Verdy-Villella Giselle for Boston Balletdid anyone see it or the film made of it?
Posted 01 August 2008 - 02:12 PM
"Since Verdy's days with Ballet Theatre she had never forgotten the Romanoff version which had initially been staged by him for Erik Bruhn's appearance as Albrecht, and which he had inherited in part from Anton Dolin and Mikhail Mordkin, links, respectfully, with the Diaghilev and Pavlova enterprises. Violette's own interpretation, which she had begun developing under Victor Gsovsky in her French days and had expanded over the years under the tutelary eye of Romanoff and Alicia Markova, also bore the influence of performances she had watched by Chauvire and Ulanova."
"The Boston Giselle performances of 1968 had been sufficiently acclaimed for the two artists to be invited back one year later to repeat the program .......The April 1969 engagement closely followed by performances of Giselle by the same pair in Florida for the Miami Ballet and in Washington, D. C. for the National Ballet of Washington.
Undeterred by the difficulties of leading a choreographic double life, Violette agreed to guest perform in the National Ballet of Washington's La Sylphide at its premiere there in March of 1969..... Swedish Ballerina Elsa-Marianne von Rosen, mounted.....The measure of her success in adapting herself to the period mood can be discerned in the post script of a letter written to her a few days later by von Rosen herself: "I hope you will dance 'La Sylphide' many more times-you are superb and so wonderful as I always dreamed this role to be." Violette danced the ballet in the same exact version exactly two years later for the Miami Ballet.".......Perhaps Violette felt a certain added professional excitement at this performance, for Natalia Makarova , herself a mistress of the ethereal, was among the audience."
Posted 01 August 2008 - 03:13 PM
Posted 01 August 2008 - 03:16 PM
The photos in the Haggins book gives one a good feel of what the Verdy/Villella Giselle was like; perhaps Verdy took her cue from that great French Giselle, Chauvire.
Verdy is one of those dancers who really make me regret not having a time travelling machine just to see her dance...
She had such a rich and long career, and such impressive versatility. She was already listed in Fernand Hazan's "Dictionnaire du Ballet moderne", which was published in 1957, one year before she joined NYCB: back then, she was mostly known for her early start with Roland Petit's "Ballet des Champs-Elysées" in 1945 when she was only 13 year old, her role in the movie "Ballerina" in 1949, and her role of la Fiancée in Roland Petit's "Le Loup" in 1953 (I wish the POB would perform it again, I've never seen it...) Before joining NYCB at 25, she had danced with quite a lot of companies, including Chauviré's "Ballet de Marigny" in 1952, and also performed as an actor along Jean-Louis Barrault and Madeleine Renaud.
Some biographies mention that she had performed "Giselle" with the Ballet Rambert in 1957, and also the following article from Dance Magazine (2001)
says that: "Roland Petit, whom she first met as a very young student in Paris, considered her, next to his wife, Zizi Jeanmaire, his best Carmen, and she had already danced Giselle as a guest with La Scala, learning much later that Balanchine was one of the people who recommended her for the role."
I guess one could schedule a whole season for a company just with ballets she premiered or in which she excelled...
Edited to add: she was trained by Madame Rousanne and Victor Gsovsky. Actually the list of pupils of Madame Rousanne is quite amazing (among others: Lycette Darsonval, Serge Peretti, Yves Brieux, Yvette Chauviré, Youly Algaroff, Alexandre Kalioujny, Peter Van Dyk, Jean Babilée, Roland Petit, Pierre Lacotte, Maurice Béjart...).
Posted 01 August 2008 - 04:01 PM
I lived at Madame Guillerm's while at SAB, the summer of 1970. Madame Guillerm spoke of Violette's relationship to Madame Rousanne and there was a framed photograph of Madame Rousanne with tiny Nelly, on one of the coffee tables in the living room.
Mel - It was the first Miami Giselle.
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