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Libretto: Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier

Music: Adolphe Adam

Choreography: Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, and Marius Petipa

Choreography Reconstruction:  Doug Fullington

Historical Adviser: Marian Smith

Staging: Peter Boal

Scenic & Costume Design: Peter Farmer

Lighting Design: Randal G. Chiarelli

World Premiere Staging

June 3-12, 2011

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

SEATTLE, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet’s season finale production of Giselle marks a world premiere staging by Artistic Director Peter Boal, as well as the first time an American ballet company has revived a classic based on original material researched by Stepanov notation expert Doug Fullington in collaboration with leading Giselle scholar Marian Smith.  Since its Paris premiere in 1841, Giselle has become one of the most popular ballets of all time and is considered ballet’s great tragedy. A masterpiece of the Romantic era, Giselle tells the story of a young peasant girl seduced and betrayed by a nobleman. Dying of a broken heart, Giselle joins the ranks of the supernatural Wilis, women scorned before their wedding day and doomed to take their revenge for eternity. Giselle runs for eight performances only, June 3 through 12, 2011 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $27 and may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at Pacific Northwest Ballet’s website.

“We are very excited to be producing this iconic ballet which has never before been in PNB’s repertory,” said Mr. Boal. “It has been fascinating for all of us to explore this timeless classic using sources closely tied to the original production. The studio experience has been fascinating. I look forward with great anticipation to bringing this unique production of Giselle to our audiences.”


Giselle is widely acknowledged as the greatest ballet of the Romantic era. The sources utilized for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Giselle include a repetiteur (a rehearsal score, including detailed descriptions of the ballet’s action) believed to have been prepared in Paris, circa 1842, to assist in the staging of Giselle in St. Petersburg that year. The repetiteur includes detailed information relating to the action of the ballet and how it relates to the score by French composer Adolphe Adam. Another primary French source is a complete notation of Giselle likely made in 1860’s Paris by ballet master Henri Justamant. This elaborate notation recently surfaced in a private collection in Germany and has now been published. The other important source is a choreographic notation made in St. Petersburg, circa 1899–1903. This notation was made using the Stepanov notation system developed in St. Petersburg in the early 1890s. (The Stepanov system of dance notation encodes dance movements utilizing the Western music notation system.) The production represents French choreographer Marius Petipa’s version of Giselle that was based on the original Paris production, choreographed by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. The Stepanov notation of Giselle was used in the West for historic stagings by Paris Opéra Ballet and the Vic-Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet). The notation is now housed at the Harvard Theatre Collection.

In collaboration with Peter Boal, who will oversee the entire staging, Marian Smith will focus on the French sources and their use for the action of the ballet, and Doug Fullington will reconstruct choreography using the Stepanov notations. This production marks the first time an American ballet company will base a production on Stepanov notation as well as the first use in modern times of the rare French sources for Giselle.

“Collaborating on Giselle with Peter Boal, Marian Smith, and the PNB musicians and dancers has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Mr. Fullington. “Every step in the re-creation of this great work has been exciting.”

On January 9, 2011, the lecture-demonstration “Pacific Northwest Ballet – Giselle Revisited” was presented as part of the Works & Process series at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.  In the sold-out program, dancers Carrie Imler, Carla Körbes, James Moore and Seth Orza performed excerpts from PNB’s new staging of Giselle, and Mr. Boal discussed the production with Mr. Fullington and Ms. Smith.  For the first time, Works & Process provided a live stream of the program so that it could be watched by audiences online.  The full 80-minute program is available for viewing by visiting PNB’s website.


Tickets to Giselle start at $27 and 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)

Tickets are also available (subject to availability) 90 minutes prior to each performance at McCaw Hall, located at 321 Mercer Street.


All Thursday and Friday performances: June 3, 9 and 10 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 3, 9 and 10 performances only. Offer 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 ID, beginning 90 minutes prior to show time at the McCaw Hall box office.


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


Friday, May 20, 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 performing excerpts from Giselle. PNB Friday Previews offer an upbeat and up-close view of the Company preparing to put dance on stage. Tickets are $10. (This event will sell out in advance.) Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.


Sunday, May 22, 2:00

Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Avenue on Capitol Hill, Seattle

PNB’s Sunday afternoon series features an hour-long discussion about Giselle with PNB dancers Maria Chapman, Carla Körbes, James Moore and Lucien Postlewaite, discussing their roles in PNB’s world premiere staging of the Romantic-era classic. In the casual atmosphere of the Elliott Bay Book Company reading room. All Conversations with PNB are FREE of charge.


Tuesday, May 31, 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 Giselle, complete with video excerpts. FREE of charge.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lecture 5:30 pm, Allen Room at McCaw Hall  [Note earlier starting time and new location]

Dress Rehearsal 7:00 pm, McCaw Hall

Elizabeth Cooper, Director of the University of Washington Dance Program, moderates a panel discussion with PNB’s Giselle creators: Peter Boal, artistic director and stager; Doug Fullington, choreography reconstruction; and Marian Smith; historical adviser. Hear from the panel about the sources, collaboration, and results of PNB’s year-long effort to restore, revive, and rejuvenate one of the world’s most beloved ballets. Attend the lecture only or stay for the dress rehearsal. Tickets are $12 for the lecture, or $25 for the lecture and dress rehearsal. Tickets may be purchased by calling 206.441.2424, online or in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street.

Pre-Performance Lectures

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 ballet to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.

Post-Performance Q&A

Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers. Immediately following each performance in the Norcliffe Room at McCaw Hall. 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 to listen to a live performance of Giselle on Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 pm. Only on 98.1 fm or online at

Schedule and programming subject to change.  

Giselle is made possible by major sponsor 4Culture, supporting sponsors Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Moss Adams LLP, Nesholm  Family Foundation, PONCHO and UW Medicine, and media sponsor KOMO 4. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2010-2011 Season is proudly sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. Additional season support is provided by ArtsFund, National Endowment for the Arts, PONCHO, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, 4Culture – King County Lodging Tax, The Wallace Foundation, and William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Watch a video of the lost scenes of Giselle.

Watch a video of the Works and Process programme at the Guggenheim

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