doug

PNB Giselle

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PNB's Giselle scenario, based on the original and translated and adapted by Marian Smith, is now up on the company's website.

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Wow, this is going to be great!

Those who are waiting for an Albrecht-Bathilde reconciliation at the end will not be disappointed.

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Ah...great news...! Now, THAT is something worth a trip... :thumbsup:

Also, interesting that the scene of the men being saved from the willis by the old villager happens AFTER Giselle's initiation...(I had seen it before, but right before Myrtha's first appearance...)

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Such amazing detail -- this is going to be astonishing!

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Thanks, Helene. We've also got a timeline up that helps give context to the source material we're using.

Rehearsals begin again in earnest on April 12.

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Excellent article by Philippa Karaly in "The Gathering Note" on the restaging effort:

http://www.gatheringnote.org/?p=13721

Some highlights:

The fount of gestures used in “Giselle” have been drawn by former PNB dancer Uko Gorter and will be in the program guide, though the meanings of many will be clear from the attitude or stance of the performer.

I'm so glad to see this -- Uko Gorter was a wonderful dancer turned illustrator and, when we're lucky, character artist with PNB.

“We are using the score as our script,” says Fullington. “Most 19th century ballet scores were not published, maybe a piano reduction was made and sent with the ballet, for instance to St. Petersburg, and then someone there would orchestrate it. It’s so nice to have the original score from the Biblioteque Nationale de France. It’s so light and flavorful, where Russian orchestrations are much heavier.” It was another stroke of luck that a British cellist, Lars Payne, had been editing the Paris score, and completed it in time for PNB to use it.

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“We are using the score as our script,” says Fullington. “Most 19th century ballet scores were not published, maybe a piano reduction was made and sent with the ballet, for instance to St. Petersburg, and then someone there would orchestrate it. It’s so nice to have the original score from the Biblioteque Nationale de France. It’s so light and flavorful, where Russian orchestrations are much heavier.” It was another stroke of luck that a British cellist, Lars Payne, had been editing the Paris score, and completed it in time for PNB to use it.

Wonderful! That's how a serious staging should always be...with the right approach to the music. :clapping:

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PNB has released a video in which Marian Smith speaks briefly about the two musical scores being used and Doug Fullington speaks about the Stepanov notation; there are stills of the scores themselves:

In the video you'll see the same cast as in the Guggenheim presentation -- James Moore as Hilarion, Carla Korbes and Seth Orza as Giselle and Loys/Albrecht, and Carrie Imler as Giselle's mother and then as Myrtha. In the middle of the video there are two young, Liora Reshef and Eric Hippolito, Jr.; is that Peasant pas de Deux? It's great to see Reshef again who was back in the cast lists in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"after a long absence: she will shine in a Romantic ballet like "Giselle".

Here's a great look at the two lost scenes from Act II that are being restored: "Hilarion and the Hunters", with Peter Boal standing in for Hilarion and then Jeffrey Stanton as Hilarion, and Kiyon Gaines, Josh Spell, Barry Kerollis, joined by William Lin-Yee, Eric Hippolito, Jr., then Andrew Bartee, then Sean Rollofson (?), and then "Old Man and the Villagers", with Ryan Cardea as the Old Man (with the green hat), and I think PD students as the villagers.

Other videos:

The Photoshoot, with Amanda Clark, Eric Hippolito, Jr. (doing the lifting), and Angela Sterling, formerly a fantastic soloist at PNB, now a fantastic dance photographer:

The evolution of the poster by Ben Kerns:

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The TV spot from rehersal:

Some casting hints: Carla Korbes looking gorgeous as Giselle with Karel Cruz as Albrecht, and glimpses of William Yin-Lee as Wilfrid to Cruz's Albrecht, Eric Hippolito, Jr. as Wilfrid, I think, to Lucien Postlewaite's Albrecht. There's also a quick shot of Lesley Rausch with children. Cruz and Postlewaite will be heartbreaking heart breakers as Albrecht. I'm getting all verklempt thinking about it...

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Casting for "Giselle" is up, and an exception was made to show casting -- always subject to change -- for both weeks. Not only that, PNB took pity on us and published the weekly casting in .pdf form by week to show all principal casting in grid form. Links are on the Casting page. (The drop-down format is still displayed.) :flowers: to Gary Tucker for making this possible!

In addition, I've attached an Excel spreadsheet provided by Mr. Tucker; I combined two so that both weeks' grids are side by side, and it can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this post.

The four main role combinations (Giselle/Albrecht-Loys/Myrtha) are:

Korbes/Cruz/Imler (Friday, 3 June; Saturday eve. 11 June)

Foster/Orza/Gilbreath (Saturday mat., 4 June; Sunday mat. [1pm] 12 June)

Nakamura/Postlewaite/Chapman (Saturday eve., 4 June; Friday 10 June)

Rausch/Bold/Dec (Thursday, 9 June; Saturday mat., 11 June)

PNB Alumni and Artistic Staff who will be performing are:

Melanie Skinner-Berthe: Friday, 3 June; Saturday mat., 4 June; Thursday, 9 June; Saturday mat. and eve. 11 June

Uko Gorter-Prince of Courtland: Friday, 3 June; Saturday mat., 4 June; Saturday eve., 11 June; Sunday mat. (1pm) 12 June

Otto Neubert-Prince of Courtland: Saturday eve., 4 June; Thursday, 9 June; Friday 10 June; Saturday mat., 11 June

Dancers who are leaving at the end of the season will be featured as follows:

Jeffrey Stanton:

Hilarion: Saturday eve., 4 June; Thursday, 9 June; Saturday mat., 11 June

Stacy Lowenburg:

Bathilde: Saturday mat. 4 June; Friday, 10 June

Chalnessa Eames:

Peasant PDD (with Jonathan Porretta): Friday, 3 June; Saturday mat., 4 June

Moyna: Friday, 3 June; Thursday, 9 June

Berthe: Saturday eve. 4 June; Friday, 10 June; Sunday mat. (1pm), 12 June

For my fellow ballet goers for whom our first thought after the company announced "Giselle" for this season was "Ariana Lallone = Myrtha", and hoped she'd do Bathilde, too, I offer a virtual weep-fest.

Please remember:

  • Sunday matinees start at 1pm
  • There's an extra non-subscription matinee on Saturday, 10 June
  • Review it here, please, please, please

Giselle performance casting PRINCIPALS ONLY.xls

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One week and counting down until the premiere!

PNB has published two new videos. In the first Karel Cruz, who will dance Albrecht next Friday, opening night, to Carla Korbes' Giselle, discusses the role and what it means to him; there are some shots of the notation in the video, too:

The second is "Myrtha and the Wilis". As Myrtha Lindsi Dec is wearing the blue leotard, Maria Chapman the black leotard, and Laura Gilbreath the aqua turtleneck no sleeve leotard. There are a couple of shots of Kylee Kitchens (light gray leotard and black tights) and Leslie Rausch (light blue leotard and gray sweats) as Moyna and Zulme.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8hdemk5xec&feature=relmfu

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I just watched the clips posted by Helene, and I just can't get enough of them...Yes...Giselle is such a wonderful ballet, and this lovingly made reconstruction is just a well deserved, long due homage.

Now, in regard to the "lost" scenes, particularly the one with the old villager man advising the group of youngsters to quit their nocturnal fete...where is this scene placed, before or after Myrtha's first Entree...?

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According to the very detailed synopsis, after:

Myrtha, the queen of the Wilis, arrives on the scene, mysteriously radiant and piercing the shadows of the night. She summons the other Wilis to join her in a fantastic ball. The Wilis, including Moyna and Zulma, present themselves to their sovereign, and soon all of the Wilis are waltzing with abandon, gratifying their love for dancing which they were unable to fulfill in life. Before long, at a sign from the queen, the dance comes to an end, and Myrtha announces the arrival of a new Wili. Giselle appears, rising from her grave, wrapped in a shroud. When Myrtha touches her with her rosemary branch, the shroud falls off and Giselle is transformed into a Wili. She dances with fervor until a sound is heard in the distance. The Wilis disperse and hide themselves.

Some youths are returning from a festival in a neighboring village. The Wilis seek to detain them and try to force them to dance. However, an old man throws himself in their midst warns them of the danger; they barely escape, with the Wilis in hot pursuit.

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Ah...so then this happens before Albrecht's entrance...

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I really hope this becomes available commercially on dvd. The "lost scene" with Hilarion and the huntsman sounds fascinating. i can appreciate the point that it adds comic relief and (with the clock striking twelve) a transition to the spooky arrival of the Wilis.

It's a great concept. One can imagine the effect it must have had on the original audiences. I just hope it works as well in actual performance today.

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I just watched the clips posted by Helene, and I just can't get enough of them...Yes...Giselle is such a wonderful ballet, and this lovingly made reconstruction is just a well deserved, long due homage.

did you ever see Karel Cruz dance while he was in the corps in Cuba? Per the cast scheduled listed above, he will be the opening night Albrecht. !Un triumfo por los bailerinos de Cuba!

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Just an interesting (hopefully) aside......

I've heard at least 3 ballerinas at PNB remark how they all love, love, love to be partnered by Karel. The reason? They say he instinctively "understands" how their body's move, and exactly where to provide support such that they (the ballerina) looks good. They feel secure in his hands, and they feel free to dance with abandon since he knows just what to do to give them the support they need.

My guess is that Karel is getting lots of exposure because the female stars clamor to be partnered by him.

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I was surprised that Cruz was cast with Korbes only because in the Guggenheim presentation she was partnered by Orza, and I assumed too much from that. It makes a lot of sense physically, since Foster and Nakamura would look teensy next to Cruz, and Nakamura has such a simpatico presence with Postlewaite: he seems to anticipate her every breath. Rausch is long-limbed, but she's also a very cool performer in general, and Cruz really showcases his ballerinas; I'm not sure the stage relationship would spark there. Bold, even when his face is a mask, always seems to me to have energy bubbling under the surface, and I think he and Rausch will look great together.

Cruz with Korbes makes a lot of sense dramatically, too, because Cruz is ardent but controlled, and Korbes is Ms. Drama.

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It's a great concept. One can imagine the effect it must have had on the original audiences. I just hope it works as well in actual performance today.

The concept works, bart. You can check it out in the 1964 Alonso/Plisetski DVD-(along with Berthe's mime of Giselle's fate). It is also in the 1980 Alonso/Vasiliev DVD.

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did you ever see Karel Cruz dance while he was in the corps in Cuba? Per the cast scheduled listed above, he will be the opening night Albrecht. !Un triumfo por los bailerinos de Cuba!

NO...I hadn't heard his name before, but if he danced in the corps there for a while he must had danced in COUNTLESS productions of Giselle. Like most of the dancers there he must know the ballet by heart...

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From the PNB Website for dancer biographies:

Karel Cruz is from Holguin, Cuba, and received his training at Cuba's Escuela Nacional de Artes. He joined Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1996 and left in 1998 to join Ballet Clasico de Camara in Venezuela
In one of the videos above on this thread, he talks about his exposure to Giselle in Cuba, and dancing as a corps member around the principals, and how special this makes it to dance Albrecht now.

I've searched for it without success, but Karel also gave an interview en espanol to the local affiliate of Univision. I saw it a few months ago. I first learned spanish in the Peruvian accent, and when Cubanos speak quickly, it is very difficult for me to follow!

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Tonight is the dress rehearsal, and tomorrow is the big opening! The local press and arts blogs have been following this premiere, and it even got a mention in Alastair Macaulay's review of ABT's "Giselle" earlier this week.

Peter Boal has published his letter for Giselle [my notes]:

Dear Friends,

We are all excited for the premiere of Giselle tomorrow night after almost a year’s worth of preparation. This is a first for PNB. There are four casts of principals and each cast bring something unique to their interpretation. I hope you are able to see at least one performance. Here are a few facts you may not know:

  • If you are feeling like you’re surrounded by critics in the audience it’s because you are. The national Dance Critics Association annual conference is taking place in Seattle during the run of Giselle [9-12 June, second weekend]. The theme of this year’s conference is reconstruction through notation. There are 40-some critics attending. Gulp.
  • In the Henri Justamant notation that we are using, 45 people enter as part of the hunting party, complete with 6 falconers and 8 horn blowers. PNB’s hunting party of 11 is a little bit smaller. We do have two dead birds, though.
  • Throughout Giselle, white flowers feature prominently, with daisies in Act I and myrtle, verbena, lilies and roses in Act II. Myrtle, seen on the dresses of the wilis, is traditionally part of wedding bouquets and also common in funerals. Kate Middleton carried myrtle in her bouquet during the royal wedding.
  • Batkhurel Bold’s father was a noted Hilarion in his dancing days in Mongolia. [bold dances the role for the opening and closing performances, in addition to Albrecht on Thurs, 9 June and Sat. mat. 11 June]
  • [PNB Executive Director] D. David Brown is a former Albrecht. (There are pictures.) He performed the role opposite his wife [former Boston Ballet ballerina] Elaine Bauer, who has been instrumental in coaching our current Giselles and Albrechts.
  • Otto Neubert plays the Prince of Courland. He’s about 6’2” and the entrance to Giselle’s house is not, which is why Otto smashed his head on the doorframe in rehearsal. He actually went right down to the floor, but I suspect it was the embarrassment that hurt the most.

We’re not just working on Giselle these days, with an incredible Encore performance happening on Sunday June 12th, and School Performance on the 18th, with Next Step that evening. The Encore is really not to be missed. The evening promises to be an emotional, joyous tribute to eight of our dancers. We are so grateful for what each of them has brought to PNB and letting them know how appreciative we are is what the evening is all about. See you there!

For people attending first weekend, there will be plenty of critics there, too :)

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Saw three casts this weekend, and am just gobsmacked with this production. The historical material that has been recovered and restored shifts the tone of the work in several ways -- more varied characterizations, fuller sense of community, more humor (something I never thought I'd say about Giselle!) -- but the fundamental aspects of the work are still there, and looking very beautiful. I'll be more articulate later (I hope!) but right now ... 'wow!'

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