Alexandra

Whatever happened to Loys?

20 posts in this topic

Originally, Giselle's duplicitous lover had two names: Loys and Albrecht. As late as the mid-1970s, he was listed that way in the programs. (Loys/Albrecht) Then suddenly, Loys disappeared. No explanations, no complaints.

This raises a couple of questions. First, why? Second, when? (For balletgoers who knew Loys, do you remember when he disappeared from your company's production? For those who came to ballet in the last 20 years or so, did you ever see Loys?) And third, does it matter?

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Albrecht being his "noble" name and Loys being his "peasant name"; is that right? I remember it but can't really say when I stopped seeing it. I didn't find it hard to understand, but maybe someone (!) decided it would confuse the audience?

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The synopsis of the Royal Ballet's production still* refers to 'Count Albrecht, who has led [Giselle] to believe that he is a villager named Loys'. For the rest of Act 1 it refers to him as 'Loys' (with the quotes) when describing what the villagers see of him, but as Albrecht when he's talking to Wilfrid or Bathilde.

* or at least it did when I last bought a programme, back in 1999.

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Yes, Mme. Hermine. He's Count Albrecht masquerading as humble peasant Loys -- thank you for the clarification!

Jane, thank you for that. Is he listed on the cast list in the program as Loys/Albrecht or just Albrecht?

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Interesting! It got me thinking about just how multicultural Giselle's world seems to be. Albrecht is German. Peasants Giselle, Berthe and Loys (an old variant of what became Louis) are French -- as is the noblewoman Bathilde, who is engagead to Albrecht. Hilariion is ... what? This can be a French surname, I believe.

Is this somehow an enthnicallyl French village with a Germanic overlord? Is there a political subtext going on here? Or were the names just picked out of a hat?

Incidentally, I've seen both Myrtha (possibly German) and Myrthe (French) in English-language programs. What is the story with that?

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Is he listed on the cast list in the program as Loys/Albrecht or just Albrecht?

Just Albrecht. Checking on one of the first times I saw the RB do it, in the early 1960s, the cast list showed him as 'Count Albrecht, disguised as Loys, a villager', but I don't know at what point in the next 38 years that disappeared!

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I think Silesia is now part of Poland! My geography is a bit shaky, though, so someone who actually knows should answer :clapping: So I've always thought of it as a borderland. The Danes called him "Albert". I don't remember what he was called in the original program. So the multi-culturalism may be posthumous :)

I've seen so many different spellings of Myrtha/Myrthe/Myrta that I don't know which came first, and how the divergence came about. I hope someone else will! Thank you for the questions, bart!

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Silesia is one of those controversial areas, now part of Poland again since World War II. Germans colonized the region in the Middle Ages, and it became part of both the Hapsburg empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Third Reigh. The nobility was German, but town dwellers and peasants also became, in time, predominantly German After the war, however, the Germans were forced to move West, and the area was reclaimed by Poles.

It's a touchy issue in European politics even today. When talking about the region's biggest city, don't make the mistake of referring to the old German name "Breslau" "It's Wroclaw", you will be told. And that is that.

As to Giselle, the production "look" is certainly more Alsatian or Rhineland than anything so far to the east as Silesia. Those areas were famed for their wine production, and I don't think this was ever the case in Silesia which is one of the world centers for beer.

Alexandra, you mention that Albrecht is Albert in Denmark. It might be interesting to hear from our members what the characters are called in various countries. For instance, is Giselle ever "Gisela," the German variant? Is "Albrecht" Albert in all the francophone countries? How do bi- or multi-lingual countries (Canada, Belgium, Switzerland) handle it? Which side do the Russians, Spaniards, and Italians take? And how about the Poles?

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russian/soviet GISELLEs have variously listed the characters as follows:

This listing from 100 BALLET LIBRETTOS - 1966 - Moscow

ZHIZEL

BERTA

PRINTS ALBER

GERTSOG KURLYANDSKII

BATILDA

VILFRID

GANS

MIRTA

ZELMA

MONNA

& This from a Kirov Th. prog. 1962, led by Makarova and Onoshko, and given in Petipa's choreography as staged by V. I. Ponomaraev with 'coaching' by E. M. Lukom, B. V. Shavrov, and N. M. Dudinskaya:

ZHIZEL

BERTA

GRAF [NB: no name, just 'graf' which means 'count']

NYEVESTA GRAFA [NB: also no name, just indication of 'fiancee of the count']

GANS

DRUG GRAFA [NB: again no name, just 'friend']

GERTSOG ['duke']

VILIS: MIRTA, MONNA, ZULMA

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Hilariion is ... what? This can be a French surname, I believe.
From the list posted by rg, Hilarion is conspicuously absent.

Interesting.

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Hilarion is Hans (or Gans) in Russian productions. (and with the Trocaderos, who used to have a wonderful, chubby;, determined Hans in raspberry tights)

Thank you for the information about Silesia, bart, and for the cast lists, rg.

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Thanks for the clarification. That is, linguistically, a bit of a leap; the names are hardly cognates.

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From what I gather about Italian productions, the accent is French (with some variations). The ballet is "Giselle," not Gisella.

Roles are:

Giselle

Albrecht (no longer paired with Loys, but it was in the past)

Hilarion

Batilde (or Bahtilde, for phonetics?)

Myrtha (or Mirta)

And ... of course ... the Villis.

rg, that character "DRUG GRAFA" sugggets subplots not often seen in this ballet

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rg, that character "DRUG GRAFA" suggests subplots not often seen in this ballet.

I was thinking the same thing. Drug Grafa sounds like a character in a new ballet by Ratmansky about the Russian Mob.

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I already regret posting that :clapping: Before we get off on New Ballets with Interesting Character Names, let's get back to Loys as a lost character (not just a name).

Does the ballet "Giselle" need the audience to know that Giselle thinks Albrecht's name is Loys?

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Probably not, I suppose. After all is there any law that a peasant can't be named Albrecht? But I like detail, and it just seems to make special note of his duplicity. The cad - poor girl doesn't even know his real name.

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i have no idea why Loys got dropped. i feel it should be noted, if not in the cast list then in the synopsis of the ballet that's usually printed as a program note.

my pre-primitive reading of the synopsis printed in the '62 kirov th. prog begins: "Count Albert [more or less] is infatuated? with the young-woman, Giselle."

i can find no russian translation for LOYS anywhere in the synopsis.

btw, i should have translitered DRUG GRAFA as DROOG GRAFA, i suppose.

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Does the ballet "Giselle" need the audience to know that Giselle thinks Albrecht's name is Loys?
I think it's one of those superfluous pieces of information that adds nothing to the audience's experience of the plot. Albrecht himself should convey the difference between his false and true personas-- and the Giselle, and all the villagers, should also reveal this in their responses to him. If they don't manage that, no amount of program-padding will help.

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Does the ballet "Giselle" need the audience to know that Giselle thinks Albrecht's name is Loys?
Not necessarily so specifically, but I assume most of the villagers would be aware of the names of their local aristocracy, so it would be prudent, then, for the Count to assume an alias -- any alias -- just as an extra measure of disguise.

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