Pacific Northwest Ballet presents George Balanchine’s Coppélia

Pacific Northwest Ballet presents George Balanchine’s Coppélia

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.

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.



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.]



Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s Coppélia runs June 1-10 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center.  Showtimes are 7:30 pm June 1, 2 and 7-9, with 2:00 pm matinees on Saturdays June 2 and 9, and a 1:00 pm matinee on Sunday June 10.


Tickets ($28-$168) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office:

  • Phone: 206.441.2424 (Mon.-Fri. 9am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • In Person: 301 Mercer Street, Seattle (Mon.-Fri. 10am–6pm; Sat. 10am–5pm)
  • Online: (24/7)

Subject to availability, tickets are also available 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall.





Special activities for children and families – including crafts and dance classes – begin one hour before all matinee performances. FREE for ticketholders.



Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For group tickets, please call 206.441.2416, email [email protected] or use PNB’s Online Group Builder at



All Thursday and Friday performances: June 1, 7 and 8 at 7:30 pm

One ticket for $15 or two for $25 for patrons 25 years and younger! To purchase tickets, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424 or visit 301 Mercer Street. This offer is good for June 1, 7 and 8 performances only, is subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. Each attendee must present valid ID upon ticket retrieval.



PNB is a proud participant of Seattle Center’s Teen Tix program. Young people 13 to 19 years old can purchase tickets to PNB performances and other music, dance, theater and arts events for only $5. To join Teen Tix or view a list of participating organizations, visit



Subject to availability, half-price rush tickets for students and senior citizens (65+) may be purchased in-person with current, valid ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to show time at the McCaw Hall box office.



Friday, May 18, 6:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle

Join us for an hour-long dance preview led by Artistic Director Peter Boal and featuring PNB dancers rehearsing excerpts from Coppélia. PNB Friday Previews offer an upbeat and up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. (This event is SOLD OUT.) Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.



Tuesday, May 29, 12:00 noon

Central Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Join PNB for a free lunch-hour preview lecture at the Central Seattle Public Library. Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington will offer insights about Coppélia, complete with video excerpts. FREE of charge.



Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lecture 6:00 pm, Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Join PNB artistic director Peter Boal and Judith Fugate, stager and original cast member of Balanchine’s Coppélia, for an engaging discussion during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal. Attend the lecture only or stay for the rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $30 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, online at or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.


Pre-Performance Lectures

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing Coppélia to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.


Post-Performance Q&A

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.


Listen to the Ballet!

PNB partners with 98.1 Classical KING FM to bring listeners some of the world’s most popular ballet scores, featuring the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra direct from McCaw Hall. Tune in to KING FM for an opening weekend performance of Coppélia on Saturday, June 2 at 7:30 pm. Only on 98.1 fm or online at


Principal support for the 2010 PNB premiere of George Balanchine’s Coppélia was provided by Glenn Kawasaki, Dan & Pam Baty, Brady Richardson, Maurice Kanbar, Mrs. Jeannik Méquet Littlefield and Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation.  PNB’s Coppélia is a coproduction with San Francisco Ballet.  Media sponsor is KOMO-4.


PNB’s 2011-2012 Season is proudly sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. Additional season support is provided by Artsfund, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, 4Culture – King County Lodging Tax and Washington State Arts Commission.


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