Harris Theater confirms Paris Opéra Ballet visit in summer 2012

The Paris Op�ra Ballet in Giselle.

The Paris Op�ra Ballet in Giselle. Photograph: Julien Benhamou

The rumors, it turns out, were true: The Harris Theater confirmed today that the Paris Opéra Ballet, subject of [node:116251 link=Frederick Wiseman’s 2009 documentary;] La Danse and producer of legendary ballets and dancers throughout its 350-year history, will launch its first North American tour in over a decade here, its first-ever appearance in Chicago.

Seven performances, three each of two programs and a to-be-announced gala bill, are scheduled for June 26–July 1 of next year. Opening-night tickets are already on sale, available through April 24.

The 154-dancer company—pronounced “famous and huge,” in case you didn’t know—will open with Giselle, a classic two-act ballet premiered in 1841 by what would later be known as…the Paris Opéra Ballet. The mixed program features 1943 abstract Suite en blanc, choreography Serge Lifar, score by Édouard Lalo; L’Arlésienne, to Bizet by Roland Petit, choreographer of the ballet that opens the film White Nights; and Maurice Béjart’s Boléro to Ravel’s composition of the same name.

In its first collaboration with the Harris, the Grant Park Orchestra will provide live music for the performances.

Perhaps most notable about a company that exhausts superlatives is the fact that, in addition to being a standard-bearer of classical technique and the home of many creators of that technique, POB continues to commission and premiere masterpieces of lasting impact. Like [node:143531 link=I said before;], this is a big fucking deal. Video of POB’s Boléro after the jump.

UPDATE: The New York Times reports and Harris confirms that the complete 2012 POB tour includes NYC and Washington’s Kennedy Center. The company’s previous U.S. tour was to California in 2001; its previous East Coast appearances were in 1996.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)