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PNB Giselle


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#16 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 01:16 AM

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

#17 bart

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 07:49 AM

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.

#18 Jayne

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 02:44 PM

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!

#19 SandyMcKean

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 05:36 PM

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.

#20 Helene

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 09:21 PM

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.

#21 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 09:55 PM

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.

#22 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 10:01 PM

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...

#23 Jayne

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 12:08 AM

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!

#24 Helene

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 03:09 PM

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 :)

#25 sandik

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 11:38 PM

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!'

#26 Helene

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 02:37 PM

OK, people -- we know you've seen it. What did you think?

#27 bart

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 03:16 PM

Looking forward to hearing how it looks and feels.

P.S. It seems quite a savvy decision to open this when the Dance Critics Association are having their annual convention in town. Let's hope for good publicity around the country AND for a willingness to reevaluate the ballet, what it once was, and what it can become again.

#28 sandik

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 03:25 PM

Looking forward to hearing how it looks and feels.

P.S. It seems quite a savvy decision to open this when the Dance Critics Association are having their annual convention in town. Let's hope for good publicity around the country AND for a willingness to reevaluate the ballet, what it once was, and what it can become again.


Actually, they invited the DCA to come -- they've hosted the annual meeting once before (in 1997, when they premiered their new designs for Midsummer) and they will indeed get many eyes on this production. But several of my colleagues, who cannot come to the conference next week, were in the house this weekend -- there will be a lot of coverage for this.

#29 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 06:43 PM

Let's hope for good publicity around the country AND for a willingness to reevaluate the ballet, what it once was, and what it can become again.

Yes...let's hope, bart... :beg:

#30 Jayne

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 11:20 PM

Just back into town, I saw it Saturday, then headed up to Canada for the rest of the weekend. Entering Canada, the border guard singled my car out for the full search and a ton of questions. I had a copy of the Giselle program in the trunk. After he asked me to pop open the trunk lid (this is pretty common coming back into the US, but not going into Canada), he found the program, and I had to sit in the driver's seat, while he slowly flipped through each page. Eventually I was allowed to continue, but it was a strange experience. It's about 15 minutes past midnight and I don't have the energy to post a full review until Monday. But I'll say that I agree that there was more humor from the villagers, a lot of time spent on pantomime (my seat mate thought far too much), and a great performance by the corps in both acts. I don't know how all Giselles handle the removal of the veils from the willis, but the audience gasped when (previously invisible) strings swept the veils up into the sky from their heads, upon a cue of music. I wasn't sure if the extra scenes would make the ballet tediously long, but it clocked in at 2:40 including the intermission, which was fine.

So does that give you a taste, nuestro amigo de Cuba?


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