Ballet, Youngstown Symphony Team Up for ‘Giselle’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Ballet Western Reserve will present “Giselle,” accompanied by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, on April 9 at Powers Auditorium.

The performance will mark the first time BWR has staged the full-length classic ballet.

It will be the second time in the past year that BWR performed with live musical accompaniment instead of a recording, noted Cate Greyjoy, artistic director. Its December production of “The Nutcracker” featured the Dana Ensemble, a professional group of classical musicians comprised of faculty at Youngstown State University.

“Giselle” has an opulent original score, she said, and is set alongside a reimagined libretto.

“It will transport audiences to a world where exquisite technical feats and dramatic presentation create harmony between music, storytelling and dance,” Greyjoy said.

“Giselle” tells a story of love, betrayal and heartbreak among best friends Giselle and Hilaria. A newcomer, Albrect, befriends Giselle and when betrayal is revealed, the three face the consequences of their actions.

The April production marks the return to collaboration between BWR and the YSO.

Katie Merrill, executive director of BWR, explained the intertwined history of the two organizations, each a mainstay of the Valley’s arts scene.

In 1962, The Ballet Guild, which would eventually become Ballet Western Reserve, accepted an invitation from the Youngstown Symphony Society to become an affiliate, she said.

As BWR developed its 2021-22 season – its 60th – the downtown dance school and performance troupe had a goal of renewing its ties to the orchestra with a collaborative performance

“After a successful ‘Nutcracker’ with a live orchestra in December, we knew we had to continue to provide our patrons with ballet performances with live musical accompaniment,” Merrill said.

Matt Pagac, chief executive officer of the Stambaugh Auditorium Association and the Youngstown Symphony Society, said collaboration has long been a goal.

“Over the years, both the Youngstown Symphony and Stambaugh Auditorium have looked for opportunities to collaborate with other local and regional organizations,” he said. Stambaugh and the symphony society recentlyt collaborated The Youngstown Playhouse in a production of “The Color Purple” and has long worked with Opera Western Reserve, Pagac noted.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance range from $20 to $34 (plus $6 service fee) and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 4, at the DeYor Performing Arts Center box office, by phone at 330 259 0555 and at

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.