Tonight’s Thursday at The Theater feature full-length ballet is Giselle with Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolleand the Teatro alla Scala ballet.
Giselle is one of my favorite ballets and one I enjoyed dancing very much.
Before getting started, here’s a bit of background on the story of Giselle:
Giselle is a ballet in two acts with a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier, music by Adolphe Adam, and choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. The librettist took his inspiration from a poem by Heinrich Heine. The ballet tells the story of a lovely peasant girl named Giselle who has a passion for dancing, and when she finds out the man she loves is engaged to someone else she dies of a broken heart.
As the ballet begins, a nobleman named Albrecht is busily wooing a young, beautiful peasant girl named Giselle. Albrecht leads the young maiden to believe that he is a farmer named Loys. Giselle falls in love with the man, unaware that he is already betrothed to Bathilde, daughter of the Duke. She agrees to marry the man, despite the romantic advancements of another peasant, Hilarion, who suspects that Albrecht is an imposter. Giselle wants badly to dance, but her mother warns her that she has a weak heart.
A Prince and his entourage are soon announced by a hunting horn. When the prince’s daughter realizes that she and Giselle are both engaged, she gives her a gold necklace. Hilarion tells Giselle that Albrecht has been deceiving her, that he is actually a nobleman. Bathilde quickly reveals to Giselle that Albrecht is indeed her fiance. Horrified and weak, Giselle goes mad and dies of a broken heart.
The second act of the ballet takes place in a forest beside Giselle’s grave. The Queen of the ghostly Wilis, virgins who have died of unrequited love, calls upon them to accept Giselle as one of their own. When Hilarion stops by, the Wilis make him dance to his death. But when Albrecht arrives, Giselle (now a Wili herself) dances with him until the Wilis’ power is lost, when the clock strikes four. Realizing that Giselle has saved him, Albrecht cries at her grave.
Giselle with Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolle
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Giselle, the “Hamlet of ballet” is a treasure well worth watching over and over. Until next time!