If there's any company that has preserved and adapted through the pandemic, it's the Pasadena Civic Ballet, which has found a creative way to mount more than one production and continue performing opportunities for their students. After successfully producing al fresco performances of The Nutcracker and The Wizard of Oz over the last six months, the company is now taking it up a notch with a weekend of Giselle Under the Stars, starring Petra Conti and Eris Nezha, on June 12 and 13 intimate outdoor salon setting.
To make the ballet even more special, Conti has enlisted the talents of Maestro Daniel Suk, Artistic Director & Conductor, Dream Orchestra Los Angeles, to conduct the live musical performance for the show. It's a treat for Southern California audiences to experience live music to accompany the beautiful work of Conti and Nezha, who are former principal dancers with Teatro alla Scala and the Boston Ballet. The married couple has brought their incredible technique, not only to Pasadena Civic Ballet Company's stage, but also to the students who study at the school.
Bringing live music to accompany dance in Los Angeles has been a big mission for them, so their work with the Pasadena Civic Ballet is just one step along their journey. When News Break spoke with them in 2019, they wanted to make sure that LA audiences were able to experience what same magic as other cities. "We come from La Scala and Boston Ballet, where there is always live music. L.A. needs this," said Nezha.
Maestro Suk agrees with Nezha's assessment and that's why he's thrilled to be working with the Pasadena Civic Ballet this weekend. "Live music has a magical quality and creates a deep connection and touch between the artists and the audience," he explained. "Ballet was and is designed to be accompanied by a live orchestral performance."
Giselle is a romantic ballet that features a story of love and betrayal for a young peasant girl, who falls for deceitful nobleman Albrecht. The heartache and consequences of the ill-fated romance are beautifully illustrated through composer Adolphe Adam's music, which Pasadena Civic Ballet audiences will get to experience live. "The score features an incredible range of music from fantastic waltz to melancholy melodies," shared Suk. "Giselle is absolutely Adam’s best work. The music perfectly accompanies the balletic movement and storyline."
The conductor is thrilled to be back working with Conti and Nezha after successfully creating Petra Conti & Friends: I’m Gonna Live Forever at Zipper Hall in Downtown L.A. in 2019. It's a project they hope to bring to a larger scale in the future, but this weekend is sure to bring that same magic between the dancers and the maestro to life. "Petra holds such enthusiasm and passion to dance! We share a mutual appreciation for bringing that passion to the stage through live music," he said. "[I'm] happy to accompany such a talent!"
This production also "means everything" to Suk and his musicians. The pandemic created such a tough environment for artists, so no one is taking this special weekend of performances for granted. "It is such a blessing to collaborate with Pasadena Civic Ballet," he said enthusiastically."[The] happy and energetic company lifts the spirits of all the musicians and dancers — a million thanks to the artistic directors of Pasadena Civic Ballet."
Giselle Under the Stars takes place Saturday, June 12, and Sunday, June 13 at 8 p.m. PT.
For more information on Giselle Under the Stars and to purchase tickets, visit Pasadena Civic Ballet's website.
Before you go, check out: Why Dancers Are Heading to College First Before Launching Their Professional Career In Los Angeles