annamk

The Royal Ballet: Giselle, Feb-April 2016

501 posts in this topic

It was pretty much packed out at my local cinema & there was a first, as during the actual performance, lots of people applauded the dancers at appropriate moments along with the ROH audience! Normally, if there's going to be significant applause, we save it for the curtain call! 

 

As people left the cinema, it seemed everyone I overheard was buzzing with positive comments & saying how much they'd enjoyed it.

 

Wow! It was fabulous. As this was the fourth time I'd seen them, I'm just trying to get it all fixed into my long term memory so I can replay Marianela & Vadim's performance whenever I wish.

 

At the start of the cinema relay, was it just me, or did Kevin O'Hare sound like he'd been reading all the enthusiastic posts about Marianela & Vadim on BalletcoForum?  

 

He seemed to pretty much echo so many positive comments here, with the exception of one key thing - he failed to express his heartfelt desire for the RB to release a DVD of this performance    ;)    Shame...

 

 

[Edited to change the smiley face to better indicate my attempt at humour!]

Edited by Indigo
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Yes, it is now almost always standard practice to applaud their entrances at the ROH, as it is in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Fille...

 

I would also rather there were no applause in Act 2.

 

I'd also prefer no applause during Act II from the point of view of being able to totally immerse myself in the world of Giselle & the Willis, with no distractions.

 

Though I'm wondering whether it would make the dancers feel like they were performing into a vacuum without audience feedback, or whether they'd prefer it too!

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At the start of the cinema relay, was it just me, or did Kevin O'Hare sound like he'd been reading all the enthusiastic posts about Marianela & Vadim on BalletcoForum?

 

He seemed to pretty much echo so many positive comments here, with the exception of one key thing - he failed to express his heartfelt desire for the RB to release a DVD of this performance :) Shame...

Possibly, or he had been reading the comments on the ROH website....

 

I doubt he would mention a DVD until he saw how the actual performance went and how it was received. People are still asking for it.

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Agree about applause in act 2- such a shame to break the spell, and I especially dislike loud applause at the point of Hilarion's death  (-especially when it is Bennet Gartside who fully deserves to be saved too.......)

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SusanR, I have severe allergies and when I went to see Romeo and Juliet, it was extremely difficult for me stay in the cinema to watch. I have never been affected like this in other screenings with a different audience mix. I am also rapidly approaching pensionable age.

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Yes, it is now almost always standard practice to applaud their entrances at the ROH, as it is in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Fille...

 

 

I wouldn't really say it's standard practice.  When it happens (which isn't every performance), it sounds like just a handful of people and never more than, I'd say, 5 or 10% of the audience.  Personally, I'd prefer there not to be applause on entrances as it distracts from the music and blunts the initial character moment.

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I wouldn't really say it's standard practice.  When it happens (which isn't every performance), it sounds like just a handful of people and never more than, I'd say, 5 or 10% of the audience.  Personally, I'd prefer there not to be applause on entrances as it distracts from the music and blunts the initial character moment.

I'd say it's pretty standard; it happens just about every time I'm there, and that's a lot. However, sometimes it's just for one or the other of them. If you were in the amphi, Lee, you would hear that it is a lot more than 5 - 10% of people up there!!

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My first Giselle, from a local cinema. I was swept away by the mad scene, and I welled up in the interval when I heard the string music for the first PDD in the second act as this reminded me of Bel’s Tombe (the same steps, the same music). Giselle goes mad and stabs herself when she realises that she has been betrayed by Albrecht, and yet she forgives him – the only explanation I have is that Albrecht, as in Muntagirov’s interpretation, is in fact a nice guy. I felt sorry for Hilarion as, after all, he is honest and just the messenger. Regarding the age difference that was mentioned in an earlier post – I was more surprised by the age difference between Giselle and Hilarion than that between Giselle and Albrecht. Oh, and beautiful costumes for the hunting party.

 

The pas de six in the first act is a substantial part and yet there was no recognition of these dancers at the end; was this the same at the other performances?

I really enjoyed Barry Wordsworth’s explanation of the music, he made it interesting and approachable, and equally Ore Oduba's interview style – he came across as natural, interactive, engaging.

Now that I’ve seen Giselle, I look forward to Giselle Reimagined on Saturday.

 

Will I go and see Giselle at the POB later in spring? I noticed the backcloths are different and there is no fog in the woods before Albrecht appears at the beginning of act two, and I asked myself what else may differ however I think I’ll keep it to “if the cast is that of my dreams”.

 

A word on the trailer for Frankenstein that was shown before the start of the performance – lots of blood and the sight of stitches being made; I hope the production won’t be as gory.

 

-----

edited to remove hyperlink & amend weekday of Giselle Reimagined

Edited by Duck
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I watched the performance in a nearly empty cinema in Portugal - about 20 people in total. However the live theatre audience provided plenty of atmosphere, and we added to the applause as loudly as we could at the end.

 

I thought the dancing was superb from just about everyone, although I was slightly disappointed by Mendizabal. It was not the wobble, but I also thought some of her landings from the jumps looked heavy and untidy. I think it is a Principal role and should be cast that way.

 

Apart from that, I loved it. I also enjoyed the fact that the close ups showed up little details. I was amused by the one sparkly earring of the Duke, for example. Very premiership footballer!

 

Muntagirov? Wow! Those jumps will live long in my memory. And his hair was magnificent. :-)

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The pas de six in the first act is a substantial part and yet there was no recognition of these dancers at the end; was this the same at the other performances?

 

Yes: firstly, the dancers wouldn't be wanting to wait around a whole act just for a curtain call, and secondly some of the women may well be dancing as Wilis in the second act anyway.

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The ROH audience is very mixed as far as nationalities are concerned. The opera audience used to be more mixed than the ballet audience. The fact that you can book on the internet makes it easier for all of us to see more performances in more countries.I think that the pre Easter audiences were quieter and less demonstrative than the ones who have attended over the holiday period.I have the impression that the audience seems to be more mixed with more Russians on Osipova nights. Perhaps the same is now true on nights when Muntagirov dances. I have noticed over the last few years that there has been an increase in applauding when a dancer or dancers stop dancing even if another group are about to begin.It has led some works to be danced as if they are a series of separate segments. If the dancers just dance through the audience seems to get the message and the applause stops.

Edited by FLOSS

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Seeing last night's cast at the cinema worked very well for dd and I, as we had seen the same cast on 22nd March. The close-ups and different camera angles merely enhanced an already outstanding performance, but some of the camera work was untidy and potentially irritating.

 

I picked up so much from the close-ups that I hadn't noticed at the ROH; Giselle's demented laughter during the mad scene, great characterisation by Gary Avis as the Duke, Nuñez' palpable relief when dawn came. Bennet Gartside was outstanding again as Hilarion and I felt more sympathy for him this time.

 

I too was disappointed that Mendizabal wobbled again during the opening promenade and arabesque as she had a bad wobble during the performance we saw but I thought it was a one-off. Her steely Myrtha really does need another dimension to it so unfortunately it was not the best rendition for me.

 

Oh my goodness, that Pas de Six. I could watch Choe and Campbell all day, and Naghdi is always impeccable and a joy to watch, but as a six they were again outstanding. Our local cinema audiences rarely if ever applaud but they applauded the pd6 last night as well as Vadim and Marianela.

 

Once again, Barry Wordsworth really got the absolute best from the orchestra and it was super to hear his input on the score as well as Sir Peter Wright's thoughts.

 

Incidentally, the applause during Vadim's jumps in Act II was surprising and as far as I can remember, didn't happen on the 22nd.

 

The corps were again on superb form and special mention to Cowley and Stix-Brunell as Moyna and Zulme. I too would like to see what Cowley would make of Myrtha.

 

Didn't register any age difference between Marianela and Vadim. IMHO they are an incredible partnership both technically and in terms of emotion, and long may they be cast together.

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I enjoyed seeing Giselle from the Amphi last night. It's a great viewpoint from which to appreciate how terrific the corps and ensemble dancing is and to see all the patterns in the choreography. Although I thought Marianela's dancing was lovely, unlike nearly every other poster here, I was not won over by her characterisation. For me her Giselle is Act 1 just too sunny and too strong. Through my binoculars last night there were times when she could just as easily have been acting Kitri or Lise so full on was her smile. Vadim's dancing and partnering throughout was outstanding. Benn Gartside acting Hilarion is so good he should be coaching others in the art of projecting subtle nuances into the amphi. I agree with posters who have said that Myrtha should be cast at principal level. Marianela's performance last week was superlative - the best I've seen at the RB for many years - IMO the role suits her more than Giselle. Nit picking aside, the whole company gave a terrific performance last night, notable that the quality in the pd6 and corps seems to me significantly better than in the last run. 

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I watched the performance in a nearly empty cinema in Portugal - about 20 people in total. However the live theatre audience provided plenty of atmosphere, and we added to the applause as loudly as we could at the end.

 

I thought the dancing was superb from just about everyone, although I was slightly disappointed by Mendizabal. It was not the wobble, but I also thought some of her landings from the jumps looked heavy and untidy. I think it is a Principal role and should be cast that way.

 

Apart from that, I loved it. I also enjoyed the fact that the close ups showed up little details. I was amused by the one sparkly earring of the Duke, for example. Very premiership footballer!

 

Muntagirov? Wow! Those jumps will live long in my memory. And his hair was magnificent. :-)

 

 

DD and I watched it in Westfield and were the only people applauding! We didn't care. 

 

Totally agree, Mendizabal was disappointing, almost clumsy looking. And the close ups were fantastic.

When Vadim was jumping DD and I couldn't help ourselves and were cheering quietly, ha.

 

Edited to add: And the corps were breathtaking in Act two

Edited by amos73

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I agree with annamk. Although Marienela's dancing was impeccable she was just too sunny and robust looking to convince me that she would have a breakdown once she discovered Albrecht's disloyalty. I feel that more fragility is called for in the role. Having said that, her rather powerful Giselle in Act 2 was very moving, aided by beautiful playing by the orchestra which I thought sounded really good last night. Vadim was a more sympathetic Albrecht than I think is usually the case: boyish and foolish (and in love) rather than coolly manipulative. I felt that he was perhaps slightly 'flashier' than usual with several vigorous swishes of his cape, some larger gestures and some very high jumps. However, his entrechats and jumps in Act 2 were spectacular and in keeping with the story. It was lovely to see such lively dancing by the corps in Act 1 and a pas de six danced with such charm and finesse. All the great actors were on stage last night: Bennett, Gary, Elizabeth, plus Christine Arestis made a suitably aristocratic and disdainful Bathilde.

 

I'm coming to the conclusion that Myrtha is a really tricky role to pull off successfully. It requires a lot of stamina and you are cruelly exposed in that opening variation alone on the stage. The characterisation is also difficult. She needs to be authoritative, have a supernatural quality and be more than a cardboard villain. I seem to recollect that the Myrtha who danced in the cinema relay last time also came in for some criticism. Is there anyone in the company who can dance a really good Myrtha apart from Marienela?

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Is there anyone in the company who can dance a really good Myrtha apart from Marienela?

 

Perhaps Laura Morera?

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I won't repeat much of what has been said. I was in the amphi last night and really enjoyed the performance. Amphi is a good place to appreciate the floor patterns made by the splendid corps and although you miss close ups of facial expression you appreciate the use of the body to tell a story. Not impressed with Mendizabel, wobbly, heavy footed and not convincing. Continuity and story telling ruined by bursts of applause in Act two and by constant coughing by members of audience. Such a pity. From on high difficult to see detail of Vadims enormous skill as tights such a poor contrast with the floor. I saw some tension in his hands when executing elevation and batterie.

However, what an evening! Congratulations to all concerned. Would love to have a DVD to appreciate the performance in more detail.

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Zenaida Yanowsky.

No. She's said the jumping is beyond her now.

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No. She's said the jumping is beyond her now.

 

That's a big shame. :(  Though personally I'd happily sacrifice height for depth (so to speak).

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I saw the cinema relay last night and enjoyed it hugely. I can only concur with the praise for the pas de six and both leading protagonists. However, what I enjoyed most was the interview involving Sir Peter Wright. Here is someone who really loves and understands Giselle. I am so sorry BRB no longer have his production of the work and I really miss the pas de six which is so much more interesting than the bog standard pas de deux.

 

I have had the privilege of interviewing Sir Peter in person twice and once over the telephone for an article for the BRB Friends' magazine. I have always been fascinated by his story about hiding in the Opera House gents in order to see Galina Ulanova as Giselle. It was her performance which has inspired him all these years.

 

He said she was funny and very human in the first act. I thought of that story when I saw Nunez last night and I wondered whether that was entirely her own interpretation or part of it was Sir Peter's recollections of Ulanova.

 

Either way, I really did enjoy the performance (with the sae reservations about the Myrthe as stated by others) and I was very impressed with the corps in the second act.

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From what I have read and heard I think that the pale and interesting Giselle is something of a twentieth century construct. According to Marian Smith the early records of Giselle in performance found in nineteenth century sources such as those of Henri Justament  reveal a Giselle of considerably more strength of character than the pallid version we see now. Apparently the same sources give Bathilde a personality transplant as well.. Personally I find the portrayal of a Giselle who when you first see her has not obviously been marked out by fate very refreshing.

 

Peter Wright's production is very effective but I have the feeling that the chipping away at the mime passages throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have led to the stage action becoming less and less of a match with the music written for it. Where the musical elements coincide with the action you find that the music fits the French words that would be said by the characters  if they spoke their thoughts. The same is true of the relationship between the music and the words they originally expressed in their mimed conversation. Berthe's mime sequence which Karsavina remembered from performances of Petipa's late nineteenth century version is, in itself, a reduced account of Berthe's original mime with the result that the music does not have the effect of being "music which speaks".. I wonder what we would all think of a production of Giselle which restored the original mime and required the dancers to dance with period appropriate style and speed. I should rather like to see a production of Giselle shorn of the Bolshoi lifts. A version in which Giselle glides over the ground rather than being held aloft and Albrecht is forgiven by Bathilde at the end of the ballet would throw fresh light on the ballet created nearly two hundred years ago. It might reveal that it is an even  more powerful theatrical work than we believe it to be in its modern " logical " form.

Edited by FLOSS
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In the past few years, I have heard so many dancers being dismissed as a bit too robust or not fragile enough for Giselle. I agree to some extent that there is something to be said for a fragile Giselle. She is, after all, not the healthiest of young ladies. However, she is also a French peasant girl, and I think it makes the mad scene so much more poignant and painful if, till that point, she is sunny and energetic. If Giselle appears to be actually on the brink of death, rather than just under some physical strain, before Albrecht's betrayal, surely we lose most of the emotion of the end of Act I? A more vibrant Giselle also adds an interesting contrast between the powerfully ethereal Giselle of Act II, and the bright, alive Giselle of Act I.

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In the past few years, I have heard so many dancers being dismissed as a bit too robust or not fragile enough for Giselle. I agree to some extent that there is something to be said for a fragile Giselle. She is, after all, not the healthiest of young ladies. However, she is also a French peasant girl, and I think it makes the mad scene so much more poignant and painful if, till that point, she is sunny and energetic. If Giselle appears to be actually on the brink of death, rather than just under some physical strain, before Albrecht's betrayal, surely we lose most of the emotion of the end of Act I? A more vibrant Giselle also adds an interesting contrast between the powerfully ethereal Giselle of Act II, and the bright, alive Giselle of Act I.

I'd agree that if she seems too fragile some contrast is lost, although, being pedantic, she is, despite the name, a German peasant girl....

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I'd agree that if she seems too fragile some contrast is lost, although, being pedantic, she is, despite the name, a German peasant girl....

 

I stand (partly) corrected. I was foolishly referring to the ballet's origin in Paris, but you (and John) are right that her origin is something of a mystery. You helpfully prompted me to look up where the ballet takes place, and I found out that Albrecht is actually from Silesia, which is mostly in Poland. So, who knows? Perhaps the ballet takes place in some mystical nowhere? 

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Mentioned in another thread, but Vadim's hair excelled itself last night! Who knew hair could act like that! Deserved a curtain call all of it's own.

 

Actually the big close ups were lovely, Nela's wrinkled nose when she was smiling and happy. The only downside was that you could clearly see her mother pulling her headress off before she went mad.

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Apologies if this has already been discussed on this thread, but I don,t remember the ending with Albrecht walking forward holding the flower. Etched in my memory is the image of him lying on the grave looking both exhausted and grief stricken. Am I thinking of another production?

 

Also, I always find the appearance and final exit of Giselle very slightly disappointing. Myrtha directs her powers towards the grave to draw Giselle out, yet she makes her entrance from the wings, so she looks as though she was already up and about. A bit nit picky, but other companies make the connection more obvious, and it is much more powerful visually.

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Also, I always find the appearance and final exit of Giselle very slightly disappointing. Myrtha directs her powers towards the grave to draw Giselle out, yet she makes her entrance from the wings, so she looks as though she was already up and about. A bit nit picky, but other companies make the connection more obvious, and it is much more powerful visually.

 

The audience is not meant to see Giselle coming out from the wings - the image is meant to be that she appears on top of her grave whilst it is hidden from view by the other Wilis.

 

Similarly at the end, Giselle is supposed to sink low behind the flora as she completes her bourées towards the wing (as if going back into the grave) but not all the dancers do this.

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