Question #10: Why does Giselle love Albrecht?
Posted 22 April 2001 - 10:33 AM
Posted 22 April 2001 - 05:01 PM
I wish people who stage ballets would go back and read the original libretto; they'd get some lovely ideas I think usually stagers start with the one they're used to and fiddle with it to make it make sense OR look at lots of other productions for ideas and put them all together (that is, that's what the ones who think do )
The original libretto -- at least, as rendered by Beaumont -- makes so much sense and is so darned DANCEY. Either he left out a lot, or much has been added. I didn't find a reference to a weak heart. Giselle likes to dance, i.e., play, instead of working, and her mother tells her to stop dancing, that she's dancing too much and will come to a bad end. "Just one more dance, mother. Just one more," she says.
Many of the edges of Romantic ballet were buffed off and sentimentalized later in the century, and Giselle seems to have changed from a spirited, shallow young girl into St. Giselle somewhere along the line. It's not in the Beaumont I have now, but I remember reading somewhere that when Hilarion asks her, basically, "So what's he got that I haven't got?" (hinting, inexhaustible supply of rabbits, a good job, a better hut) she says, "He is beautiful and you are not."
If Albrecht has his epiphany in watching the terrible results of his flirtation, Giselle herself was redeemed, saved from Wilidom -- a whole tribe of girls who didn't listen to their mothers -- because she is struck by Albrecht's sincere sorrow and repentance. There's a bit of humanity (Christianity, in this world) left in her and that's what saves both of them.
Posted 22 April 2001 - 05:20 PM
The REASONS, IMO, that Giselle's mother doesn't approve of Albrecht are 1)he's a stranger and not enough is known about him; 2)he's encouraging Giselle to dance instead of following more serious persuits; 3)she wants Giselle to marry Hilarion. Hilarion is a forester and is, therefore, of a slightly higher social order than the rest of the peasants. He has access to the "fruits" of the forest - small game and wood - which are forbidden to the other peasants, and so is "wealthier". Giselle, by marrying him will never go hungry and will have a more comfortable life than she would if she married an ordinary peasant boy. Hilarion is also somewhat older, and so he can be expected to be steadier and behave in a more mature fashion than the rest of the "boys".
Posted 23 August 2010 - 03:07 PM
As I didn’t have much knowledge of the details of Giselle, I was surprised when Kent's Giselle touched the silk dress of Bathlide on the first performance day, and suspected whether Giselle is a material girl, eager to wear an expensive dress, and further Giselle loves Albrecht due to his wealth or social status which he might have exuded. I abandoned such suspect when I could clearly see Kent’s face the other day, because her Giselle was so pure and innocent that I came to believe that she touched the dress wholly because she wanted to look prettier to Albrecht in such a lovely dress as a girl who just fell in love, and such innocence of desire might have moved Bathlide to give her gold necklace to Giselle. Maybe somewhat influenced by Kent’s Giselle, who seemed pure and thoughtful, I wished to find a more favorable interpretation for Giselle, expanding her dance-loving character to more general beauty or art loving nature.
Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:56 AM
Posted 24 August 2010 - 10:56 AM
Posted 24 August 2010 - 10:57 AM
Or, indeed, a movie by Tim Burton: Johnny Depp as Hilarion, Bonham-Carter as Myrtha, and that couple from Twilight as Albrecht and Giselle. Natalie Portman could be a convincing Giselle. But only if her career survives Black Rac..., er, Swan.
Posted 25 August 2010 - 08:40 AM
One of the serious confusions of Act I for me is just how far Albrecht is perceived as -- or believes that he is perceived as -- a part of village life. Is he, for instance, seriously trying to disguise his origins. Given a social structure in which the barriers between peasant and nobleman were vast and almost always unbridgeable, wouldn't public dancing just call attention to his other-ness.
Granted, this is one of those happy-go-lucky cartoon peasant communities (so beloved by 19th-century ballet makers) in which most people don't notice much, unless it involves a murder, sucide, violent weather, invasion by pirates, or something on that order. But, even allowing for that, Albrecht might reasonably fear that exposing himself on the dance floor might convince at least a few of them -- not just Hilarion -- that he is NOT one of them.
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