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Okay, we can do the dancers now :)


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 30 April 2001 - 12:08 AM

I'd like to thank everybody for sticking to talking about production details, using dancers as examples :mad:

Even though we've done "Who's your favorite Giselle/Albrecht" several times, there are always newcomers -- and people change their minds.

So, who are your favorite Giselles and Albrechts?

Note to those new amongst us: We try to have a rule that we say "My favorite," or "in my opinion," or "for me," instead of "positively absolutely the best in the entire history of time," because the latter can lead, if not to bloodshed, to unpleasant battles. And, not that anyone has done this in awhile, but no matter how ludicrous we may think someone else's favorite is, we recognize that s/he has every right to have that favorite. We love strong opinions, especially passionate opinions, but we like to leave the enemy standing at the end of the day. I know this makes us duller than some of the opera boards, but I can live with that. :D

#2 Françoise

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Posted 30 April 2001 - 06:59 AM

My opinion is bases on POB dancer. My favorite Giselle doesn't exist, I never saw a perfect complete Giselle, I saw first act Giselle and second act Giselle, but never one make me impression to be complete.
Perhaps the most complete was Elisabeth Maurin, the better second act was Elisabeth Platel who is the romantic ballerina.
I remember one time where Platel injuried at the end of first act and was replace by Monique Loudières in second act her Albrecht was Manuel Legris, never I saw a most amazing and beautiful second act that this time.
All the Albrecht at my eyes seem to be good in their interpretation (Legris, Jude, Belarbi, Hilaire, Martinez, Le Riche...), it's not like Giselle where you must have something else.

:rolleyes: Reading all the cumments, I remember something now, the greatest Giselle I saw was Altinaï Assylmouratova with the Kirov, her mad scene makes me cry, she has wide eyes open instead of her usual look and she is exactly what we wait in this scene, no cross on the stage as a true "crazy" girl, no tears, no scream. And the other was Natalia Bessmertnova from Bolchoi, her second act was absolutely magic, so fly.

[ 05-12-2001: Message edited by: Françoise ]

#3 atm711

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Posted 30 April 2001 - 11:16 AM

In the 40's and 50's:
Alonso and Youskevitch
In the 60's and 70's
Fracci and Bruhn
In the 80's
Makarova and Baryshnikov

So far, no one in the 90's has captured my loyalty.

#4 cargill

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Posted 30 April 2001 - 02:11 PM

I saw Fracci once, late in her career, and for me, she is the benchmark. Another Giselle I really enjoyed, oddly enough, was Merle Park. She was unbelievably light in the 2nd act. I also, as I have said before(!) think Amanda McKerrow is one of the most interesting and detailed Giselles around. As for Albrecht, Nurevey's desperate cad is hard to beat.

#5 Helena

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Posted 30 April 2001 - 03:05 PM

I'm being very predictable here, but it's got to be Fonteyn and Nureyev. I think I'd have liked Fracci and Bruhn too, but I never saw them live - I saw Bruhn in other ballets, but not in Giselle. Anthony Dowell was a marvellous Albrecht.

#6 liebs

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Posted 30 April 2001 - 07:54 PM

Ivan Nagy was a wonderful, and underrated, Albrecht. I remember one Makarova/Nagy Giselle for ABT at City Center. Sheer magic! He was a wonderful, attentive partner and had an elegant line. He portrayed Albrecht as truly in love with Giselle, not at all a cad, just misguided in thinking he could have it all. Very noble and repentant in the second act.

#7 CygneDanois

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Posted 30 April 2001 - 10:23 PM

This will sound ludicrous in contrast to the huge stars everyone else has seen. Fonteyn and Nureyev are my honorary favorites, since I haven't seen them do Giselle, but I've seen enough of them that I'm fully convinced they would be my favorites, had I seen them. Other than that, Alessandra Ferri, Julie Kent, and Amanda McKerrow (Well, I haven't seen anyone else, really). I've seen Evelyn Hart and Carole Arbo dance an entrancing Act II pas de deux (not together, of course). Now we all know why my conributions to this thread have been so shallow :mad:.

#8 Drew

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Posted 01 May 2001 - 02:58 AM

I'd say Ferri, Kent, and Mckerrow are a fine trio to have seen...

Apologies if some of what follows is a bit repetitive of things I've said elsewhere...I've tried to vary it somewhat...

The first Giselle for whom I felt deep devotion was Marilyn Burr whom I saw with the National Ballet of Washington. At least one of those performances was certainly with Nagy, but what I remember was being utterly enthralled by Burr, especially in Act II. I have absolutely no idea how she "compares" with greats or even very goods I've seen at a later, savier age (and don't need to); she was part and parcel of what made me love the ballet...I also saw Fracci/Bruhn at a very young age and that performance, too, entered into my imagination in ways I can't quite qualify. But the Fracci Giselle "image" I actually remember most vividly was an appearance ca. 1980 in some gala, doing an excerpt from Act II. She was utterly ghostly almost like a mysterious statue come to life.

From my "adult" ballet going, my favorite was Kirkland (Kirkland-Baryshnikov when they still had a genuine partnership and the lifts in Act II were like little miracles). She was affecting and tender in Act I, extremely detailed in her characterization and dancing, and performed the mad scene with an inner directed pathos that was all too believable. She danced gorgeously in Act II -- loving Albrecht yet possessed by the dance -- and in her jumps she just seemed made of air. (I just reread my previous sentences and they sound sort of trite, especially since those qualities are all suggested by the choreography -- but I'm going to leave them, because I think Kirkland really made those qualities live compellingly on stage.)Definitely a dancer who captured, for me, the requisite qualities for both Acts I and II.

My favorite Albrecht bar none is certainly Nureyev, who did (as has already been discussed) an "unsympathetic" Albrecht with all the charisma, nobility, and rage (at the end of Act I) at his command. With Nureyev, that was a lot. The transformation into and through Act II was all the more overwhelming. His performance gave the ballet a depth and weight that, in my experience, it rarely has. Oddly enough Albrecht is the one nineteenth-century classic role in which I did not care for Dowell. However, I only saw him once -- with Makarova at ABT. At that performance, his facial expressions were oddly, and atypically for Dowell, melodramatic -- he literally seemed to pop his eyes out whenever he wanted to express fear or passion, and his characterization was also of an extremely weak Albrecht. At the end of Act I, he seemed like a crushed boy, practically flopping in his movements. Since I all but worshipped him in every other part I saw him perform, I'd like to think he danced it more effectively at other times, but maybe I just disagreed with his interpretation.

I admired Makarova as Giselle but never quite loved her in the role...We had a thread on recent or contemporary Giselles and two I mentioned there but will mention again are Mckerrow and, in a different but still admirable vein, Vishneva. I saw Mckerrow with Malakhov in an extraordinary performance a couple of seasons back; they were perfectly attuned to one another at every moment. In his Act II leaps Malakhov managed to jump high and beautifully and yet make you feel the weight of flesh and exhaustion that was holding him down. A wonderfully romantic and touching performance from them both. Technically, Vishneva's was probably one of the best danced performances of the ballet I have ever seen -- certainly the best performance of the Act I solo -- but she made the quality of her dancing the key to her interpretation, so it wasn't just showy but really worked within the frame of the ballet. I saw Assylmyratova that same week. There were moments in that performance that were simply as meltingly lyrical and memorable as anything I have ever seen though the performance as a whole did not, for me, gel on quite that level.

Finally, at some Kirov highlights program in Chicago, about ten years ago, I saw Alexander Lunev and Veronika Ivanova dance the Act II pas de deux. They performed in the utterly austere, "old style" Kirov manner. It was like watching a classroom exercise, but done at some unbelievable pitch of purity and exactitude. Absolutely one of most beautiful and moving ballet performances I have ever seen.

[ 05-01-2001: Message edited by: Drew ]

#9 Giannina

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Posted 01 May 2001 - 11:15 AM

Years ago Makarova presented a 5 part ballet series on the A&E channel. In it is a snippet of her rehearsing Giselle with Denard (I think that's his name). Referring to the lifts she was demonstrating that even tho it's important to appear effortless with "ballerina going up" the same is equally important with "ballerina going down". They then demonstrated the big lifts in Giselle's ActII and it was so smooth that it took my breath away. I've yet to see anything like it.

But my favorite remains Cynthia Harvey (with Pat Bissell).

Giannina

#10 Katja

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 12:10 PM

The highlight of the Mariinsky Ballet festival in St.Petersburg this year was "Giselle" with Diana Vishnyeva and Vladimir Malakhov. malakhov was dancing in Russia for the first time after an almost ten years absence and and being unknown here all these years caused a sensation. Many balletomanes who have seen many generations of Albrechts at Mariinka and who are often very sceptical of anyone new , were really impressed. Believe me, it is hard to impress here.
Malakhov has a perfect " blue prince" line and very clean techik. I have never seen a dancer with such beautiful feet. His jump is light and without effort, landings are silent - very rare qualities. About the acting - absolutely believable interpretation from the first entrace to the end. And Vishnyeva was also great that evening. I saw her dance "Giselle" before, but this time the acting was different, especially in the second act, my guess that it was influeced by the partner. They also match each other perfectly optically - both have long legs and arms, long necks, she is dark and hi is blond. I would like to see them dancing together again.

Sincerely yours,

ballet fan from St.Petersburg

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 12:57 PM

Welcome, Katja, and thank you very much for posting. Malakhov impressed in New York as well (I haven't seen him, unfortunately) where he danced with Amanda McKerrow.

I have a question because you've mentioned something that has come up in our discussions before, and it's something I'm trying to trace. You mentioned Malakhov's "blue prince" line. What is your understanding of the meaning of that term, and where it comes from?

#12 Katja

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Posted 05 May 2001 - 10:36 AM

It is an actual tramslation from Russian. In Russia we use this term to describe someone with very noble demeanor combined with the right physique. The term is very common among balletomanes to describe a male dancer who has perfect body (excellent proportions - long legs and arms and small torso)and a certain manner in dance (soft plie, light jump with.) Some to mention from the past - Soloviev,Fadeyechev,Bruhn,Dowell. Today - defenitely Malakhov, probably Uvarov.

#13 felursus

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Posted 08 May 2001 - 05:04 PM

My all-time favorite 2nd Act Giselle was Makarova because she was able to convey that Giselle is a spirit - because of her apparent weightlessness and near ability to "fly". I have liked many people in the first act for different reasons, but just to be a little "different" I shall mention one of my favorites whom not too many people on this list will have seen: Beriosova. She made Giselle a delightful, innocent young girl who falls apart completely when she realizes that she has been betrayed. She did a few things I haven't seen anyone else do - for example, she did the arabesque penchees in Giselle's solo on pointe. She also had a delightful moment when she would dust the chair Bathilde was to sit on with her skirt. Alas, I don't think it was ever filmed (even illicitly).

#14 Andrei

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Posted 08 May 2001 - 10:08 PM

Ferulsus, you mean arabesque penche in the variation of the first act? Wow!

#15 Kevin Ng

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Posted 09 May 2001 - 01:37 AM

Originally posted by Katja:
Today - defenitely Malakhov, probably Uvarov.


I totally agree with you about Andrei Uvarov. Last week he and Svetlana Lunkina danced beautifully the Giselle pas de deux during the current Bolshoi season in London.


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