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Houghton on Giselle


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#1 Giannina

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 03:58 PM

I'm still reading the excellent August 2001 issue of Dance View and was fascinated by Isobel Houghton's article on Guillem's "Giselle". I learned a lot about the ballet. Most surprising, for me, was her statement that by saving Albrecht from the Wilis's spell Giselle herself was saved from the Wilis and "will return to her grave and rest". I didn't know that! Am I the only one who has missed that redemptive angle all these years?

Giannina

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 04:08 PM

I'm glad you enjoyed that article, Giannina (I did too smile.gif It ended up being a very "Giselle" issue.)

I think a lot of the "redemptive angles" have been downplayed over the years. Yes, I always thought that Giselle would go to a quiet grave after her good deed, and wouldn't be forced to dance in the corps de ballet for eternity smile.gif Maybe I thought this because one of my early definitive Giselles was Carla Fracci, who, when dawn broke, was almost nunlike in her purity and goodness, and obviously relieved and proud that she'd pulled him through. Somehow, she projected that this was about the power of love, but also something beyond earthly love.

#3 Autumn7

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 05:59 PM

ABT performed 'Giselle" here last spring and Ashley Tuttle and Angel Corella danced the leads on a Saturday afternoon. After Tuttle melts back into her grave, Corella pressed his fingertips to his lips and then tenderly pressed them against the cross on Giselle's grave and raised his gaze heavenward. I have never seen an Albrecht do this. It was very moving and, to me, suggested not simply just a farewll kiss to Giselle but a gratefulness to a higher power that both he and his love were spared from a terrible darkness. I always felt that Giselle was released from the power of the Wilis and that Albrecht led a life of saintly philanthropy until he and Giselle could be reunited in the next life. He is certainly a changed man.

#4 Giannina

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 07:58 PM

[quote]Originally posted by Autumn7:
Albrecht led a life of saintly philanthropy

Surely you jest!!

Giannina

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 08:24 PM

G -- isn't it possible that Albrecht could lead a saintly life AFTER Giselle is back in the earth?

Of course, in the original ending he marries Bathilde and is A Better Man. (I've seen some Albrechts who tear off the stage as though they're going to tackle peasant reform.) But in today's, leave-him-in-the-forest ending, it is hard to imagine what he'll do for the next 60 years. It's hard to see him going after other peasant girls, but you never know. It's the fashion lately to have Bathilde look disgusted as she flounces out at the end of Act I, so that's out. The monastery beckons, I presume.

Where is Mats Ek when we need him? Homework assignment: Make "Albrecht, the Sequel." 2 acts, running time under 2 hours, libretti posted here by evensong tomorrow. smile.gif

#6 Giannina

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 11:19 AM

[quote]Originally posted by alexandra:
Homework assignment: Make "Albrecht, the Sequel." 2 acts, running time under 2 hours, libretti posted here by evensong tomorrow. smile.gif

I think it's called "Onegin".

Giannina

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 12:09 PM

Ah, then to you, Albrecht is a villain and a cad. My Albrecht is genuinely in love with Giselle, but things get out of hand.

#8 Estelle

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 06:10 PM

[quote]Originally posted by alexandra:

Where is Mats Ek when we need him? Homework assignment: Make "Albrecht, the Sequel." 2 acts, running time under 2 hours, libretti posted here by evensong tomorrow. smile.gif


Talking about sequels: actually, one of the things that made me feel disappointed about Ek's "Sleeping Beauty" is that he didn't use the second part of the tale, where Aurora is married with Desire but Desire's mother is an evil cannibal witch, Desire is away for some reason and his mother persecutes Aurora and tries to eat her children, etc. Surely there'd be a weird ballet to do about it!

Back to Giselle: I wonder if the original ending (with Albrecht marrying Bathilde) was very successful when it was staged? Probably it was suited to the mentalities of the period (with Albrecht marrying someone of his own class) but now it would be perceived as a rather selfish behavior (forgetting Giselle)...

#9 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 11:07 PM

Well, I didn't make evensong, so how about compline?

My recommendation for Giselle the Sequel would be a sort of ballet version of "Malcolm in the Middle" with a feckless dad, four mayhem-prone boys, mom as dictator.... wink.gif

Giselle has pathos; this would have bathos.

[ November 20, 2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]




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