“A triumph…” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
Surrender your heart to the ultimate ballet of the Romantic era. Haunting and poetic, Giselle tells the story of a peasant girl who falls in love with a prince, and the heartbreak and despair that follow. With a moving score by Adolphe Adam and choreography by the French master Marius Petipa, Giselle offers both the promise of young love and the tragedy of it slipping away, in one evening of stunning classical dance.
Principal Dancer Arantxa Ochoa will retire from the stage with Giselle, after 16 years dancing with the Company, transitioning to her new role as Principal Instructor of the School of Pennsylvania Ballet. Ms. Ochoa's final performance is scheduled for Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 2 p.m. Casting is subject to change.
Marius Petipa was born in Marseilles in 1822. His father Jean Antoine Petipa was a dancer, choreographer and teacher who brought up both Marius and his elder brother, Lucien, to follow the same profession. Petipa began his dance studies at age 7, but at first did not care much for the art form. He received a general education from the Grand College in Brussels. His performing debut came as a child in his father’s production of Pierre Gardel’s La Dansomanie in 1831.
Petipa and his father toured North America in 1839 after which he studied with Auguste Vestris in Bordeaux. There he appeared as principal dancer in many ballets including, Giselle, La Fille mal gardée and La Péri. In Bordeaux, Petipa also choreographed his own work, La jolie Bordelaise, La Vendange, L’Intrigue amoureuse and Le Langage des fleurs. Following the failure of the impresario in Bordeaux, he was immediately engaged at the King’s Theatre, Madrid. He remained in Spain as a dancer for four years, also studying Spanish dance. This influence led him to choreograph Carmen et son Toréro, La Perle de Séville, L’Aventure d’une fille de Madrid, La Fleur de Grenade, and Départ pour la course des taureaux.
Following a love affair with the Marquis de Chateaubriand, Petipa was obliged to leave Spain. In 1847 he went to St. Petersburg at the suggestion of ballet master Titus where he was offered a contract for one year as a principal dancer. For his debut he assisted dancer Frédéric in mounting Joseph Mazillier’s Paquita on the imperial stage, and he enjoyed much success in the largely mimed role of Lucien d’Hervilly. By February 1848, Petipa and his father had produced Mazilier’s Le Diable amoureux. The first ballet he choreographed in Russia was The Swiss Milkmaid (1849).
Petipa’s superiors could not have sensed the depth of his flair for ballet production when Jules Perrot was called to St. Petersburg in 1848 at the behest of Fanny Elssler to become resident ballet master. The immediate effect of Perrot on Petipa’s career was to reaffirm his duties as a dancer. Despite some minor works, Petipa’s muse fell silent for a decade. From performing the ballets of Perrot and Arthur Saint-Léon, Petipa did learn the value of intensely dramatic mimed scenes and the persuasive intervention of fantastic elements into everyday settings. He was also chosen by Perrot to assist him in producing new ballets.
This assimilated knowledge enriched Petipa’s native talents as a superior mime, an expert character dancer and behind the scenes, a politically astute courtier observing the state of ballet affairs. By the late 1850's Petipa must have known Perrot’s days in St. Petersburg were numbered. He returned modestly to choreography with A Regency Marriage (1858), The Parisian Market (1859) and The Blue Dahlia (1860), all of which were vehicles for Maria Sergeyevna Surovshchikova, whom Petipa had married in 1854. They had three children, one of whom became a well-known dancer, Marie Mariusovna.
Petipa’s breakthrough as a choreographer came in 1862 with the creation of La Fille du Pharaon, based on a novel by Gautier. On the strength of the success of this ballet, he was appointed one of the company’s ballet masters and was promoted to take charge of the Maryinsky company in 1869, the year that also saw the premiere of his Don Quixote. He established himself with his "ballets à grand spectacle", of which Le Roi Candaules (1868) and La Bayadère (1877) count. Hardly a new idea - ballets set in exotic locales had been around since the French Baroque - but Petipa linked the ballets to current events or fashions. La Bayadère came in the wake of a widely reported journey of the Prince of Wales to India.
Petipa married a second time in 1882 to a member of the Moscow Ballet, Lubova Leonidovna.
Inevitably with such a long career (56 years in the service of the one company), fashion turned against Petipa. Although officially titled ‘Ballet Master for Life’, the disaster of his The Magic Mirror (1903) brought about a retirement order. He retired with full ballet master’s pay. In 1906, Petipa’s memoirs were published, then subjected to harsh attack. Due to ill health Petipa moved to Gurzuf in southern Russia in 1907 where he lived until dying on July 14, 1910.
SPECIAL GISELLE PACKAGE
Giselle Rendez-vous Package
Dinner at Ruth's Chris and a Performance of Giselle! The perfect date night!