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Giselle documentary presented by Tamara Rojo

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I enjoyed the Giselle documentary (good to see BBC continuing the trend from the excellent couple we had during the Christmas period). It was a tall order to cover so much ground in an hour, but I think the way the two productions were woven together alongside discussion of the origins of the ballet and the motivation for the character of Giselle worked pretty well. Tamara is such a consummate presenter; she demands your attention - just as on stage, and is particularly engaging when explaining mime (as she did so well in the previous Swan Lake documentary). It would have been good to have explored the nature of Giselle's death a little more - no discussion of potential suicide- and there was no mention of Myrtha, which would have been interesting as a contrast to Giselle's forgiveness of Albrecht which the documentary focused on in some detail. But there were a few glimpses of Micaela de Prince in the role, so that pleased me enormously. Also some very interesting interludes from Graham Sutherland about the score - he is another contributor who it would be good to see regularly in such programmes. And of course the comments from Akram Khan were stimulating. Now if only we could see a full production as an Easter Day treat !

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I enjoyed this programme and will watch it again on iplayer. I agree it is a lot to cover in an hour but I think they succeeded. The classical version and the modern were skillfully interwoven, with plenty of footage of both. I can never see too much of Cojocaru's Giselle. She really is exquisite. I thought the history of the story was well done, putting it into context with the times, regarding attitudes towards and prevalence of what was seen as madness. As such, I found the explanation for Giselle's weak heart leading to her death very acceptable, particularly alongside Cojocaru's portrayal. 

Rojo is a very effective presenter. She does demand your attention but then rewards you with an interesting, eloquent and engaging talk about her subject, which she clearly knows very well. There were interesting contributions from all concerned. How I wish I could have had someone like Gavin Sutherland as my music teacher!

I would very much like to see the new Giselle. But having seen all those glorious clips of the classical version, that magical score and choreography, the costumes and the mime, the rather mystical shots of the forest at sunset in this beautifully filmed programme, the original does it for me. Well worth watching. More please.

Edited by Jacqueline
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I very much enjoyed this documentary.  Tamara Rojo is a consummate presenter and gave some thought-provoking ideas about the relevance of Giselle today.

 

Gavin Sutherland is always articulate and erudite and it would be good to see more of him on TV too.

 

I also liked all the clips and wondered if ENB may be considering releasing DVDs as it looked as though the whole performances were filmed.

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Auntie forgot to squeeze the closing credits and insert the annoying CA. I hope this is the start of a trend.

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I also enjoyed it very much, and thought everyone in it made some interesting contributions.  Well done BBC, more programmes like this, please.  

 

I think Rojo is a great presenter.  I did wonder how she managed to walk so elegantly in those boots, though.  They were gorgeous, but the heels on them!  :o

 

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47 minutes ago, Janet McNulty said:

I very much enjoyed this documentary.  Tamara Rojo is a consummate presenter and gave some thought-provoking ideas about the relevance of Giselle today.

 

Gavin Sutherland is always articulate and erudite and it would be good to see more of him on TV too.

 

I also liked all the clips and wondered if ENB may be considering releasing DVDs as it looked as though the whole performances were filmed.

I agree with your comments Janet and I have received confirmation from Tamara that they are filming the Sadlers Wells shows with a view for a DVD release. I did report this on another thread but I can't remember which one.

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The clips of the Akram Khan used in the documentary must have been filmed at the working stage rehearsal; I was sitting next to ENB's new-ish CEO that evening and he told me the BBC were filming for a documentary.  It would be wonderful if they did decide to turn that into a full blown Giselle DVD release, with this documentary as an 'extra'

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2 hours ago, Fonty said:

I think Rojo is a great presenter.  I did wonder how she managed to walk so elegantly in those boots, though.  They were gorgeous, but the heels on them!  :o

 

Probably all those years on pointe helped.

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I enjoyed this programme very much. It managed to cover a lot of ground and there were plenty of clips of actual dancing. Gavin Sutherland is always so good. It would have been nice to hear from Vincenzo Lamagna about how he approached his score for the Akram Khan Giselle. I'm intrigued to know where those 'industrial' / deserted warehouse clips were filmed. 

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14 minutes ago, aileen said:

I enjoyed this programme very much. It managed to cover a lot of ground and there were plenty of clips of actual dancing. Gavin Sutherland is always so good. It would have been nice to hear from Vincenzo Lamagna about how he approached his score for the Akram Khan Giselle. I'm intrigued to know where those 'industrial' / deserted warehouse clips were filmed. 

 

I agree it would have been good to learn more about the Vincenzo Lamagna score and I too wondered about the location of the deserted warehouse.

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I don't know about the deserted warehouse but I am pretty sure that little Dickensian street/ginnel/snicket, call it what you will, where Tamara posed with the gaslight in shot, is just up the road from the Coli. It is a fairly narrow little lane and easy to miss, but of historical interest, with as I recall original shop frontages. My mother took me there after she had been on a tour of ye olde streets of London.

 

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1 hour ago, Jacqueline said:

I don't know about the deserted warehouse but I am pretty sure that little Dickensian street/ginnel/snicket, call it what you will, where Tamara posed with the gaslight in shot, is just up the road from the Coli. It is a fairly narrow little lane and easy to miss, but of historical interest, with as I recall original shop frontages. My mother took me there after she had been on a tour of ye olde streets of London.

 

 

Goodwin Court?

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3 hours ago, trog said:

Probably all those years on pointe helped.

 

Didn't help me, Trog!  Walking on pointe, and walking in heels are two quite different things, as far as I am concerned.

 

2 hours ago, Janet McNulty said:

 

I agree it would have been good to learn more about the Vincenzo Lamagna score and I too wondered about the location of the deserted warehouse.

 

Yes, the score sounded intriguing.  The deserted warehouse was huge.  I can't believe there is anywhere left in London with deserted buildings like that.  

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2 hours ago, MAB said:

 

Goodwin Court?

Yes, that's the one. Thank you. It is well worth a look. As I recall we turned in off St Martin's Lane (?) It was like stepping back in time - I believe the buildings have been in existence since the 1600s - and hard to believe we were but a stone's throw from all the traffic and noise of modern London. 

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4 hours ago, Jacqueline said:

Yes, that's the one. Thank you. It is well worth a look. As I recall we turned in off St Martin's Lane (?) It was like stepping back in time - I believe the buildings have been in existence since the 1600s - and hard to believe we were but a stone's throw from all the traffic and noise of modern London. 

 

Bit more (and some pictures) here:-

 

http://www.urban75.org/london/goodwins-court.html

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Wow, who knew?!  Not me....I have walked up and down St Martin's Lane hundreds if not thousands of times, and I have never noticed it!  I will be paying a visit very soon....

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Loved the programme and only wish I had seen it before I saw Akamai Khan's Giselle as I might have better understood it.  Tamara is a fabulous presenter and I hope the BBC use her more rather than automatically giving dance programmes to Darcey.  I would also like to see more of Deborah Bull.

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I must look out for Goodwin Court, inside the tiny Coliseum museum there is an interesting plan that shows the area before the Coliseum was built, lots of little courts and pubs, the Lemon Tree still survives.

 

 

 

 

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I have just seen this documentary after being away. As so often, it was the Balletco forum that brought it to my attention or I may well have missed it alltogther, and once again I am very grateful for this.

 

I am also very grateful that the BBC would chose this as a subject for a documentary - how rare are documentaries on mainstream media on a specific ballet, exploring in such depth the different themes? Admittedly, there is usually on BBC a ballet at xmas with a little documentary attached to it, but documentaries of this kind? Once in a blue moon surely? The only ones I can remember really in recent years are the Nutcracker doc this xmas (with Francesca Hayward) and the Good Swan Bad Swan again with Rojo. For that reason alone I will praise this documentary to the skies - this is exactly the sort of thing the BBC must do in my opinion. The footage and interviews with Cojocaru and other dancers in closeup, again, incredibly rare stuff, precious. Rojo's explanation and demonstration with Isaac Hernandez superb. 

 

The only issue is that people who are likely to watch this are likely to be very discerning critics indeed. I found myself 'nitpicking', I do agree with the comments about that there was a lot of material to cover, a lot of voices to include, I did feel a bit bombarded my the information overlaid with fast cutting imagery from rehearsal to performance to interviews to narrative section to street/city shots ... And I can't let a chance pass to whinge about the BBC 'formula' for all documentaries, the travelogue style with the compulsory walking towards camera of the presenter in some dramatic location, with dramatic music swelling, the candid 'photo-montage' shots of buildings/street life overlaid on a piece of narrative loosely connected to the theme being discussed. 

 

But I admit that's biting the hand that feeds me. Rojo is a powerful presenter in she exudes authenticity and demands to be taken seriously. And the closeups of Cojocaru really made me relish my memory of seeing her in Giselle at the coliseum in January. To be able to see the expressions so clearly surely alters one's experience of the performance and it would be wonderful to see a complete performance her Skeaping Giselle on screen. 

 

 

 

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I've just caught up with this documentary too, and I thought it was terrific. Really interesting, and illuminating even for someone who has seen the ballet many times. E.g. Cojocaru's interpretation of the moment of Giselle's death was completely new to me. And there was one piece of mime that I have been misunderstanding all this time - when Hilarion confronts Giselle about Albrecht, I thought he was asking if she really believed that A loved her; apparently he is in fact asking her if she loves him, i.e. the other way round. I agree with northstar that some of the shots were formulaic and I think there was too much of Rojo strutting (very elegantly) or staring (very knowingly). I also found her delivery a little slow, but what she was saying was well worth listening to as were the comments from Akram Khan. And wonderful footage of both productions - reminded me all over again of how brilliant both are.

 

It would be wonderful if we could have regular documentaries of this quality; they might also help people understand (if they don't already) what ballet is capable of and why it matters.

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Very good programme. Let's hope there will be more in the series...(I wonder what might be next??) and please more Gavin Sutherland.  This man is a national treasure, and his clear, unpatronising and fascinating explanations of how music works should be compulsory viewing in schools.

Wouldn't it be great if they now show us a full length traditional and Khan production. Back to back. With the divine Alina Cojocaru.

 

One can hope.

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On 03/04/2017 at 17:46, Jacqueline said:

Yes, that's the one. Thank you. It is well worth a look. As I recall we turned in off St Martin's Lane (?) It was like stepping back in time - I believe the buildings have been in existence since the 1600s - and hard to believe we were but a stone's throw from all the traffic and noise of modern London. 

Goodwin's Court would also be a good place to take any Harry Potter fans as they will know it as Diagon Alley.:)

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Loved this programme, agree it's the BBC at its very best. Rojo is such a compelling presenter as well as a dancer and speaks with total, quiet conviction. Enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two versions and loved Marina Warner's contributions.

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