American Ballet Theatre’s ‘Harlequinqade’ comes to SoCal

Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside in Harlequinade. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

COSTA MESA, CA – American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie has announced that ABT Principal Dancer Stella Abrera will dance the role of Pierrette at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in its West Coast premiere on Jan. 17. Abrera will also dance in the Jan. 20 matinee. Misty Copeland makes her debut as Pierrette on Friday, January 18.

Audiences are in for a delightful treat with this new production of a rare comic gem created over a remarkable 18 months by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, inspired by the archival notes Marius Petipa. Harlequinade is set to a score by Riccardo Drigo, played live by Pacific Symphony. The ballet features sets and costumes by Robert Perdziola, praised by Forbes as a “feast of colors and whimsy.” Harlequinade will be performed Jan. 17 – 20 in Segerstrom Hall.

As previously announced, the Thursday, Jan.17 opening night cast also includes Isabella Boylston as Columbine, James Whiteside as Harlequin and Thomas Forster as Pierrot. Additional casts include Skylar Brandt, Sarah Lane, Hee Seo, Christine Shevchenko, Cassandra Trenary, Alexandre Hammoudi, Blaine Hoven, Alban Lendorf, Tyler Maloney, Calvin Royal III and Daniil Simkin.

Claire Davison and James Whiteside in Harlequinade. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

Principal Casting for Harlequinade at Segerstrom Center for the Arts Artists and program are subject to change.

Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m. Columbine – Isabella Boylston Harlequin – James Whiteside Pierrette – Stella Abrera Pierrot – Thomas Forster

Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m. Columbine – Sarah Lane Harlequin – Alban Lendorf* Pierrette – Misty Copeland* Pierrot – Calvin Royal III*

Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m. Columbine – Skylar Brandt Harlequin – Daniil Simkin Pierrette – Hee Seo Pierrot – Alexandre Hammoudi

Saturday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m. Columbine – Cassandra Trenary Harlequin – Tyler Maloney* Pierrette – Christine Shevchenko Pierrot – Blaine Hoven

Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m. Columbine – Isabella Boylston Harlequin – James Whiteside Pierrette – Stella Abrera Pierrot – Thomas Forster

About the Ballet

Marius Petipa originally created Harlequinade, known as Les Millions d’Arlequin (Harlequin’s Millions), for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg in 1900, with music composition by the Imperial Ballet’s conductor and composer of the time Riccardo Drigo. A ballet in two acts, the plot revolves around the well-known characters of Italian commedia dell’arte: Pierrot, his wife Pierrette, Columbine and her romantic suitor Harlequin. Distilling through its own expressive language – Commedia’s particular traits of wit, humor, farce, and mime – Harlequinade tells the charming tale of the love-struck Harlequin and his pursuit of the captivating Columbine.

Taking inspiration from Petipa’s archival notes, acclaimed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has restaged this comic gem for American Ballet Theatre’s first full-length production of the ballet (a co-production with Australian Ballet), which received its world premiere in June of 2018 at the Metropolitan Opera House. Set and costumes are designed by Robert Perdziola in a sumptuous evocation of the Imperial Ballet and colorful Commedia dell’arte tradition.

Sarah Lane in Harlequinade. Photo: Erin Baiano.

The Story

In the first act, the Harlequin and Columbine are kept apart by her father Cassandre, who would prefer that his daughter marry the wealthier (and older!) Le?andre. Not to be deterred, Harlequin tries futilely to win Cassandre over, only to be turned away again and again by Cassandre and his servant Pierrot. Finally, with the help of a Good Fairy and Pierrot’s sympathetic wife Pierrette, Harlequin’s bad fortunes are turned around, and Cassandre agrees to bless the union. Harlequin and Columbine are married in the festive second act, when love finally triumphs over all.

The Center’s International Dance Series is made possible by the Audrey Steele Burnand Endowed Fund for International Dance and The Segerstrom Foundation Endowment for Great Performances. Segerstrom Center for the Arts thanks its corporate partners including Kia Motors America, Official Automotive Partner; and United Airlines, Official Airline.

American Ballet Theatre is one of the great dance companies in the world. Few ballet companies equal ABT for its combination of size, scope and outreach. Recognized as a living national treasure since its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more than 300,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do so.

For 78 years, ABT has appeared in a total of 132 cities in 50 countries and has performed in all 50 states of the United States. ABT has recently enjoyed triumphant successes with engagements in Paris, Brisbane, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. On April 27, 2006, by an act of Congress, American Ballet Theatre became America’s National Ballet Company®.

Pacific Symphony, led by Music Director Carl St.Clair for the last 29 years, has been the resident orchestra of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall for over a decade. Currently in its 40th anniversary season, the Symphony is the largest orchestra formed in the U.S. in the last 50 years and is recognized as an outstanding ensemble making strides on both the national and international scene, as well as here in Orange County. Pacific Symphony is dedicated to expanding the orchestral repertoire, illustrated through its many commissions and recordings, in-depth explorations of American artists and themes.

James Whiteside in Harlequinade. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor.

The Symphony’s innovative approaches to new works received the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming in 2005 and 2010. In April 2018, Pacific Symphony made its debut at Carnegie Hall as one of two orchestras invited to perform during a yearlong celebration of composer Philip Glass’ 80th birthday. The New York Times saluted Pacific Symphony as “excellent…a major ensemble.”

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is an acclaimed arts institution as well as a beautiful multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence, offering unsurpassed experiences and engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring arts-based education and community engagement programs. Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center is Orange County’s largest non-profit arts organization. In addition to its six performance venues, Segerstrom Center is also home to the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School.

The Center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.

Single tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s Harlequinade start at $29 and are now available online at
American Ballet Theatre – SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.

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