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The Royal Ballet: Giselle, Feb-April 2016

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I recall Darcey Bussell commenting in a documentary that it was a good idea to keep on good terms with your fellow dancers, just in case there was a mishap and your costume got caught up or stuck to the scenery. At least your colleagues would assist you if they were able to. Or you hoped they would!

I also recall my first trip to see the RB years ago, a swan's pointe shoe ribbon started to come undone. She could do nothing about it and I was fascinated by the deftness with which she slipped the shoe off and carried on dancing. Another swan equally deftly picked up the shoe, held it aloft for a second as all arms were up. Then as all arms came down, the shoe was launched across the floor where it slid offstage and out of sight. I was about 8 years old and the finer details of the story largely passed me by, but I remember being impressed by their efficiency in removing the obstacle. I mentioned it to my mother and she hadn't even noticed.

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This entry is unduly late for reasons explained on another thread.

 

Well, on 29th March, Natalia Osipova was as interesting as she always is with her own, inimitable way of dancing and expression. In Act 2, I marvelled at her light, airy quality which truly made Giselle feel like a floating spirit. However here, as in Act 1, there were times when I felt she was taking up poses rather than sustaining a consistent characterisation: there was, somehow, a disconnection between her face and her soul. While much of her dancing was beautifully phrased, she played with the tempi a very great deal. Overall, she did not come across to me as true as I need my Giselle to be if I am to really care about her fate, feel her giving love and experience her forgiveness.

 

I thought her Albrecht (Matthew Golding) made a good start with his reading of a pretty insincere man out for a good time. He also partnered well and finished strongly in near death. In between, I didn’t receive much from his characterisation because his facial expression seemed to change little. I hope that he can be encouraged to work on that since, at the moment, he is giving insufficient to his partner (or his audience) by way of feelings.

 

Marianela Nunez was excellent as Myrthe in every respect and seemed to interact more with Giselle than others have done in this role this run. I felt privileged to have caught her one performance. She deservedly brought the house down both after her opening solo in Act 2 and at curtain call.

 

Osipova’s fans appeared to be out in force and cheered with delight at her solos. It was good that they were so happy after the earlier disappointments of her being unable to dance.

 

I am very glad that I went but I did not come home floating on a cloud of joy.

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I didn't see Osipova this time round because of her injury; and of course no two performances are the same anyway. But I think I understand what you mean, capybara. I think that Osipova is like an old (not literally!) Hollywood star - whatever character she's portraying, she's always ultimately herself. A bit like Nureyev, who was always Nureyev. But I find her so fascinating and her dancing so blazingly intense, individual and impressive that I don't mind that. She (like Nureyev) sweeps all away in front of her. But there's also a slight sense of fragility, or even sometimes inconsistency, that for me just adds to the drama. I understand why it might have a different effect on others, though.

 

I agree about Matthew Golding, but wasn't fortunate enough to see Nunez as Myrthe.

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I watched the Cojocaru/Kobborg DVD last night, how I miss them, and Marianela Nunez' dress gets hooked up at the back whilst she is dancing but it rights itself, I thought I had seen it happen before. There's no doubt though that she was extra brilliant on the 29th March!

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I didn't see Osipova this time round because of her injury; and of course no two performances are the same anyway. But I think I understand what you mean, capybara. I think that Osipova is like an old (not literally!) Hollywood star - whatever character she's portraying, she's always ultimately herself. A bit like Nureyev, who was always Nureyev. But I find her so fascinating and her dancing so blazingly intense, individual and impressive that I don't mind that. She (like Nureyev) sweeps all away in front of her. But there's also a slight sense of fragility, or even sometimes inconsistency, that for me just adds to the drama. I understand why it might have a different effect on others, though.

 

I agree about Matthew Golding, but wasn't fortunate enough to see Nunez as Myrthe.

A

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A brilliant description of Osipova.  She is just so intense, she blazes like a bright star so you can't take your eyes off her.  I haven't seen anyone else with that quality.  

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Thank you so much for this tothepointe. A lovely reveiw.

 

Just thinking further about the DVD....... Maybe some old fashioned pleading letters would complement our online clamour well? I've written already  :)

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What a lovely piece of writing, TTP! You could have been transcribing what was in my head and my heart! Thank you so much. :)

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Lovely review TTP - I only saw the cinema broadcast but you have summed them up beautifully.

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To my knowledge there are already two DVD's of the RB's Giselle available, I can quite understand the ROH's reluctance to issue a third.

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At a pinch, I'd settle for it being shown on free-to-air TV :)  It certainly deserves a wider audience.

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There may be two DVDs already, but this is the one that people are asking for - in large numbers. And I see no reason in that case not to push for one at least - don't ask, don't get, and it won't hurt to try.

 

I for one have followed your example, Capybara, and penned a letter. It may get filed in the bin, but at least it will be seen.

 

Oh, and ToThePointe - lovely review! You encapsulated all that I wanted to express but wasn't eloquent enough.

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I agree. It is also nice to have a choice, as many people might only want to spend money on one DVD, and may not want it to be what is currently on offer. After all, we go to see multiple casts on the stage, so why can't we have the same choice at home?! I really hope that the ROH will listen to the current demand for this one, and act accordingly. Judging from the comments on their website, these requests are from all over the world....from people who had seen the cinema relay and, like many of us, would like to be able to re-live it.

 

As ToThePointe says in her lovely review above....at the end of a 9-5 day of drudge, how lovely it would be to able to come home and watch this performance again, as well as the ones already available.

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Osipova is the greatest Giselle I've ever seen, or hope to see, especially in Act II, in which she seems to enter an alternate reality and take you with her. 

I've seen her in screenings by the Bolshoi and the Royal Ballet, and live onstage with ABT at the Met.  Of these productions, I think the greatest was the

Bolshoi's (with David Hallberg).  It had a terrible  of conviction about it, a true tragic sense.  When Giselle disappeared at the end, she did so very

slowly, in the same direction as the other wilis (toward the lake), facing Albrecht while doing two corkscrew-like turns.   The RB production, which I also

have on blu-ray, is remarkable, among other things, for its excellent use of mime, and, in connection with this, for making Giselle's mother a real part.  ABT's

was less thought-out except by the principal dancers, Osipova and Stephen McRae.  This was the performance in which she fell near the end and got up

and heroically continued. McRae was spendld throughout.  How lucky you Royal Balletgoers are to be able to get on the Underground and see  these dancers

(I live in California and get to London once a year, sometimes at the right time, sometimes not.)

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I was watching a clip of Osipova's RB Act2 Giselle on Youtube the other night, and one of the comments from a non-ballet going chap was 'Man, that chick looks dead!'. I thought that summed it up perfectly!

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One of the many things I love about Osipova's Giselle is how she manages to be dead but so full of life at the same time. At the end of the ballet when she is leaning back into Albrecht's arm, her hands crossed over her chest, eyes closed....it sends shivers down my spine because you can literally see her fade away, the life that remained sapping away second by second. Unbelievable.

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I agree, Osipova really does look dead in Act ll and completely unworldly. It is a remarkable performance. I will always like Cojocaru/Kobborg the most, partly because I saw them live, so to speak. For me, they were the ultimate in team work. He was a wonderful dancer and actor, she was just exquisite and together, they had the most extraordinary chemistry.

Much as Acosta partnered Osipova well, again for me, he just didn't have that skill/ability, call it what you will, to make you feel he was dancing for his life or that he felt real remorse for the way he had treated Giselle in her life. In Act l, I felt he was just playing himself, lots of big smiles and expansive gestures along with great dancing of course. Carlos didn't really do nuance. In my opinion.

I think some reviews at the time said although he was a big star, he was generous enough to kind of stand back and let Osipova take centre stage. And she certainly did. I can watch that performance on dvd time and again and it is just riveting.

Having criticized him, Carlos hits Notts next Tuesday. How's that for a bit of alliteration? I will be there, having bought my ticket last November. I was just thinking, wow, where did the last 6 months go? :wacko:

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Acosta was the only Albrecht I've seen who vividly reminded me of Nureyev in the role.  Of course Rudolf was frequently criticized too.

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