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Question #7: What did Bathilde do to deserve this?


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 18 April 2001 - 06:01 PM

Few would have cared, probably, in the 1840s, but we do. Who is Bathilde? Wronged nice girl, a cold-hearted woman who drove Albrecht into the arms of another, or just a plot device? What happens to her afterwards?

(I agree strongly with what Mary posted on another thread, that Bathilde, Flouncer Bitch, as she's now done in ABT's production, is the kind of modernization I could do without. Neumierization or MacMillanization, depending on your point of view, but it's adding drama where none is needed, and it ruins the mad scene.)

#2 doug

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Posted 18 April 2001 - 07:02 PM

According to the original libretto, Albrecht and Bathilde are reconciled at the end of the ballet: "[Giselle] points Albrecht toward the trembling Bathilde, on her knees a few steps away and stretching out her hand in a gesture of entreaty. Giselle seems to tell her lover to give his heart and soul to this sweet young girl." And at the very end: "Weak and staggering, he [Albrecht] falls into the arms of those who surround him, and reaches out his hand to Bathilde!!!"

The exclamation points are original, too!!! :mad:

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 18 April 2001 - 08:12 PM

Yes, that would be the "happy ending" every tragedy needs :mad: (In some contemporary productions, the second act has become a "dream" of Albrecht's, something that made me quite impatient until I figured out, I think, that this was an attempt to provide the sense of resolution and peace that was in the original production.)

What Doug quoted from the libretto would indicate that Bathilde is a good person, as forgiving as Giselle. Has she changed, as has Hilarion, in productions you've seen?

#4 samba38

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Posted 20 April 2001 - 05:08 PM

it seems to me that my first memory of Giselle was a Bathilde who was just as much a wronged innocent, albeit a royal one, as Giselle. She comes to a village, treats the local maiden with sweetness, gives her a gift and then is equally stunned to discover that the boyprince she thought loved her was a two-timing cad. She watches Giselle go mad and realizes that there, but for the grace of God, goes she, and fades out to find a way to salvage her heart and life.

#5 felursus

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Posted 21 April 2001 - 12:50 AM

I rather think Bathilde is a noble who has been well brought up. She's nice to the peasants. Asks her father permission to give away her necklace to Giselle. Has a moment of "sisterhood" with Giselle (when they both see themselves as young, about-to-be-married women). On the other hand, she IS a noble and demands treatment as such by Albrecht and Giselle. SHE is the rightful fiancee. She probably isn't in love with Albrecht - their engagement is probably a politically arranged deal, but that's what she's been brought up to expect. On the otherhand she knows she deserves to be treated with respect, so Albrecht shouldn't be flaunting his peccadillos in front of her, and I think she is genuinely shocked and appalled by Giselle's death. If she and Albrecht DON'T get married afterward it will be either because Albrecht goes off to become a monk or because Bathilde's father loves her enough not to want to force her to marry the cad. :eek:


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