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ABT at Civic Opera House in Chicago, April 19-24


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AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE FOLLOWS TRIUMPHANT 2004 CHICAGO VISIT WITH EIGHT PERFORMANCES OF GISELLE AT THE CIVIC OPERA HOUSE, APRIL 19-24, 2005

Alessandra Ferri, Julie Kent, and Amanda McKerrow Among Principals Performing the Role of Giselle

2004-05 Marks Ferri’s 20th Anniversary Season with ABT

11/30/2004 - Following its triumphant return to Chicago last Spring after a nine-year absence, the internationally-renowned American Ballet Theatre will present the full-length romantic classic, Giselle, in eight performances only, at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, April 19-24, 2005. This engagement marks the Chicago Premiere of Giselle as staged by American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancers Alessandra Ferri and Angel Corella will dance the roles of the ill-fated lovers, Giselle and Albrecht, on the Opening Night program, Tuesday, April 19, 2005. Ferri’s appearances in Chicago also celebrate her 20th Anniversary season with American Ballet Theatre. Ferri, who joined the Company as a Principal Dancer in 1985 after a five-year career with The Royal Ballet, has danced nearly all of the major ballerina roles including Nikiya in La Bayadère, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and the title role in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, as well as such contemporary works as Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances and Agnes de Mille’s Fall River Legend. Ferri is a permanent guest artist with La Scala in Milan and is renowned as an international guest artist.

Additional casts of Giselle include ABT Principal Dancers Julie Kent and Amanda McKerrow. Complete casting will be announced at a later date.

“We are particularly pleased to return to Chicago and the magnificent Civic Opera House,” said Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. “Our engagement last year, after an almost decade-long absence, was a box office and critical success. We hope to build upon that achievement and look forward to performing for Chicago audiences year after year.”

Giselle tells the tale of the 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. With its sense of mystery, undying love and redemption, Giselle is considered the quintessential Romantic ballet.”

This production of Giselle, with scenery by Gianni Quaranta, costumes by Anna Anni and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, was created for the 1987 film Dancers (Cannon Films) which incorporates the ballet into its storyline. It was staged at that time by Mikhail Baryshnikov after Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa, with additional staging by John Taras and Elena Tchernichova. McKenzie restaged the ballet, with the Quaranta sets and Anni costumes in 1995. American Ballet Theatre’s 85+ member company will be accompanied by a live orchestra performing the traditional Adolphe Adam score.

Giselle is the oldest continually-performed ballet, having had its World Premiere on June 28, 1841 at the Theatre de l’Academie Royale de Musique in Paris, with choreography by Coralli and Perrot. Since then, this ballet has entered the repertoire of almost all of the major ballet companies in the world. 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.

Performances of Giselle at the Civic Opera House are as follows: Tuesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, April 20, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 23, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 24, at 2 p.m.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s Giselle, which range in price from $90 - $18, can be purchased by calling (312) 902-1500; visiting the Civic Opera House box office; or on line at www.ticketmaster.com. Groups of 15 or more can receive discount pricing by calling (312) 922-2110, ext. 357.

Countrywide Financial is the National Sponsor of American Ballet Theatre and Cole Haan is a Leading Benefactor. For more information on American Ballet Theatre’s presentation of Giselle at the Civic Opera House April 19-24, 2005, please call (312) 902-1500 or visit www.civicoperahouse.com".

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American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancers Alessandra Ferri and Angel Corella will dance the roles of the ill-fated lovers, Giselle and Albrecht, on the Opening Night program, Tuesday, April 19, 2005.

Additional casts of Giselle include ABT Principal Dancers Julie Kent and Amanda McKerrow. Complete casting will be announced at a later date.

Okay, now I'm really mad. I spent a fruitless 15 minutes yesterday on the phone with Ms. Kelly Ryan of ABT's press office, trying to extract casting information about the company's two-week season at the Kennedy Center, which begins on Feb. 1. She gave me the runaround, claiming that union contracts stipulated that casting was to be announced only a month before the performance. When I pointed out that casting was available for performances at the Met in July, she said that that was a special case. I guess Chicago is a special case, too, but that Washington, which was once considered ABT's home, is unimportant.

I would think that with ABT's finances in the state they're in, they would do all they could to encourage ticket sales and maintain good audience relations.

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I am duly noting from Ari's experiences the vagueries of casting notices ... but wondering also if the Chicago casting has been released more completely? Anybody know how to get this information?

This has got to be SO frustrating for the early 2005 tour cities.

The only place , other than the ABT offices, that I know of is the website.

And sure enough there's no casting there, even for DC, until the NYC opening in May, and looking at it quickly, the NYC casting seems pretty detailed.

Now, NYC is where I will see them, but I can certainly see that this may not seem right to those looking in other cities.

richard

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Perhaps the thinking is that the New York audiences definetly buy based on, and are highly knowledgeable about, the casting of each performance - and since the Met season is such a major part of ABT's finances each year, they'd want to pump up as much advanced sales as possible for that. Whereas on tour, the majority - and I'm not saying all - care far less about who is dancing what on what night. They'll buy based on ABT's brand name or on the story ballet being performed, and not necessarily by who specifically is dancing.

Now I know this varies depending on the city, but based on the audiences I see here in Orange County, this is true: most don't care who exactly the prima ballerina is, they came because it was ABT. Only if the star is exceptional - e.g. Alessandra Ferri's Romeo and Juliet in Los Angeles last year - will the balletomanes turn out and significantly increase the crowd at a performance. And that one date will be advertised far in advance. Otherwise, casting remains notoriously mysterious from the various tour box offices...

Just a thought.

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And an excellent thought at that. I agree; the people I know who attend ABT performances here don't care about the casting. I doubt most of them could even name more than one or two dancers in the company (Sasha Radetsky, in the case of the youngsters ... :wub::)).

Last year, though, ABT managed to provide us the cast list a good couple of months in advance.

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I received a flyer with the Chicago castings.

4/19 eve Ferri, Corella, Murphy

4/20 mat Kent, Carreno

4/20 eve Herrera, Gomes

4/21 eve Ferri, Corella, Murphy

4/22 eve Kent, Carreno

4/23 mat Reyes

4/23 eve Ananiashvili, Beloserkovsky

4/24 mat Mckerrow, Stiefel

Cornejo TBD

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No. Putting that more positively, ABT's Giselle is a solid, sensible production and you would probably be happy with several of the casts. I've liked Kent very much in the role and I've never seen McKerrow in the part, but certainly would given the opportunity.

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Myself, I would choose Ferri...

I saw Nina in the role and she was excellent & very moving, however since she has been "on leave" for a while it might be a bit risky to buy tickets in advance just to see her...in the event her "leave" needs to be extended (hopefully not!)

If there is a chance of waiting til the last minute before buying, you could wait to be sure Nina is appearing...but by that point the week will have passed by and your choices will diminish.

Many times in the past I have banked on announced dancers/singers showing up and been disappointed. These days, exchange options seem a bit more relaxed...esp. at the Met (for opera; not sure how they feel about exchanging ballet tix). Of course, on any given night you run the risk of a cast change...it goes with the territory. And cast changes are sometimes unexpectedly rewarding.

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Myself, I would choose Ferri...

I'm hoping to see Ferri in Giselle this Summer too, Oberon.

But last year ABT, both the Srping and the Met and the Fall at City Center had pretty poor attendance.

I was really pretty obsessive, I saw about 20 performances and none were close to sold out.

Soo....... We don't know if attendance will be so bad this year, but if so, there will be a good selection of tickets at the last minute.

What I plan to do is hedge bets. I already ordered some tickets via subscription.

then some others I'll get at the last minute to try to avoid as much of the injury, illness thing as I can.

Richard

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I have a feeling some parts of Giselle may be a bit of a stretch for Ferri at this point in her career, but I would still choose her and Corella - they are both such wonderfull artists and their Romeo & Juliet last summer was just unbelievable.

Nina & Max would also be wonderful but I agree with the posters who said it might be risky since she’s been on medical leave.

My plan is the same as Richard53dog - I’m buying in advance for Ferri & McKerrow and will get tickets for Nina when I’m sure that she’s back....

By the way, I saw McKerrow a couple of years ago and she was wonderfull, sweet in the 1st act and very ethereal in the 2nd

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Treefrog, you posted just what I wanted to know! Thanks! Question is, how did you find this out? And, I was also confused by the ABT press release at abt.org, thinking - okay, wishing - on the basis of that alone that Ananiashvili might tour with the company and then absent herself from it for whatever reason. Now I see from this forum that she's already absent. It just goes to show ya, yet again, to read Ballet Talk first, when you want to know what's going on!

Cliff, thanks for your posting the information in a form more user-friendly than ABT's own flyer. May I just add a footnote to your post for those who haven't seen the flyer, for completeness' sake? While Cornejo's dates are to be determined, his role is determined; he's in the Peasant Pas de Deux.

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From ABT:

CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE’S GISELLE AT THE CIVIC OPERA HOUSE, APRIL 19-24, 2005

3/21/2005 - The internationally-renowned American Ballet Theatre has announced principal casting for its upcoming Chicago engagement of the full-length romantic classic, Giselle, at the Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, in eight performances only, April 19-24, 2005. This engagement marks the Chicago Premiere of Giselle as staged by American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancers Alessandra Ferri and Angel Corella will dance the roles of the ill-fated lovers, Giselle and Albrecht, on the Opening Night program, Tuesday, April 19, and again on Thursday evening, April 21. Dancers performing the lead roles in other performances include Julie Kent and Jose Manuel Carreño at the Wednesday matinee, April 20, and Friday evening, April 22; Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomes perform Wednesday evening, April 20, and at the Saturday matinee, April 23; Amanda McKerrow and Maxim Beloserkovsky perform Saturday evening, April 23; and Xiomara Reyes and Gennadi Saveliev complete the week’s engagement at the Sunday matinee, April 24.

Alessandra Ferri’s appearances in Chicago celebrate her 20th Anniversary season with American Ballet Theatre. Ferri, who joined ABT as a Principal Dancer in 1985 after a five-year career with The Royal Ballet, has danced nearly all of the major ballerina roles including Nikiya in La Bayadère, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and the title role in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, as well as such contemporary works as Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances and Agnes de Mille’s Fall River Legend. Ferri is a permanent guest artist with La Scala in Milan and is renowned as an international guest artist.

“This production of Giselle is such a strong showcase for the female principals of American Ballet Theatre since the title role requires an exquisite dance stylist with daring theatrical and technical skills,” said McKenzie. “We’re especially proud to celebrate Alessandra Ferri’s 20th year as a member of ABT and to let her shine in one of her most famous roles on Chicago’s Opening Night.”

The quintessential fusion of music, movement and drama, Giselle tells the tale of the 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. With its sense of mystery, undying love and redemption, Giselle is considered the quintessential Romantic ballet.

This production of Giselle, with scenery by Gianni Quaranta, costumes by Anna Anni and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, was created for the 1987 film Dancers (Cannon Films) which incorporates the ballet into its storyline. It was staged at that time by Mikhail Baryshnikov after Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa, with additional staging by John Taras and Elena Tchernichova. McKenzie restaged the ballet, with the Quaranta sets and Anni costumes in 1995. American Ballet Theatre’s 85+ member company will be accompanied by a live orchestra performing the traditional Adolphe Adam score.

Giselle is one of the oldest continually-performed ballets, having had its World Premiere on June 28, 1841 at the Theatre de l’Academie Royale de Musique in Paris, with choreography by Coralli and Perrot. Since then, this ballet has entered the repertoire of almost all of the major ballet companies in the world. 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.

Performances of Giselle at the Civic Opera House are as follows: Tuesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, April 20, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 23, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 24, at 2 p.m.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s Giselle, which range in price from $90 - $18, can be purchased by calling (312) 902-1500; visiting the Civic Opera House box office; or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Groups of 15 or more can receive discount pricing by calling (312) 922-2110, ext. 357.

Chicago Title is the Lead Corporate Sponsor of American Ballet Theatre's Chicago engagement. Countrywide Financial is the National Sponsor of American Ballet Theatre and Cole Haan is a Leading Benefactor. For more information on American Ballet Theatre’s presentation of Giselle at the Civic Opera House April 19-24, 2005, please call (312) 902-1500 or visit www.civicoperahouse.com.

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Veteran ballerina Alessandra Ferri will not open American Ballet Theatre's "Giselle" at the Civic Opera House later this month or perform during the engagement here.

Ferri injured her ankle and is out of commission for the April 19-24 run here and the later Los Angeles engagement.

This from an article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune. Julie Kent will replace Ferri on opening night.

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What's more common is to have both partners removed from a performance. In this case, Angel Corella, who was scheduled to open with Ferri, will dance with Kent on opening night, 19 April, but she will dance with Jose Manuel Carreno on 21 April.

Towards the end of NYCB seasons or during virulent bouts of the flu, the program insert listing substitutions sometimes seems longer than the original casts :(

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Ah, yes! Mrs. Stahlbaum reminds me that dancers auditioning for the Stiefel and Stars Performance Project in early March received an email saying that Stiefel was having unexpected knee surgery. Thanks for that information, Mrs. Stahlbaum. (And thank you also for checking with me before posting possible gossip -- in this case, there was an official communication.)

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