Saturday, July 26, 2008

Giselle, London Coliseum

Friday night's London debut of the Mikhailovsky Ballet's take on Giselle, a favourite from the Romantic era, was such an enjoyable event that I had to blog about it despite the writing of West End (especially ballets) isn’t my speciality.

Choreographed by Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa, revised by Nikita Dalgushin and music by Adolphe Adam, Mikhailovsky’s Giselle is a stylish revival to the classical ballet. The presentation of Giselle last night was based on the original 1841 Giselle from Ballet du Theatre, Paris and is apparently very faithful to the original production.

Giselle tells the story of how the young maiden Gisele fell in love with Albrecht, a prince in disguise as a peasant. When he was found out, she felled betrayed and commits suicide. However her love for him is strong that in death she protects him from her fellow army of vengeful wilis, vampric ghost breeds of betrayed brides whose sole mission is to suck the living out of men.

Act I started out merrily hosting a colourful display of costumes amid a back drop of a simple yet elegant set, a merit of the Mikhailovsky Ballet's reputation for high production value. The throng of ballerinas dance away to a showcase of virtuous and technical solos. The requirement of Giselle in the title role demands dramatic acting skills in Act I and here the ballerina did not disappoint.

The second Act began slowly as mourning sets it but slowly grew as the arrival of the wilis (with floating veils) take centre stage and the Count Albrecht is forced to dance and dance with only Gisele’s graceful intervention sparing his soul from the wrath of Myrthe Queen of the Wilis. Here both dancers displayed their technical skills with much elegance to the approval of the sold-out audience.

The Mikhailvosky Ballet is visiting the London Coliseum for the first time and will end with Triple Bill and Divertissements on Sunday.

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