Support America’s National Ballet Company® DONATE NOW

ABT News

March 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 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

Back To ABT News >>