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Giselle's Death: Should Albrecht Stay on Stage?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Lukayev

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Posted 23 April 2001 - 07:12 PM

I've been wondering about this for the longest time -- when I purchased Ballet Favorites with Galina Mezentseva and Konstantin Zaklinsky as the leads, his Albrecht fled off stage with the scarlet cape behind him catching the wind. A very dramatic moment indeed - perhaps he's too heartbroken to even see the lifeless body of sweet Giselle, or maybe he's just another cad giving a big show so suspicion will be removed from him. I don't know; I've only been around for fourteen years and the ballet has been performing for a good many years more than that. Baryshnikov remarked in his book on the ballets he's performed that he prefers his Albrecht to stay on stage, and hold Giselle one last time as a sign of an unwillingness to part and grief washing over the both of them. I rather prefer that version; if he wasn't a womanizing upper class citizen, then he'd be genuinely shocked and saddened within his heart.

Ah, but see, my own words have given me an idea. If he is shocked, then certainly he'd run off and find himself a quiet glen to recuperate and gather his thoughts.. or would he? Love is just another one of those mysterious things, so enigmatic and within itself... some poets may say their love is so evident, so bold, and yet.. to paraphrase the oft said "The littlest actions have the biggest meaning", perhaps "The biggest actions could have the smallest, most underlying details that no one at the time even bothers with but when they get home and hang up their coat, they remember and then become puzzled".

Just another question..
Luka

[ 04-23-2001: Message edited by: Lukayev ]

#2 felursus

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Posted 23 April 2001 - 07:45 PM

I like it better when he stays on stage. Many versions have him dragging Hilarion over and saying: "Look what you've done!" while Hilarion points out that it was ALBRECHT'S fault that Giselle is dead. I'm of two minds whether the next thing should be either him weeping over Giselle's body as the curtain falls or Berthe pushing him away and Wilfred taking him off at that point.

I think what happens has to be a function of how Albrecht is played earlier on. If he's played as a cad and then runs off, there is no convincing reason why he has become so remorseful between Acts I & II. It makes me envision an Act II in which Albrecht fails to show up at all! I think I've said in other posts on the "Giselle" topic that I think Albrecht IS a cad and MAY have had a girl in lots of the local villages. I think the point then becomes that THIS time he is forced to face the enormity of the results of his actions, and he is completely shocked. It is almost as though this is the first time that he has seen one of the peasants as creatures capable of having feelings.

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 23 April 2001 - 08:07 PM

I remember one Giselle where Albrecht wanted to go to Giselle after he realized what he'd done, but the men (both peasants and nobles) turned on him and made as if to assault him, but Wilfrid hauled him off left, into protective custody, no doubt! ;)

#4 atm711

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Posted 24 April 2001 - 08:54 PM

I have always felt that Albrecht should have the decency to leave the stage. I could never understand why Giselle's mother would condone his clutching of her dying daughter.

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 24 April 2001 - 09:25 PM

Same production, Giselle's mother cradles her corpse, Bathilde kneels over them both, stroking the mother's head and weeping. Apparently, Albrecht had NO friends (except maybe Wilfrid) in this production! That's why he's alone in Act II! It was terribly effective!

#6 Lukayev

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Posted 25 April 2001 - 02:57 AM

Gee, Mr. Mel, I wish that I could've seen that Giselle.. I've never had the opportunity to go see a live performance of that beautiful work, because Honolulu City Ballet broke up in 1986, a year before I was born, and to make things even worse for my regret, their farewell performances included Giselle.. aww! :mad: But the performance reviews on the board will insatiate my appetite until I manage to get into USAIBC in 2002 and tour around the companies in Jackson. :D

Sincerely,
Luka

#7 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 25 April 2001 - 06:35 AM

not exactly OT, but...

i recall a friend telling me of a production she saw in britain in the 1940s wherein robert helpmann, upon finishing his variation in act ii, quite properly collapsed on the stage and then after a minute, got up, took a bow, and got back down on the floor! :rolleyes:

#8 Juliet

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Posted 26 April 2001 - 08:43 PM

And Jose Manuel Carreno encored this little feat when he did it with Durante a couple of years ago. Only his was when Giselle died... he collapsed (after a few little picturesque twirls), raised himself akin to Lazarus, adknowledged the applause, and then remembered what he was supposed to be doing and curled himself back up in his cape....

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 26 April 2001 - 10:17 PM

Being OT in the cause of memorializing something as important as a bow or a curtain call is never a vice :mad:

Carreno did his bow to the audience in the second act -- I actually didn't mind it; I thought, rightly or wrongly, he's doing what he was taught. But Belosertkovsky did the same thing the next night and made it work dramatically, because he bowed to Myrtha, and not the audience. Got twice the applause for it, too :D

#10 Amy Reusch

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 10:05 PM

I'm pretty sure I shot the same version as Mel describes... (though most likely not the same performance)... Ivan Nagy staged it this way for Ballet Theatre of Chicago in the early 1990s. Perhaps this is a version he performed in at ABT as well? I liked this ending better than the version Petukov's St. Petersburg Ballet did at UConn last night.... it's so much more dramatic and the ending makes for a much more vivid final stage picture... sort of a tableau vivant.


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