cubanmiamiboy

Your first live Giselle...

39 posts in this topic

Toumanova was certainly a real beauty.[...] She was my first Giselle...

The above quote from atm711 made me curious about finding out if some of you would remember who was your first Giselle-(live I mean...)-for which in my case it is an unforgettable image. (Miss Lourdes Novoa :P , ex CNB's dancer and former wife of Jose Manuel Carreno).

So.. Who was your first live Giselle...? :wink:

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Toumanova was certainly a real beauty.[...] She was my first Giselle...

The above quote from atm711 made me curious about finding out if some of you would remember who was your first Giselle-(live I mean...)-for which in my case it is an unforgettable image. (Miss Lourdes Novoa :P , ex CNB's dancer and former wife of Jose Manuel Carreno).

So.. Who was your first live Giselle...? :wink:

Carla Fracci -- she was divine. It was at ABT many years ago with Eric Bruhn. The experience goes along with Fonteyn/Nureyev in Romeo & Juliet. I was a teen and cried at both.

BTW I don't go to see story ballets anymore, with the exception of Sleeping Beauty (because there is so much dancing). Wow way off topic - sorry.

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Diana Vishneva with Vladimir Malakhov. Still maybe one of the most memorable nights of ballet in my life. :wink:

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I may have forgotten someone, but I think it was in fact Judith Fugate - in Gabriella Darvash's production for her NYC school. I was in it, harvesting grapes in Act I and I'd watch Act II with Judy - and just as much a student, Moira Dorsey, as Myrtha. To this day no one can came close to how I recall her jump.

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Ballet Theatre, Lupe Serrano, during a visit home from school.

My experience of the full-evening classics up to that time had been limited to a few early Ballet Theater Swan Lakes, so I didn't know what to expect. I just knew that Giselle was a classic. I remember a smallish stage (a regular theater, not the old Met) and a rather creaky and (to me) old-fashioned Act I. But I was bowled over by the unexpected beauty. mystery, and pathos of Act II.

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Without rummaging through old programs -- not sure I have it anyway -- I think mine was Carla Fracci with Ivan Nagy, and ABT. "Lighter than air", ethereal, couldn't believe it, "but you're seeing it", I told myself... (It would be decades before I would encounter the term, cognitive disconnect.) I'm sure there were bits that went past me, it was early in my experience, but I can still see some of it, and I still don't quite believe it, but I've learned over the years to believe in it, things like that.

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I don't remember the ballerina, but whoever she was, she was a Bolshoi dancer with her home company on tour at the Met, 1975. I'm tempted to say N. Bessmertnova, but it was a Wednesday Mat., so probably not, but then again, was she yet the prima at that point?

I may have forgotten someone, but I think it was in fact Judith Fugate - in Gabriella Darvash's production for her NYC school. I was in it, harvesting grapes in Act I ...
That was you??? :wink: Seriously, I was there (out front), and remember thinking that, given the opportunities to develop the role, Judy might have become a fine Giselle.

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Natalia Makarova with ABT, 1971. Her partner is still dear to my heart, Ivan Nagy.

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For me, it was Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. And it was my first time seeing live ballet, ever. It was wonderful.

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I'm pretty sure it was Makarova, c 1980, with Alexander Godunov in Chicago. Prior to that, as ABT would come usually for 2 weeks out of the year then, if I could only afford a single ticket, I would go to see "Swan Lake" as my reasoning was that I could see lots of dancers for the value of the ticket, and I didn't want to buy multiple cheap tickets but rather one really good one, so I had seen Makarova before, but I'm pretty sure I also wanted to see Godunov.

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Actually I've been so lucky with my Giselles. I've seen Diana Vishneva, Nina Ananiashvilli, and Natalia Osipova. What a great trio of Giselles. :thumbsup:

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Violette Verdy - The Miami (regional) Ballet circa 1969.

I remember loving her farm girl disposition in ACT I and I swore at the time and for years that Edward Villella jeted over the heads of the Wilis to exit in Act II.

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Ferri with Bocca circa 1993 -- it was a sublime experience.

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I've been lucky enough to be taken to the ballet as a child. I don't remember my first Giselle, just the general scenery and that she wore a yellow dress in act I! I don't remember anything from act II, might have fallen asleep. :thumbsup:

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I don't remember my first Giselle, just the general scenery and that she wore a yellow dress in act I! I don't remember anything from act II, might have fallen asleep. :P

An honest answer is always valid...THANK YOU! :thumbsup:

Also, after reading all the reposts, I wonder how many of these "first Giselles" would also be the most memorable one...

I know there can't be a 100%/100% ratio...(starting with my own response, BTW)

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For me, it was Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. And it was my first time seeing live ballet, ever. It was wonderful.

Me, too! I had seen live ballet before and lots of old films and TV broadcasts, but hadn't seen Giselle live in performance. I saw Baryshnikov and Kirkland in Giselle at the Kennedy Center in October 1975.

I discovered on a recent trip to New York that the Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center has a tape of them in excerpts from Giselle in 1975. It was taped live in performance, with a piano accompaniment added later. I'm guessing there were restrictions on release of the tape, and it mainly focusses on Kirkland, along with the Kirkland-Baryshnikov PDD. It's 28 minutes long (MGZIA 4-3606), a "gift of Gelsey Kirkland." I was curious if my memories of them from 35 years ago had been embellished in my mind. Nope! They were even more wonderful than I remembered. A very brief clip from that tape is available on YouTube (donated by Kirkland and posted with her permission). It's one of her first act solos:

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It's possible I am forgetting earlier performances, but I believe my first Giselle was Marilyn Burr with Ivan Nagy -- a performance by the now defunct National Ballet of Washington which at that time was directed by Frederic Franklin. (Later Ben Stevenson took over with Franklin still involved). I definitely remember Burr. I was a little girl and I totally believed her in the role...

(I have a vague thought that I may have seen a student performance of just Act II even before any National Ballet performances I saw, but am not certain: one or two of my sisters would have been dancing in it, though not the lead. However, I am much less certain whether I was seeing Giselle Act II or Les Sylphides or some other white ballet--I do vaguely remember my mother explaining to me about seeing an excerpt and long romantic tutus. I was about three years old...Anyway I saw my sisters in something...Let's call Burr my first Giselle!)

P.S. Edited long after anyone is reading this thread because of factual error.

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I'm pretty sure it was Makarova, c 1980, with Alexander Godunov in Chicago. . . .

YouTube has a nice clip of Makarova and Godunov rehearsing the second act PDD, with some narration by Makarova:

He was only with ABT for a few years (1979-1982), so your guess of 1980 is in the right timeframe.

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Carla Fracci with Paolo Bortoluzzi at ABT around 1975.

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I'm pretty sure it was Makarova, c 1980, with Alexander Godunov in Chicago. . . .

YouTube has a nice clip of Makarova and Godunov rehearsing the second act PDD, with some narration by Makarova:

He was only with ABT for a few years (1979-1982), so your guess of 1980 is in the right timeframe.

In 1980 I was lucky enough to see Godunov dance Swan Lake with Cynthia Gregory at the Met, who was a last minute replacement for Makarova who was out with an injury. I'll never forget the audience's collective groan when an announcer came on the loudspeaker and informed us of Makarova's injury. However, it turned out to be an exciting performance with the Gregory-Godunov chemistry being marvelous.

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My first Giselle was Mary McKendry with Maurizio Bellezza as her Albrecht. It was London Festival Ballet at the Liverpool Empire in 1985, in Mary Skeaping's production that ENB still perform. I think it was some time before I really started to realise what a masterpiece this production is and all I can remember is my feeling of boredom. I have seen this production many times over the intervening years (including last year) when I have enjoyed it tremendously asnd I feel quite ashamed of my initial reaction.

One of the most memorable performances of Giselle that I can remember is one in Plymouth six or seven years ago. Robert Parker was injured during the rehearsal and Chi Cao took over the role very late in the day. The Giselle that evening was a glorious Nao Sakuma.

Northern Ballet Theatre had a most memorable production of Giselle set in a ghetto in the second world war. The second act used male and female dancers as vengeful spirits. The choreography for Giselle and Albrecht was traditional. One of the most memorable performances of Giselle I have ever seen was Charlotte Broom and Daniel de Andrade in Cardiff in 1998. To this day, Denis Malinkine in this production is my defining Albrecht. This production was made by Michael Pink and he has remounted it for Milwaukee Ballet. I wish we could see it again.

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My first live Giselle was Svetlana Beriosova with the Royal Ballet. I was very young, but I still remember her otherworldly quality and her serene presence especially in the second act. I believe, but I'm not quite sure, that her Albrecht was Donald Mc Leary. Thinking now of how very fortunate I was to have seen her.

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My first live Giselle was Svetlana Beriosova with the Royal Ballet. I was very young, but I still remember her otherworldly quality and her serene presence especially in the second act. I believe, but I'm not quite sure, that her Albrecht was Donald Mc Leary. Thinking now of how very fortunate I was to have seen her.

Swoooooooonnn!

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