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Leigh Witchel

Do you cast for Act I or Act II?

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Did Fracci ever dance Nikiya? Richard's description of Fracci's Act II reminds me of Asylmuratova's Kingdom of the Shades.

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>...for me, Act 2 is all about love. Love lost and found and lost again. If a

>Giselle can't make me feel that she loves Albrecht, that's it for me....

>Fracci doesn't convey love -- she acts like she's already a Wili.

>Giselle is not yet a Wili. She is still capable of love

Yes! Act 2 is the night Giselle is to be initiated as a Wili. She should not

already be one. The power of her love must radiate through the ethereal

facade. It's a rare accomplishment, but breathtaking when it happens.

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Yes! Act 2 is the night Giselle is to be initiated as a Wili.  She should not

already be one.  The power of her love must radiate through the ethereal

facade.  It's a rare accomplishment, but breathtaking when it happens.

This raises a hypothetical question: what kind of Wili will Giselle turn out to be? A reformer and humaniser? Or another Moyna, Zulma ... or even Myrtha?

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Right about Act II being the night when Giselle is to become a Wili -- Thus it's a drama for her as well as for Albrecht, she is holding on to something, her fate is up in the air too, there is a dramatic inner tension for Giselle in Act II as well as for Albrecht -- There are probably as many ways to play this out as there are Great Giselle Act II's, but conveying a serious dramatic conflict for herself, as well as for Albrecht, is the key to all of them.

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Did Fracci ever dance Nikiya?  Richard's description of Fracci's Act II reminds me of Asylmuratova's Kingdom of the Shades.

I dont think Fracci ever danced "tutu" ballets, like La Bayadere, Swan Lake, or Sleeping Beauty. I could be wrong, of course.

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I also wanted to add that Nikya and Giselle's Act II's differ on a fundamental level. The Shades scene is not literal. It is a reflection of Solor's guilt -- Nikya's dying act was to curse him and Gamzatti. Thus it makes sense for Nikya to be angry. For me, a Nikya in the Shades scene must convey anger and remoteness, yet also tenderness towards the man she loved. A Nikya should start out angry, and warm up gradually. The tap on Solor's shoulder I read as a "Remember me? Remember how you betrayed me?" By the end of the Shades scene, Nikya and Solor are connected by the sash -- they have reconnected emotionally.

The Giselle Act II is much more literal, and it is about saving Albrecht's life with love. Thus, it is absolutely imperative for an Act II Giselle to be loving, forgiving, and almost a blessed angel who protects Albrecht. There is something almost religious about Act II. In the video with Nureyev and Seymour, watch the way Nureyev prays to Myrtha for mercy. Giselle protects Albrecht almost in a Christ-like manner, with her hands outstretched, as if Albrecht were a cross.

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I didn't mean to suggest that "Shades" and Giselle ought to be danced the same way, just that Fracci's interpretation might have worked better in Shades. It also reminds me of what I hear about Lopatkina's Odette, which some find very moving and others very cold.

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I dont think Fracci ever danced "tutu" ballets, like La Bayadere, Swan Lake, or Sleeping Beauty. I could be wrong, of course.

In the documentary A Portrait of Giselle, she mentions dancing Swan Lake. I don't think she did it very often though.

But in a funny kind of flashblack, at opening night ABT City Center a few weeks ago, when the curtain rose on the Paquita pdd with Dvorovenko in a brilliant red tutu, I had a flashback to many years ago with Fracci on the same stage doing the same pdd also in a brilliant red tutu.

Also I was surprised, as a real newbie, to watch her crank out the 32 fouettes, since it was always said by the older fans that she had no technique.

On the whole issue of how to play Giselle in either act, I think a wide range of approach is possible , and actually, that's part of the fascination; that the ballet allows so much leeway for interpretation.

Richard

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I'm going to start a new thread for Fracci, as she is one of my favorite dancers and I'd like to keep the Giselle thread on topic. :beg:

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