I was flipping through the astonishing 97 pages
of photographs in B. H. Haggins Ballet Chronicle
and came upon a large number from a Boston Ballet production of Giselle
(1969) with Violette Verdy and Edward Villella. Included are a great many stills from a film of the production mde by Gerald Fitzgerald. Almost all the photos feature Verdy dancing. Villella, except for a couple of big jumps, is seen mostly supporting or standing, or mourning Giselle.
The photos of Verdy in performance are spontaneous and deeply moving. As for Haggin's text: You have to allow for his sometimes over-the-top
adoration of this dancer. But it must have been a powerful, beautifully detailed peformance indeed.:
Verdy had me wondering at times whether I really was seeing the marvels I thought I was seeing. One such marvel was the slow movement around Albrecht, in Act 2, with which Giselle makes him aware of her incorporeal presence, and in which one saw the exquisite changing configuration of Verdy's pointed toes, legs, torso, head, arms and hands completed in breathtaking fashion by her fingers -- those Verdy fingers that seem to be activated by intelligences of their own which keep their movements in constant fascinating relations with those of the rest of her body. (It was a shock, after this, to see Fonteyn's lovely movement, at the same point in Giselle, end in an extended hand whose fingers were motionless.) And in addition to such marvels of dancing there were those of Verdy's acting, of which my memory recalls most vividly the utter desolation on the face she raised after her collapse at the disclosekure of Albrecht's decision.
Haggin also praises the Verdy/Villella partnership. I would not have thought of Villella as a potentially great Albrecht.
This performance has just gone to the top of my list of Performances I WISH I'd Seen
Did anyone see this production or have any information about it? Have you seen the photos in the Haggin book? What do you think?