To celebrate the past as it achieves a grand jeté into the future, the Houston Ballet begins its 50th anniversary season this week with artistic director Stanton Welch’s stunning vision of the classic ballet Giselle.
A not-so-simple tale of a peasant girl who dies of heartbreak, the ballet holds powerful and dynamic female roles and ultimately reveals a message of love, forgiveness, and redemption through dance.
Set to 19th-century French composer Adolphe Adam’s immortal score, Welch’s (literal) million-dollar production of the ballet was created for Houston Ballet dancers. It first debuted and was last seen at the Wortham Center in 2016, and many in the company then will return to their original roles for this production.
The decision to bring this production back for the 50th anniversary season was no happenstance, as Marius Petipa’s Giselle was the first full-length ballet performed by the company’s precursor, the Houston Ballet Foundation.
“I really wanted to honor what brought ballet to Houston and what inspired this city to build a professional ballet company,” explained Welch in a statement about the production.
Giselle features set and costume designs by a HB favorite, Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno, who also created the opulent world of The Merry Widow in June and will return to design for the romantic tragedy that concludes this season in 2020, Romeo & Juliet.
Giselle takes the first pirouette into this season-long spin through the Houston Ballet’s rich past that also gives dance lovers glimpses into the future, for this golden anniversary season holds resonating visions of the classics as well as innovative world premieres.
“Part of the mission in creating the season’s repertoire was to look back at what we have done. Our body of work is so rich, and we’ve drawn from it an extraordinary collection of ballets and choreographers. We are so excited to share this anniversary season with Houston,” declared Welch, when the 50th season was announced back in February.
Giselle runs September 6-15 in the Wortham Center. For tickets and showtimes, visit the Houston Ballet.