Monday, October 8, 2012

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Presents Giselle

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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Presents Giselle at the Benedum Oct. 26-28, 2012
2012-2013 Season Premieres with Live Orchestra

(Pittsburgh, PA) – Just days before Halloween, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre submerses audiences in a haunting story of undying love with Giselle, onstage with the live PBT Orchestra Oct. 26-28 at the Benedum Center.

Opening the 2012-2013 PBT Season, this great Romantic-era ballet offers the definitive dramatic role of the ballerina. Shattered by a lover's lie, descending into madness and death, Giselle's spirit is fated to revenge. Only Albrecht's true love can break the supernatural bond of evil that reaches beyond the grave. One of the most famous story ballets of all time, Giselle features choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot and the music of Adolphe Adam — the first original score ever composed for a ballet. Giselle premiered in 1841 at the Paris Opera Ballet.

“Giselle is a Romantic masterpiece that holds a special legacy for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre,” said Terrence S. Orr, PBT Artistic Director. “We’re extremely lucky to have Ballet Mistress Marianna Tcherkassky with us to pass down the tradition of this role, which earned her distinction as one of the greatest Giselles of her time.”

Drawing from the supernatural themes of the Romantic era and Eastern European folklore, the story of Giselle juxtaposes love and betrayal, life and death, vengeance and forgiveness as a vibrant peasant girl descends to the unearthly realm of the Wilis. Jilted in life by their lovers, these ghostly maidens are doomed to roam, seeking vengeance by luring young men to their deaths. Perhaps more subtle than the dual role of Swan Lake’s Odette and Odile, Giselle requires intricate artistry to embody both an earthly and ethereal essence, a mystique that makes it one of the ballerina’s most coveted roles.

For PBT Ballet Mistress Marianna Tcherkassky, Giselle became the breakout role of own career at American Ballet Theatre, leading the New York Times to call her “one of the greatest Giselles America has ever produced.” From her Giselle debut in 1976 to her retirement 20 years later, Tcherkassky performed the role countless times opposite partners ranging from Mikhail Baryshnikov to Rudolf Nureyev. Now, Tcherkassky coaches a new generation of ballerinas in dramatic and emotional interpretation of the character.

“What makes it so special is the contrast; Giselle is of this world and then suddenly she isn't,” Tcherkassky said. “The acting in Act II is subtler; it is all about creating illusion, finding ways to convey a mood and feeling that emanates love and forgiveness through the quality of movement….realizing that with every step you can create magic. You can make the ordinary, extraordinary.”

Under the direction of Music Director Charles Barker, the PBT Orchestra will explore the depth of Adam’s score, which innovated with musical themes to develop characters, settings and dramatic atmosphere throughout the production. Even before reaching the moonlit world of the Wilis, Adam’s score shades the brightness of Act I with suspense, building a feeling of foreboding that peaks with the sharp contrast be- tween Acts I and II.

Tickets for Giselle range in price from $25.75-$95.75 and can be purchased online at, by calling 412-456-6666 or visting The Box Office at Theater Square.

Giselle Performance Times
Friday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m.

Giselle with the Orchestra
October 26-28 — Benedum Center

Photography Credits:  Lois Greenfield

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