frees him to live in horse paradise with the herd.