Gillian Murphy and Cory Stearns, Principal Dancers with American Ballet Theatre will Perform at Irvine Barclay Theatre

Festival Ballet Theatre will present Giselle, one of the oldest and most romantic of the classical ballets, featuring ballet superstars, Gillian Murphy and Cory Stearns, principal dancers with American Ballet Theatre This production follows Festival Ballet’s immensely popular Nutcracker, which featured sold-out performances throughout its 16-show run at Irvine Barclay Theatre. FBT originally presented Giselle in 1993 to rave reviews.

March 22, 2014 at 7:30pm
March 23, 2014 at 2pm
Tickets: $40 adult, $37 senior, $35 child

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Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive
Irvine CA 92612

Hauntingly ethereal and poetic, Giselle is the spectacular story of love, trust and forgiveness. Giselle, a beautiful peasant girl, falls deeply in love, only to discover betrayal and loss. The role is considered one of the most beautiful and challenging in all of ballet, and Murphy is exceptionally suited for the lead role. She recently performed Giselle in the New Zealand Ballet Live, on stage and in a beautiful film production of the story.

“Gillian Murphy gave a staggering performance as the doomed young woman, providing an enchanting and intelligent display and conveying a real sense of character through gesture, dance and acting,” says dance critic John Daly-Peoples of The National Business Review. A glimpse of the film can be found here.

Giselle was originally presented in 1842 in Paris, scored by Adolphe Adam and choreographed by Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli. Original cast included ballet legends Carlotta Grisi as Giselle and Lucien Petipa as Albrecht. The ballet is famous for its beauty, and the corps scenes portraying the Willis are both exquisite and haunting. In Giselle, the dancers must master the technical and expressive elements of the choreography, from joy to despair, from naïve and carefree to facing harsh realities…discovering that life has no purpose without love. Appearing in the lead roles with Festival Ballet are guest artists of the highest caliber, along with FBT’s highly accomplished company dancers.

Gillian Murphy, a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), is one of America’s most treasured ballet stars. Her repertoire with ABT includes the most challenging roles in dance, including Polyhymnia in Apollo, Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadère, the Ballerina in The Bright Stream, Cinderella in Cinderella, Swanilda in Coppélia, Medora and Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Kitri in Don Quixote,Titania in The Dream, the Accused in Fall River Legend, second girl in Fancy Free, Lise in La Fille mal gardée, the pas de deux Flames of Paris, Grand Pas Classique, Myrta in Giselle, among others. In 2012, she performed the role of Giselle with the New Zealand Ballet on stage and in a film version of the story.

Cory Stearns appeared with Festival Ballet in 2013 with Hee Seo in Don Quixote, and with Veronika Part in the 2012 Gala of the Stars. Stearns studied on a full scholarship at the Royal Ballet School in London, then joined American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company in September 2004. He was selected for the main company in 2005 and became Principal Dancer in January 2011. Stearns’ repertory includes The Awakening Pas de Deux, Solor in La Bayadère, Her Prince Charming in Cinderella, Conrad in Le Corsaire, Basilio and Espada in Don Quixote, Oberon in The Dream, Kaschei in Firebird, The Nutcracker Prince in Alexei Ratmansky's The Nutcracker, Onegin in Onegin, and, Romeo and Paris in Romeo and Juliet. He is also a sought-after model, having been discovered in a New York sandwich shop, and he can be seen in ads and on the runway.

About Festival Ballet Theatre

Founded by Salwa Rizkalla in1988, FBT is dedicated to presenting works that epitomize the artistry of professional ballet, offering cultural awareness of dance through nurturing a creative environment for some of our county’s most talented dancers. An all-star cast of world-renowned dancers and choreographers make this occasion a special event—not to be missed! The company also performs at outreach events, community programs, and corporate functions. The dancers are available to perform by special request. Contact

About Giselle

From the time of its premiere in Paris, this ballet has inspired generations of dancers with its tale of the young peasant girl who dies of a broken heart. Giselle, engaged to Loys, is celebrating a plentiful grape harvest with her village when her jealous admirer, Hilarion, reveals that Loys is actually Duke Albrecht and that he is already betrothed to Batilde, a princess.  Maddened with sorrow, Giselle dances a crazed dance that eventually turns fatal. 

Summoned from her grave to join the Willis, Giselle protects Albrecht from the wrath of her fellow spirits, defending him until morning when the Willis return to their graves and Albrecht can safely escape. Giselle’s loyalty shows that love can transcend death.

Coming Soon:
Gala of the Stars
Orange County’s International Ballet Festival
August 15, 2014

A much-anticipated highlight of Festival Ballet’s season, The Gala of the Stars brings several of the world’s most admired dancers to present their favorite variations and contemporary selections. FBT’s past galas have included stars from the most respected companies in America and Europe, and each year new heroes and incredible artists are discovered! Interviews and images are available on request.

Press Contact:

Connie Jankowski
Festival Ballet Theatre
Phone: (714) 962 5440