BalletNut

Videos of Giselle

74 posts in this topic

I thought up this topic after reading and responding to the one on specific productions. I have only seen one live production, but I have seen many more on video. So, what do you think is the best production of Giselle captured on video? The worst? The most unique?

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Good question! I hope you'll post your list.

I'm sure I have more than I can remember off the top of my head -- two ABT (Makarova-Baryshnikov and the older Fracci-Bruhn), one of Seymour-Nureyev (forget the production unfortunately), the Kirov with Mezentseva and Zaklinsky, the Bolshoi with Ulanova and N. Fadeyechev (?). I have a fondness for the old Bolshoi production -- and I can't resist adding, if anyone has this one, I found Ulanova's dancing in the second act, the musical phrasing of it, very interesting. It wasn't what I was used to seeing and so, of course, the first time I saw it I thought it "unmusical." Then I started concentrating more on the dancing than the music and found her musicality--and was fascinated by it.

I like parts of the old ABT production, too, but I'm sure that's just because it's the one I "grew up" with.

There's a very interesting video about Giselle -- Anton Dolin coaching Helgi Tomasson and Patricia McBride in the roles. And another one that is, as far as I know, available at the moment only in Europe, the Danish film about the Royal Danish Ballet's production -- more the behind-the-scenes, although there is footage from the stage -- Anne Wivel's "Of Dreams and Discipline."

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Alexandra, does the Fracci/Bruhn production feature Toni Lander as Myrthe? If so, I found that a fascinating video because it is much more cinematic than many of the other which are "flimed" stage performances. And Fracci makes a wonderful Giselle, totally believable in her performance - even in close up.

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Yes, liebs, Toni Lander is Myrtha on that video (Bruce Marks is Hilarion). I also like this production because it retains the circles in Act II, which, to me, make it more like a ritual. (On most days, Carla Fracci is my favorite Giselle :) and I agree, she films very, very well.)

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I absolutely LOVED Fracci's Giselle (esp Act I) and Makarova's Act II, but I also thought Stuttgart's "Giselle and the Wilis" with Birgit Keil was interesting. Also, Mats Ek's "Giselle" on video is absolutely thrilling as well. I also wonder if there are any remaining videos of Dame Margot Fontyn dancing this. I've only seen an excerpt of her dancing with Nureyev, and it was sublime.

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Well, I too have seen the Fracci video, and while the dancing is superb, I actually found the cinematic effects very distracting. I much prefer Makarova and Baryshnikov, however, I have been unable to get a personal copy of it, as it has been out of print and very hard to find. :confused:

Another video worth mentioning is the Bolshoi At the Bolshoi series with Natalia Bessmertnova and Yuri Vasyuchenko in the leads, with Maria Bylova as Myrtha. Bessmertnova gives a serviceable Giselle in this one, but frankly I've seen better interpretations, and it looks as though the video was shot a bit late in her career. Vasyuchenko left me cold both dramatically and technically, and his Billy Ray Cyrus mullet hair doesn't help things any. :eek: To be fair, though, this video has the best peasant pas de deux I've ever seen, overshadowing the leads even. The Bolshoi corps is, as expected, excellent. I know of an earlier video of Bessmertnova's Giselle, with Lavrovsky, I think; has anyone seen it?

As for the Nureyev video, the only redeeming quality it has is Monica Mason's Myrtha. I've seen Nureyev in better films than this. There is no peasant pas de deux in this production, and Lynn Seymour as Giselle, for all her dramatic flair, has the same problem as Bessmertnova: she was filmed past her prime.

I have also seen Dance Theater of Harlem's Creole Giselle, which is quite interesting in that it has been relocated to Louisiana, with sets and costumes reflecting the change. The choreography is pretty much the same, and it is pretty well danced as well.

[ 04-24-2001: Message edited by: BalletNut ]

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Ballet Nut, a high percentage of the films and videos made in the 1950s, '60s and '70s are of dancers past their prime, I think. I suppose this was because people were anxious to capture great performances in a new medium, and went for the senior artists first. Also, there are some people who simply do not film well -- and Seymour and Nureyev are two of them.

I actually like productions that cut the peasant pas de deux. It does totally break the drama -- where is Albrecht? lurking in the woods until it's safe to come back? -- and it's often so badly undercast, I can live without it :)

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The earlier Bolshoi video with Natalia Bessmertnova and Mikhail Lavrovsky is an interesting document. It dates from the early seventies and is much preferable to the later “Bolshoi at the Bolshoi” film, as it gives a better idea why Bessmertnova was one of the greatest Russian Giselles of the last decades. The old-fashioned filming style and the sets give it somewhat of a postcard-image at times, while the very short skirts of the girls in the 1st look rather funny, but the dancing leaves little or nothing to be desired. Especially the 2nd act is breathtaking. Also some great dancing by Lavrovsky (There is no peasant pas de deux).

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Has anyone seen the Malakhov video of Giselle? The video itself is of a rather poor quality; rather like something your favorite uncle taped for you on the night of your big recital. The dancing, however, is very fine. The ballerina is Ludmilla Vasileva, and the production, if my memory serves me correctly, came from Perm. None of the other dancers are credited. I thought Vasileva did a beautiful job, especially in the mad scene. Has anyone else seen it? If you have, I would love to hear the opinion of a better educated viewer.

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Yes, I have this early Malakhov video, and while he is very young, he is ardent and so expressive......

I think his is one of the best thought-out and realized Albrechts....the later (1996) biographical video, "True Prince" has him working on Giselle with Yseult Lendval, and is really, really interesting to see....it's spooky and eerie and she is so insubstantial....he is just beautiful in this (which is, of course, the point.) I was very sorry to have missed him at Kennedy Center earlier this month.

I have many favourite Giselle moments, but one I must echo from an earlier mention on this thread is the exquisite pdd with Fonteyn and Nureyev. I *think* it was shot at the first performance of theirs together and it showed me so much that I hadn't seen before, mostly about Fonteyn. Exquisite.

Why has no one mentioned the Alicia Alonzo Giselle? It is very distinctive, and although one marvels at her age when it was filmed, I think it is lovely.......

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You have also the "black" Giselle by Dance Theater of Harlem. I don't remember the cast.

It exist the Kirov version with Mesentzeva and Zaglinski. It's the lonely version where I saw Giselle dancing the mad scene without touch her hair. I don't find the word in english. She has her hair attached and doesn't change.

We have also one recent production of la Scala with Ferri, Murru and Seabra as Myrtha. I think peasant pdd is with Roberto Bolle and it's the same production in Paris even the sets are different.

They pass years and years ago a Giselle with Pontois and Baryshnikov at POB. It seems it exist also the version extracted of Terence young' Mayerling with Liane Daydé, I don't remember Albrecht, the version is during 1 hour and you don't have peasants pdd.

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I possess an old video (much treasured) of Yekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev in Giselle. Wonderful stuff indeed - to my mind the best I have ever seen.

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Balletnut, I hope you see this reply. The Baryshinkov/Makarova Giselle video IS still in print and available for purchase! :)

1. Go to dealtime.com

2. Click on "Movies" catagory

3. Under "title", type Live From Licoln Center - Giselle

They also have all the other versions mentioned in this thread.

Hope this helps! :):):):):)

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I appreciate the suggestion, Yvonne, but when I tried it, the site only referred me to Tower Records' homepage, and they don't have it. But thank you anyway.

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I am also a big fan of the Bessmertnova/Lavrovsky Giselle from the 70's. Lavrovsky is the best Albrecht, period. While I don't think Bessmertnova is quite up to the level of Fracci, she's still very good. And the Myrtha, production, filming and mood of video are the best of all the one's I've seen. The Bruhn-Fracci Giselle has wonderful dancing (Toni Lander) but terrible camera work. Ted Kivitt's performance in the peasant dance is all but ruined by moronic cutaways and shot selection. Bruhn is wonderful, but I still find him to be somewhat of a cold fish (have you ever seen him in a performance where you really thought he loved the ballerina?)

The Nureyev/Seymour Giselle is good, but I think Seymour is just too contemporary a dancer to be a good Giselle. She's a wonderful dancing actress, but lacks the romantic magic. And let's face it, the ballet is not called "Albrecht".

The Misha/Makarova Giselle has wonderful performances (though I don't think Albrecht is an especially good role for Misha), but I don't like the production values, and it doesn't have nearly the mood of the romantic era that 1970's Bolshoi video has. I know there are many Grigorovich detractors out there, but I think this production (even with its cuts) is a jewel.

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Balletnut, what a bummer! Well....I'm on eBay frequently. The next time that video comes up for auction (and it ALWAYS does - at least twice a month), I will post here and let you know. Ebay is very simple to use and you should be able to nab the video for well under $25.00. It's (eBay) a great way to find ballet videos! :)

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I should have checked eBay before I wrote that last post! Balletnut, there is one copy of that video up for auction NOW! The bidding starts at $11.99 (no reserve price), and nobody has bid on it yet. The auction closes on May 5th. Go to www.ebay.com and after the page loads, type in "Makarova" and your movie will come up. It's simple to register and bid - Good Luck!!!

GO FOR IT!!!! :)

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Why has no one mentioned the Alicia Alonzo Giselle? It is very distinctive, and although one marvels at her age when it was filmed, I think it is lovely.......

Well, Juliet, if nobody has mentioned Mme. Alonso's "Giselle" yet, then it's my duty to do so !, considering that i just can't get enough of her and everytime i can i try to pass the message of her artistry to whoever wants to receive it :dunno: ...The last Giselle i saw with her (AT THE AGE OF 73 AND NOT HER LAST ONE! :tiphat: ) in 1993 was as unique as every single one of the maaaaaaaaaaany others that i saw from this XX Century ballet living legend. What can i say that hasn't been already said about her "Giselles"? Only that one can't have a whole accurate idea of this phenomenom just from the 1965 B/W DVD with Azary Plisetsky. Alonso's Giselle live were different everytime you would go and see it...sometimes more shy, sometimes with a little bit more of a "flirt" and sometimes she even would make you "guess" earlier in the first act that something terrible was about to happen later on..like a secret that she shared with the public.

Why NBC hasn't released any other "Giselle" performance on DVD, like the one with Vladimir Vasiliev, is something i don't know, :dunno: and it's a pity. For now, this is the only recorded version on the market, and it doesn't really describe her in this role as she deserves...

:tiphat:

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cubanmiamiboy and other friends:

Alicia Alonso's full-length "Giselle" has been captured on video or film at least 3 times. First, the black-and-white movie that was filmed not live in the former Blanquita theatre (today "Carlos Marx") in Havana. The other 2 Giselles are live performances in the Teatro García Lorca in Havana. The first of these 2 was with Vladimir Vasiliev in 1980, when the diva was 60 years old, and the second one was a Gala for the 150th aniversary of the ballet "Giselle" in 1991 where Alicia (71 years old!!!) participated with all other prima ballerinas of the company, alternating in the title role, in the same performace! I have all 3 on DVD from VHS recorded not commercially in Havana.

The last word I received this year from the people I know in Havana is that they are working on the Alonso-Vasiliev tape in order to release it commercially. It is a very hard work because they gathered all available copies on tape of that performance, all recorded from the air, and took the best preserved section from each for doing an extensive restoration of both image and sound.

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The second one was a Gala for the 150th aniversary of the ballet "Giselle" in 1991 where Alicia (71 years old!!!) participated with all other prima ballerinas of the company, alternating in the title role, in the same performace!

Hey Mariano...you just took me back in time...i was one of the lucky people that was at the Lorca the day of that all-stars cast "Giselle" (MEMORABLE!! :smilie_mondieu: ), and i even remember me and my friend Bismart ( :off topic: ) breaking the doors of the San Rafael entrance along with that human mass wanting to watch the performance...Anyways, back on topic, those are great news about the Vasiliev/Alonso production going on DVD :yahoo: . It was a brilliant duo , and it sure deserves to go public... If you get any news about it, please, let us know. :beg:

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You were at that performance! I'm sorry I missed it, I was already in the USA. (I'm glad you broke the doors!).

I'll let you know if I receive any new information.

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The 1980 one (with Vasiliev) has already been announced at amazon.com and can be pre-ordered, although they keep delaying the release. Maybe September '07? I keep getting messages about the estimated date of shipping, as I pre-ordered it a couple of months ago. I am sure that it will be worth the wait. :shake:

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The 1980 one (with Vasiliev) has already been announced at amazon.com

:shake::wink::excl:

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So, what do you think is the best production of Giselle captured on video? The worst? The most unique?

Mmmm........My favourite one is the one with Alessandra Ferri and Massimo murru.She is my favourite dancer.She has a great talent in perfectly wear the shoes of the character she has to represent.When She's on the stage,You don't see Alessandra,You see Giselle,a young peasant,innocent,at her first love,wondering about her man.And when She sees him,She's a shy little girl,embarassed and longing to stay with Albrecht.It's wonderful how She gives you all these feelings and make you understand for example that She's wondering what to say and what to do when She will meet him without speaking,if not with her body.I can't describe how well She can be Giselle.I hope You can get the chance to see the video.The couple is out of the world,really.Unfortunately She has given her last goodbye to the scene,as She's already 40 some....Everybody knows her,especially in the USA,for her partnership with Julio Bocca in what is defined her best role,"Romeo and Juliet".I'd say She's even better in Giselle and I can't forget her last ballet here at Scala:John Neumeier's "Lady of the Camelias".Perfect in partnership with Roberto Bolle.Also Carla Fracci's Giselle is perfect.And I have to say both Alessandra and Carla have their best roles in common.Sometimes You would confuse the two.But Fracci's Giselle It's in my opinion,old dance.I don't like those old videos with little arabesques,penchés at 90°.So I give you the advice to get the video of the Giselle I talked You about.

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Natalia:

I searched amazon.com but could not find that announcement. There is, however, another DVD which is "Alicia Alonso: Giselle, La Leyenda", but that's another story. Do you think a link would work?

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