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CNB Giselle's Act II Introductory scene

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Hi again. Another detail I remember from Alonso's production of Giselle is the opening of Act II with a grouping of huntsmen playing dice in the forest and then being scared away by the willis...all this before Myrtha's entrance. I haven't seen this done in any other production, so I was wondering if this is a liberty taken on the libretto.

I would, again, appreciate any clarifying post on the subject.

Thanks in advance! :)

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Hi again. Another detail I remember from Alonso's production of Giselle is the opening of Act II with a grouping of hunt men playing dice in the forest and then being scared away by the willis...all this before Myrtha's entrance. I haven't seen this done in any other production, so I was wondering if this is a liberty taken on the libretto.

I would, again, appreciate any clarifying post on the subject.

Thanks in advance! :)

A number of productions have used huntsment at the beginning of the Act II, but I have never seen any playing dice. Its a naturalistic touch that shows they are not afraid as night falls and it is only when the wilis or Myrtha appear, that they flee the vengeful spirits.

The score merely says No.16 Introduction Entrance et scene. No. 17 Entrée et danse de Myrthe.

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This scene occurs in almost every production of Giselle that I've seen, although sometimes it is hard to tell exactly what game they are playing.

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Beaumont's study, THE BALLET CALLED 'GISELLE,' 1945, chapter XIV, "Act Two: Some Aspects of Production," opens as follows:

<<The second act opens on a darkened stage. Some huntsmen are seen strolling in little groups through the forest. They are followed by Hilarion. Why huntsmen should range the forsest at close on midnight is not clear. Some producers have tried to answer this riddle by making them sit down and throw dice, during which a sudden storm springs up and causes them to take flight. Hilarion, catching sight of the cross with Giselle's name on it, is siezed with fear and hurries into the depth of the wood.>>

i can't recall when last i noted this gambling scene staged in productions of GISELLE brought to the NYC-area, i know i've seen it, but not frequently, and not, if mem. serves, lately.

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Thanks rg for that clarifying note. (I should definitely get me Beaumont's book). A little searching online-(keywording "Giselle original libretto)-also led me to Balletmet.

"The first production included elements rarely seen today, including a mime scene in which Giselle tells Loys that she has dreamt that he was in love with a beautiful noblewoman; the entrance of several members of the hunting party on horseback; and a large and impressive procession for the vinegatherers in Act I. In Act II missing today are the huntsmen playing dice at the beginning of the act; an encounter between the peasants and the wilis; Albrecht witnessing the demise of Hilarion from behind a tree; and Bathilde returning to reclaim Albrecht at the end of the ballet."

http://www.balletmet.org/Notes/Giselle.html

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There's really only one reason for huntsmen to be abroad in the woods late at night. They're attracting animals to a shooting stand with a lamp (called "jacking deer" in the trade, and bad practice). And Hilarion is RIGHT THERE with them, suggesting that he's so distracted that he can't even do his job as gamekeeper, further establishing his yutzness.

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Or they've heard stories about these women who hang in the forest and are checking it out, like all of the characters in horror movies who walk into the haunted house, just to check it out.

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Early in Alonso's career with BT, this huntsmen scene was included. As an alternate with this scene, I also saw the Act opening with only Hilarion on the stage--he was fashioning two sticks into a cross for Giselle's grave--only to be interrupted by the Willis.

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I remember the dice-throwing from BNdeC's Giselles here and interpreted it as a suggestion of the fates at work.

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