American Ballet Theatre Performs Giselle at Segerstrom Hall
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The last date listed for American Ballet Theatre: Giselle was Thursday November 5, 2009 / 7:30pm.
Currently at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall
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For the company’s 21st visit, American Ballet Theatre (ABT) will dance its universally acclaimed production of the heartbreaking romance Giselle at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Segerstrom Hall. Giselle is a perfect match for the exquisite artistry and technical virtuosity of ABT’s unrivaled roster of international ballet stars who bring the story of unrequited love, remorse and forgiveness vividly to life. The New York Times proclaims “…this (Giselle) happens to be the best America has ever seen…”
ABT’s current staging of Giselle is by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie with choreography after Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa. The libretto is by Theophile Gautier on a theme by Heinrich Heine with music by Adolphe Adam, orchestrated by John Lanchbery. The production features scenery by Gianni Quaranta, costumes by Anna Anni and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. Pacific Symphony will perform the Giselle score for the Center engagement.
Giselle was first presented by American Ballet Theatre (then Ballet Theatre) during the Company’s inaugural season at the Center Theatre in New York City on January 12, 1940. The original ABT production had choreography by Anton Dolin after Jean Coralli and scenery and costumes by Lucinda Ballard and was danced by Annabelle Lyon as Giselle and Anton Dolin as Albrecht. The Company has since performed five additional productions of Giselle.
Giselle tells the tale of a weak-hearted peasant girl whose love for Albrecht, a nobleman in disguise, is not realized until her death. Upon dying, Giselle is transported to the moonlit land of the Wilis, vengeful spirits of brides who have died before their wedding day. It remains one of ballet’s most moving tales of mystery, undying love and redemption.
One of the oldest continually-performed ballets, Giselle had its world premiere on June 28, 1841 at the Theatre de l’Academie Royale de Musique in Paris, with choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, danced by Carlotta Grisi as Giselle and Lucien Petipa as Albrecht. Since then, this ballet has entered the repertoire of almost all of the major ballet companies in the world.
Kevin McKenzie was appointed Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre in October 1992. His previous choreographic credits for ABT include The Nutcracker, Don Quixote (in collaboration with Susan Jones) a new production of Swan Lake, the conception and direction of a new production of Raymonda (with choreography by Anna-Marie Holmes) and a new production of The Sleeping Beauty with Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov. McKenzie was a leading dancer with both The Joffrey Ballet and the National Ballet of Washington before joining American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in March 1979. He was appointed a Principal Dancer the following December and danced with the company until 1991. A native of Vermont, McKenzie received his ballet training at the Washington School of Ballet.
Gianni Quaranta (scenery) is a Milan-born art director, costumer, interior designer and painter. Some of his theatrical credits include Volpone (Paris), A Streetcar Named Desire (Rome), A Comedy of Errors (Rome) and Lorenzaccio (Paris). Long a favored collaborator of director Franco Zeffirelli, Quaranta was art director on Otello, Brother Sun, Sister Moon and La Traviata. The two also worked together on Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera. He has also done operatic productions at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the Bregenz Festival and at the Dallas Opera. A few of Quaranta’s noteworthy credits in the field of cinema include Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900, Paul Mazursky’s Tempest, NBC’s epic miniseries Jesus of Nazareth and A Room With a View, which won him an Academy® Award for art direction.
Anna Anni (costumes) started out as a painter of murals but turned to the theater, becoming costume assistant to Franco Zeffirelli. She made her solo debut as a costume designer in the highly successful Fenice production of Handel’s Alcina sung by Joan Sutherland. This led to collaborations with directors Mauro Bolognini and Sandro Sequi. Anni returned to Zeffirelli to collaborate on the stage production of La Lupa. Again with Zeffirelli, she designed costumes for Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at La Scala, the ballet Swan Lake at La Scala, the film version of Otello starring Plácido Domingo, Turandot (1987 at the Metropolitan Opera) and Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote (1987 at La Scala). Anni continues to reside in her native Florence where she teaches fashion design.