Release date: 2011
Venue: Donmar Warehouse, London
Ferdinand is an army major and son of President von Walter, a high-ranking noble in a German duke’s court, while Luise Miller is the daughter of a middle-class musician. The couple fall in love with each other, but both their fathers tell them to end their affair. The president instead wants to expand his own influence by marrying off his son Ferdinand to Lady Milford, the duke’s mistress. However, Ferdinand rebels against his father’s plan and tries to persuade Luise to elope with him. The president and his secretary Wurm (Ferdinand’s rival) concoct an insidious plot, arresting Luise’s parents for no reason. Luise declares, in a love letter to the Hofmarschall von Kalb, that only by death can she obtain her parents’ release. Luise is also forced to swear an oath to God to state she wrote this letter (actually forced on her) of her own free will. This letter is leaked to Ferdinand and deliberately evokes jealousy and vengeful despair in him.
Luise tries to get release from her oath by suicide, dying before Ferdinand and restoring their love’s innocence, but her father puts a stop to this by putting massive moral and religious pressure on the couple. This means she has only silence and the lie required by the oath to counter the charges against her. Luise is released from her secrecy by death, revealing the intrigue to Ferdinand and forgiving him, and Ferdinand reaches out his hand to his father at the moment of his death, which the President interprets as his son’s forgiveness.
In a subplot, Lady Milford is shown in a position between the middle and upper classes, in love with Ferdinand. She is confronted with Luise’s pure and simple love for Ferdinand. Despite Lady Milford’s love for him, they are intent on marriage and withdrawing from the world of the court.