May 16, 2012 |

She's back! Pacific Northwest Ballet presents George Balanchine's

June 1, 2 and 7-9 at 7:30 pm

June 2 and 9 at 2:00 pm

June 10 at 1:00 pm

SEATTLE, WA - Pacific Northwest Ballet concludes its 2011-2012 Season with its beautiful production of Coppélia, George Balanchine's classic comic ballet. PNB's production of Coppélia, which premiered in 2010 with new sets and costumes by Italian designer Roberta Guidi de Bagno, runs for eight performances only, from June 1 to 10 at Seattle Center's Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $28 and may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, online at, or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer St.

Audiences and critics were captivated when the curtain rose on PNB's premiere of its exquisite, wisteria-hued production of George Balanchine's Coppélia in June of 2010: "The audience actually gasped when the curtain went up" (Journal Newspapers). Originally created in 1870, Balanchine and famous ballerina Alexandra Danilova drew on source material and memory for 1974's New York City Ballet version. The story, inseparable from Léo Delibes' superbly melodic score, is a lighthearted comedy about vivacious young Swanilda, her impetuous suitor Franz, and the eccentric toymaker Dr. Coppelius. Though Franz loves Swanilda, he is swept away by Coppélia, a life-sized doll whom he believes is real. When Swanilda steals into Dr. Coppelius' workshop and discovers the truth about Coppélia, she dresses up as her rival and amuses herself by tricking both toymaker and her lover. All ends well in the final act's splendid wedding festivities, revised by Balanchine and enhanced by the addition of 24 "baby" ballerinas who frame ensemble and solo variations. Beautifully detailed by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno's lavish sets and costumes, this production is a complete delight for all ages. "Coppélia...demands repeat viewing" (


Music: Léo Delibes (Coppélia, ou la Fille aux Yeux d'Émail, 1869-1870; with excerpts from Sylvia, ou la Nymphe de Diane, 1876, and La Source [Naïla], 1866)

Book: Charles Nuitter, after E.T.A. Hoffmann's Der Sandmann, 1815

Choreography: Choreography by Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust (after Marius Petipa)

Staging: Judith Fugate and Garielle Whittle

Scenic and Costume Design: Roberta Guidi di Bagno

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Original Production Premiere: May 25, 1870; Paris Opera Ballet, choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon

Petipa Production Premiere: November 25, 1884, Imperial Ballet, St. Petersburg, choreography by Marius Petipa after Arthur Saint- Léon; revised 1894 by Enrico Cecchetti

Balanchine Production Premiere: July 17, 1974; New York City Ballet (Saratoga Springs, New York)

PNB Premiere: June 3, 2010

Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, including two intermissions.

Drawn from ballet's Romantic period and informed by a 19th-century fascination with mechanical toys, Coppélia is the tale of cheerful young lovers, Swanilda and Franz, whose courtship is briefly interrupted when Doctor Coppelius, the village's eccentric inventor, creates a doll so life-like that Franz becomes infatuated. When her suitor attempts a clandestine rendezvous, Swanilda evens the score by dressing as the doll and pretending to come to life. Ultimately, the pair is reconciled, and Act III's effervescent wedding-day festivities offer an array of spectacular dances.

Coppélia marked the passing of ballet supremacy from France to Russia. Originally choreographed by Arthur St. Léon in Paris in 1870, it was restaged by Marius Petipa in St. Petersburg in 1884 and revised by Enrico Cecchetti in 1894. Little, if any, of St. Léon's choreography remains in today's production, although Acts I and II retain his ideas and the story of mischievous young lovers. Balanchine provided entirely new choreography for Act III.

Balanchine wrote, "In 1974, I decided we should stage Coppélia at the New York City Ballet and asked the ballerina and teacher Alexandra Danilova, celebrated for many years for her Swanilda, to collaborate with me on the choreography. I remember very well performances by the Russian Imperial Ballet of Coppélia and as a member of the company danced in the mazurka.

"I have often said that Delibes is one of my favorite composers for dance. In our new Coppélia, we used the entire score of the three-act version. The first dance drama of really uniform excellence deserves no less! No part of the ballet is subordinate to any other; most important of all, ballet music in Coppélia participates in the dance drama as never before, Delibes' charming, melodic music assisting the plot and unifying the music and dance. Tchaikovsky was directly inspired by Delibes' score to write his own ballet music. Delibes is the first great ballet composer; Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky are his successors." [Program notes by Doug Fullington.]

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