Jump to content

The Royal Ballet: Giselle, Feb-April 2016


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 500
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

It seems that the staging is rethought with each revival as the details of the groupings of the peasants after Giselle's death and Albrecht's actions during the death scene seem to change with each revival. Most of the current Albrecht seem so desperate to appear sympathetic that they are in danger of undermining the entire narrative. They seem to undergo a character transplant switching from duplicitous seducer to caring sympathy almost as soon as Giselle begins to go mad. I wonder what the original libretto says about this aspect of the plot? It seems to me that in the current revival there is a great deal of undignified squabbling over the body so that Albrecht can show how much he truly cares for Giselle leaving Berthe sidelined until the very end of the scene. I think that the way this scene used to end with the villagers grouped around Berthe holding Giselle's body is probably much closer to the original ending than the current ending which sees Berthe left alone on the bare stage with her daughter's body.

 

The original libretto tells us at first that Giselle is "his beloved, the object of his unique affection" (celle qu’il aime, l’objet de son unique tendresse). Later, when Hilarion tells Giselle that "Loys" is not who he claims to be, Loys/Albrecht insists that he is "a simple peasant, her lover, her fiance" (un simple paysan, son amant, son fiancé). But already two sentences later, the narrator calls Albrecht "perfidious" (dans les bras du perfide Albert). When Bathilde shows her engagement ring, he tries to stop her and tries to avoid further revelations (Albert s’approche de Bathilde et veut en vain l’empêcher d’achever ce terrible aveu). He continues to deny everything when it is clear that he has deceived both Giselle and Bathilde.

In the second act, Albrecht is in tears (son cœur se déchire, il fond en larmes), but there seems to be no mention of regret or contrition. In the end, he returns to Bathilde (et faible et chancelant, il tombe dans les bras de ceux qui l’entourent en tendant la main à Bathilde !)

 

Maybe the audience is supposed to think and feel along with Giselle (he loves her - there are accusations against him - she is doubtful, then hopeful - finally Loys´ true identity and dishonesty is revealed - she dies from the shock and her weak heart (enfin epuisé)  - she also tries to stab herself but is stopped by her mother. Then Albrecht at first must appear to be honest, because he actually thinks he is.

On the other hand, the libretto lets us know from the beginning that he is a duke pretending to be a peasant, and that Wilfrid tries to convince him to give up "a secret project". According to that, he is a deliberate deceiver.

So he is being taught a lesson that will turn him into a better person (it is all about him - he is the dynamic character - ?)

 

 

The last scene of the first act has Berthe holding Giselle (Berthe soutient le corps de sa malheureuse fille) while Albrecht is being lead away.

 

Bathilde is kind and generous (bonne et généreuse) and likes Giselle (Giselle, qui semble lui plaire de plus en plus).

Edited by Katharina
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am very much looking forward to seeing Giselle tomorrow. Unfortunately all the ballet screenings seem to attract very elderly people and last time I was nearly asphyxiated by the smell of Parma violet scent and hairspray. :(

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting. Makes me think of La Sylphide and the feckless James. It would be interesting if Bathilde were portrayed in a more sympathetic light. She never does seem to me to be sufficiently upset/shocked/angry when she realises what Albrecht has been up to. Perhaps she just doesn't take it sufficiently seriously; until Giselle dies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, after all, it's only a dalliance with some peasant girl.  It's not as if this Giselle is ever going to stand in the way of her marrying him, so why worry? I suppose.

Yes, I think that's it. I see Albrecht as having form as a flirt and Bathilde has a good idea of what she is getting in more ways than one. She might roll her eyes as if to say this is how the courtly game is played and she will go with the flow if she wants to maintain her position.  Giselle is no threat to her and dallying with the peasants is just something to be tolerated. Until it all goes tragically awry. At that point, it is a matter of damage limitation and how to get out of there as quickly as possible. Nothing to do with us, they seem to be saying as they leave the scene in an unseemly rush.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Further to my earlier post, I would like to say that a lot of older people cannot travel far due to their age & often don't have a lot of money. It is wonderful that they can see world class ballet at the cinema! Oh & by the way old people were young once.....

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just back from the cinema broadcast. First the positives, very good corps performance, and character actors were magnificent!

 

For me, Muntagirov with his beautiful footwork seemed too boyish, even bookish, rather than anything like a dignitary/count. Nunez, with wonderful balances was techniquely lovely, but opposite Muntagirov looked more ageing spinster rather than peasant girl. I also didn't really find much emotion or style in the dance, and found it all rather bland. I found myself drawn to Gary Avis' acting in the first act, which really added colour to the performance.

 

In Act II, I found Myrtha very heavily made up, almost like a mask, I guess to be very scary. However, I am not sure if it was the eyebrow shaping or cheeks, but I couldn't get Frankie Howerd the old british comedian out of my head. This is not meant to be any reflection on the beautiful dancer, just her thick make up.

 

For me, I left rather disappointed, and flat.

 

Also, after a quite lengthy debate about when applause is allowed or not in ballet, I was very surprised to note hearty applause throughout Act II and even Bravos. I was led to believe that this was 'not done' at ROH.

 

Lovely corps though, and beautiful pas de six. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last year I wrote that  Muntagirov in Fille was the best male dancing I saw all year- if I see anything better than his Albrecht in 2016- I shall be surprised.

He was sublime.

 

Nunez 's performance was so moving and technically impressive; the whole cast acted consistently in the way the that makes us love them so -compared to the great Russian companies. The corps have been perfectly together and very powerful in every performance I've seen ( 5).

What a moving and wonderful evening.

The pas de six! The best I have seen, no question. In time, landing perfectly, lovely arms, together, expressive, joyful and buoyant. All of them were excellent. Campbell's marvellous solo, Choe- her fairy-like delicacy reminding me of Miyako Yoshida at times; the grace and perfect lines of Naghdi and Hayward and the super jumping of Acri and Sambe- wow ! Let's  have it again please.

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How old is Albrecht supposed to be, though? Yes, boyish, but that works for me. He behaved somewhat immaturely, so why not put him in his early 20's? Yes, Nunez not as girlish as Osipova, but very moving end to Act I. Would love to see Osipova with Muntagirov (and Nunez as Myrthe). Agreed on Pd6 - seemingly better than the real performance we saw.

I was interested to see how the "big numbers" of the Wilis would work on the cinema, and I've got to say it didn't work quite as well as live - possibly because the camera angle was quite low. The star formation bit where they bend back and forth while on the floor was breathtaking from the balcony, not so much on the screen (and maybe too much zooming).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Absolutely packed cinema here in Rye.

 

Enjoyed hugely. Giselle was the first ballet music I heard (on the Isle of Sheppey on my Aunt's old Ace of Clubs disc with a picture of Fonteyn on the cover) and the first ballet I saw at the ROH (Sibley and MacLeary: it was her London debut and I was too young to appreciate the finer details although I still recall her ankle deep in flowers).

 

The benefits of the cinema broadcasts were very apparent tonight: Barry Wordsworth discussing the music and Peter Wright on the emotional journey of the Mad Scene were really enlightening. The announcer was excellent too in his enthusiasm allied to articulation and a great improvement on La Bussell.

 

The First Act seemed to be almost flawless. Such detail, such care. Yes, I can see what Swiss Ballet Fan means re the age difference (who would have thought that would ever have been cited with the seemingly ageless Nunez) but the dancing and characterisation was so precise and so beautifully nuanced that even in cinema close up I was able to ignore. Her coquetry, her fighting against physical frailty (a surprise to her as well as to us given her amplitude of physique), his amused affection turning deeper, her hollow laughter in the Mad Scene will stay with me.

 

Grand character work from McGorian, Arestis (such languor, but also such a sudden interest in Giselle if only to revive a flagging afternoon's hunt), Avis and Howells (replacing Underwood), whilst Bennet Garstide is a truly valuable dance actor. Will he get another go at Rudolf next season I wonder.

 

Glorious Pas de Six too - bookending Hayward and Naghdi, bouncing Acri and Sambé, charming Choe and the irrepressibly wonderful Campbell: really hoping next season opens up his career and artistic horizons.

 

Act Two didn't quite fulfil expectation, at least initially. I'd had high expectations of Mendizabal after her stunning Gipsy Girl but a fixed impression, over heavy makeup, a bad wobble in arabesque and a wardrobe malfunction (her tutu rode up inextricably over her wings) made for some very uncomfortable moments. 

 

The corps were beautiful, of course, and Cowley is such a glorious dancer - such languor. Is she strong enough for Myrtha? Is Marguerite and Armand with her and Reece Clarke just wishful thinking? 

 

However, Nunez and Muntagirov were just exquisite. She is less obviously "released from the earth" than Osipova but, I also found her up there with Collier, Park and Osipova as my most memorable Giselles (all, interestingly, great in Fille, which isn't quite what you'd expect other than nailing the bucolic First Act) and there were precious moments when the Acts were linked: never before had i realised how Giselle's spirit evasiveness in Albrecht's arms mirrors her physical evasions in Act One. Her maturity and tenderness were heartbreakingly beautiful here and his youthful spirit, ardent romanticism and technical brilliance were truly outstanding.

 

It didn't quite his as absolutely as anticipated (the difference between cinema and live experience) but it was a most rewarding and beautiful evening.

Edited by Jamesrhblack
  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't believe how anyone could say there was no emotion. I was extremely moved by it, as I was seeing it live last week. In fact the cinema close-ups (annoying though they can sometimes be) focussed in on the expressions and intensified them.

 

All the dancing was superb (barring a bit of a wobble from Myrthe), but Nunez was exquisite (that endless balance en pointe!) and Vadim's dancing, especially in Act 2, was quite simply spectacular. Amazing jumps and leaps (soundless!), and those entrechats.... There was applause in the cinema, and that's a first!

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just seen the screening- a beautiful and really moving evening. I loved Nunez's Giselle- superb dancing and acting and yes, I agree with Jamesrhblack about the hollow laughter in the mad scene which added an extra  disturbing edge. I also enjoyed Avis's Duke- loved his humorous exasperation. I felt that the camera work over used the close up though, which worked to the detriment of Myrtha in Act 2- her acting (and make up) would have worked for me on the huge stage of the ROH but seeing this in close up didn't quite do it.

 

Yes, the clips of rehearsals were great, as was the discussion of the music. I loved Barry Wordsworth's interpretation of the score - both overall and especially thefinal section which was phrased perfectly and added to the very emotional effect. 

 

A personal thing, this, but I can't get on with the particular presenter's style-although I preferred it to the double act with Darcey but I find it difficult to compete with Katya Novikova's presentation of the Bolshoi- he was just a bit too polished and slick. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loved tonight's performance and am heartbroken it's Nunez and Muntagirov's last performance of this run. I was in the theatre and had quite the opposite experience to Swiss Ballet Fan. Nunez and Muntagirov are a terrific partnership in my opinion and it was far from flat. In fact I would go so far as to say that it was the most enjoyable performance of Giselle I've seen. For me Nunez and Muntagirov are not only terrific dancers but their acting and chemistry meant I believed in them. I really think this partnership should be nurtured and hope to see them dancing much more together. Bring on Frankenstein.

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do the dancers decide on their own make-up? Last time one of the Myrthes went for a Holywood starlet look. I wonder whether anyone thinks to advise the dancers to adjust their make-up for the cinema relays so that their make-up is not too garish for close-ups.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at the performance itself tonight. It was unlike any Giselle I have seen before. At first I wasn't sure if it was working; in spite of wonderful dancing, Giselle seemed too stable and down-to-earth to fall apart so completely, and too much in control to be so much in thrall to Albrecht. But then came Act II, and it all fell into place. Nunez was the least wraith-like Giselle I've seen; she still seemed almost to be alive. But that was what made it all work - her life couldn't be extinguished, even by physical death, and her love was so strong and so boundless that it drew out the essential goodness in Albrecht which had previously been buried by immaturity and selfishness. So as she (still) danced and loved with such passion, he matched her. He became the person he was intended to be, and his terrible grief at the end was a reflection of the completeness of his redemption. Her death in Act I was against character, but fundamentally necessary in some way. And they both danced like angels; in Act II they moved as one. Nunez's expansiveness, spirit and generosity were matched by Muntagirov's now blazing love and understanding. And the most incredible entrechats I have ever seen!

 

I found Mendizabal's Myrthe too one-dimensional to be really moving. For me, there has to be pathos there, not just evil. Wonderful pas de six, as others have said. And excellent performances from Gartside, McGorian, Avis and Arestis, with the most beautiful Moyna/Zulme pairing (Cowley/Stix-Brunell).

 

I am seeing an encore showing of this performance on 17th April at my local Odeon, so it will be very interesting to see it then from a different perspective. In the meantime, I feel privileged to have been there tonight.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trying to sort my feelings out. I agree that, for me, too many close ups and some at the wrong time but it did enhance the chemistry that I felt between Nela and Vadim particularly in Act II. The whole production was wonderful, the boys and girls in Act 1 looked to be so into the story and then the same ladies became Wilis, you could feel the cold. They were outstanding. Itziar did have a bit of a wobble, but coming out for the first time to start Act ll; that must be a very difficult piece to dance. For me this was Vadims best performance since joining from the ENB, I rarely go to the Coliseum, to be honest, I have only starting going since Alina left, but I thought he partnered Nela wonderfully, his lifts towards the end looked rock solid and, I wish to knew the correct ballet terms but I don't, his jumps and leaps were fantastic. Nela always goes full on and tonight it worked for me and her expression at the curtain calls with the flowers she received was memorable. Wonder were Darcey was tonight, I like her.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I envy you watching it in Rye Jamesrhblack. I'm going there on holiday a week on Friday and am disappointed they're not showing the encore performance as I would have loved to see it again in Rye.

 

Watching at the Odeon, Preston I thought the performance tonight was exceptional. I really enjoyed seeing virtually the same casting at the ROH last Thursday and as I was in the side stalls circle then I was able to pick up nuances and facial expressions I would have struggled to see in the amphi where I usually am. Gary Avis' Duke was especially memorable; like Vadim he enhances every role he performs.

 

Virtually everything about tonight's performance was wonderful; the pas de six was incredible. I wish Hayward and Naghdi had been given a chance at Giselle though hopefully both will dance Lise in Fille, preferably with Campbell and Ball.

 

Marianella was fabulous. I hope this is a partnership that will develop. Vadim is outstanding as always; his every movement and delicate footwork sensational. Is he the best male dancer in the world today? He is for my money, certainly of any I've seen. I would be curious to see him dance Giselle with Osipova just to see how they go together. I hope they can do something next season. they were down to do Romeo and Juliet together before her injury.

 

I quite enjoyed Mendizabal's performance after initial reservations. She was certainly very scary. the close-ups sometimes didn't do her any favours as her eyes were very staring but overall her performance was very good; very atmospheric.

 

The corps de ballet were all excellent both in the first and second act. they were the real heart of the ballet.

 

The only thing we thought wasn't quite right was the camera angles for the crossing of the stage. This is a crucial part of the ballet and I thought I wasn't conveyed nearly as effectively as it could have been. the camera was too close and not high enough. I know it must be difficult if you've only got 2 cameras both at the same level but you didn't really get the 'wow factor' you do when you're seeing it from above and at a slight distance away.

 

However, this is just one minor criticism of a really fabulous evening. thank you Royal ballet; it was wonderful. Please bring out a dvd. I want to watch it again already!

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just got back from tonights Giselle at the Royal Opera House, Vadim Muntagirov and Marinela Nunez were superb.

 

Also excellent work from the wilis' as well, real pack mentality

 

Could happily rewind & watch again.

 

Vadim is such a wonderful dancer, such beautiful lines and such musicality

 

Marinela Nunez was just so ethereal in the second act & her mad scene in the 1st was so tragic, I was nearly in tears (and when she saves Albrecht)

 

Bennet Gartside was excellent as Hilarion, really felt sorry for him as he really seemed to care for Giselle

 

Great pas de six, standouts were Francesca Hayward & Yasmine Naghdi, so perfectly in synch

 

Itziar Mendizabal was really good as Myrtha

 

And finally must mention how excellent the orchestra played tonight,never heard the score sound so good

Edited by WoodlandGladeFairy
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to the cinema broadcast tonight - Ms Choe and Mr Campbell being the initial reason for my attendance!

 

I thought the performance was exceptional full stop.

 

Mariana Nunez sunny and trusting nature made her betrayal all the harder to take.  I could fully understand why she lost her mind and I have to say her mad scene was incredibly moving.  I also loved Vadim Muntagirov's characterisation.  I think it works for a romantic young noble to notice and fall for a young peasant girl, even though he is engaged to Bathilde.  He obviously doesn't realise he is doing any harm until she falls apart and then it hits home.  I thought his body language and facial expressions were exquisite.  In Act 2, he really was heartbroken.  It goes without saying that their dancing was sublime.

 

Bennet Gartside was utterly believable and utterly wonderful as Hilarion - he was totally subsumed into the role.

 

Gary Avis and Christina Arestis were every inch the aristocrats - bored by and superior to the peasants they had found themselves amongst.  Again their facial expressions told a 1000 words.

 

Of course, I loved the pas de six - brilliant dancing by all.  I was thrilled to see Francesca Hayward and Yasmine Naghdi too - I hadn't gone beyond the first 2 names!

 

The ladies of the corps in Act 2 were exemplary.  I enjoyed Itziar Mendizabal as Myrthe, in fact I thought she was really scary.

 

Is it standard practise for ROH attenders to applaud the first entrance of Albrecht and Giselle or is it because the audience knew the performance was being live streamed?  I found the applause in Act 2 quite off-putting (I don't know if I would have felt like this if I had been in the theatre).  It always seems inappropriate to me in Act 2 of Giselle anyway, given the subject matter.

 

To sum up, I thought it was a wonderful performance and I am very glad I made the effort to go to the cinema to see it.

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...