ord7916

Giselle?

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Giselle will be at the Marinsky when I visit in a few weeks. However, from what I've seen on youtube, it doesn't seem terribly exciting. Am I missing something?

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Are you asking about their production? What have you been looking at on YouTube?

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I mean Giselle in general. Is it worth seeing? I tend to like the fast-paced lots-of-action ballets.

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I mean Giselle in general. Is it worth seeing? I tend to like the fast-paced lots-of-action ballets.

If you have never seen Giselle before, YouTube is chock full of clips, some of the complete ballet. I don't know anybody who doesn't love Giselle.

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"Gisele" is a classic, the way "Hamlet" and "Don Giovanni" are, and is worth seeing for that alone. You don't have to love it. A lot of people who are much more interested in neoclassical ballet don't like it, and for others it's an acquired taste.

It is not, however, a fast-paced-lots-of-action ballet. Its core is from the Romantic peiod, with added classicism from Petipa when it was revived in St. Petersburg. The first act shows the final day of courtship between Giselle and Loys, who is Prince Albrecht in disguise, and how his betrayal of her unfolds, until she goes mad and dies. It's performed in the street clothing of the period in which it's performed. The second act is in the forest realm of the Wilis, the souls of women who were betrayed before marriage and died. During the night, their queen, Myrtha, leads them to take revenge on men who wander into the forest they inhabit. Giselle is fated to join them, and Albrecht is their target, but Giselle saves him. It's performed in long, Romantic tutus.

Depending on the production, there can be a lot of mime or very little. The Mariinsky production, the one filmed in 3D with Osipova (guesting) and Kondaurova doesn't do the ballet justice, in my opinion. If there are only excepts available on YouTube, they won't give a sense of the way the story ties together.

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Giselle will be at the Marinsky when I visit in a few weeks. However, from what I've seen on youtube, it doesn't seem terribly exciting. Am I missing something?

It definitely is one of the greatest ballets ever, so my answer is that you are not missing something, you are missing a lot. What date or dates do you have tickets for Mariinsky Giselle?

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If there are only excepts available on YouTube, they won't give a sense of the way the story ties together.

There are several full-length Giselles on YouTube:

LaScala with Zakharova and Bolle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcmvncebpZM

Nureyev & Seymour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ui2KPFm3t8

ABT (1969) with Fracci and Bruhn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbYlMnFgp3c

Others (ABT-1977 & Bolshoi, e.g.) are posted in short Parts that add up to the entire thing.

Of course, the visual quality on YouTube leaves a lot to be desired, but it's free...

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I wasn't clear: I meant the full-length video Mariinsky version, which I found stripped down, in terms of narrative.

On the other hand, watching a more dramatically rich version on YouTube might fill in some of the blanks.

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Thanks for the replies. I don't have tickets yet. I opted for Flame of Paris at the Mikhailovsky. However, now I see that Osipova will be doing Giselle, so I am thinking of going.

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Thanks for the replies. I don't have tickets yet. I opted for Flame of Paris at the Mikhailovsky. However, now I see that Osipova will be doing Giselle, so I am thinking of going.

Go.

Just go.

You might not love all of it, you probably won't like parts of it, especially if you're fairly new to the art form.

But this is a chance to see a truly lovely dancer in a great role -- you will think about it for the rest of your life.

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When I first started watching ballet, I also found Giselle confounding - I went to it twice in Berlin and watched it online and I just didn't get what the fuss was about. Since then, I've seen it in video on youtube and in performance many times and I now regard it as one of my favorite ballets; I would go far out of my way to see it.

What changed for me, then, was two things: one, familiarity with the ballet. It can be more fun to know a ballet well and compare the performance you're seeing to other performances you know. So, watch a bunch of the youtube clips recommended.

But the other thing that changed was my understanding of romantic ballets. I used to watch for the action, assuming that all the dance would contribute in some way to the plot. But Giselle, like many of the 19th century ballet, uses the story to set up an emotional and artistic atmosphere. Then, the dancers perform within that atmosphere, filling it in, enriching, suggesting other things. The second half of Giselle sets up these contrasts between revenge and forgiveness, between death and life, between the earthbound and flight. So I would recommend not hanging on too closely to your libretto and just enjoy watching the dance (for instance, does it matter that Giselle's love for Albrecht causes Myrtha's wand to break? I don't think so - instead, look at Myrtha's anger, Giselle's forgiveness, the softness of the dance that comes out).

One more thing, I also believe that a knowledge of the score enriches this particular ballet. There are lots of leitmotivs, little melodies associated with a character or action, that come back to comment on the performance. The most important (IMHO) in Giselle is the flower motive; it first accompanies Giselle in Act I when she counts the daisy petals to find out if Albrecht loves her (http://youtu.be/GSBomZcDEuk?t=4m32s). Then it comes back in the mad scene when she performs the same act but this time in her insane inner world (http://youtu.be/IiepFSwIMZQ?t=3m35s). It comes back again in Act II when she tries to offer Myrtha lilies to get her to forgive Albrecht (http://youtu.be/vH6_tFRdpy4?t=2m54s). Flowers show up all over the place - the ones mentioned, plus Albrecht's flowers for Giselle's grave, Myrtha's wand (decorated with flowers). I hesitate to pin down a meaning to the symbol - the point is that the flowers have lots of meanings - but I believe that unite Giselle's innocence with love and death and remorse - the main themes of the ballet.

Finally - it's Osipova! She's one of the best Giselle's out there. I would kill to get a chance to see that. Also, the Mariinsky corps should be great as the Willis. A good performance can make all the difference.

In addition to the previously mentioned clips, I would recommend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSBomZcDEuk

It's a recording from the Bolshoi's first performance in England in 1956, starring Galina Ulanova (one of the best dancer-actresses ever) and Nicolai Fadeyechev.

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Thanks for the replies. I don't have tickets yet. I opted for Flame of Paris at the Mikhailovsky. However, now I see that Osipova will be doing Giselle, so I am thinking of going.

Wow. Osipova and Vladamir Shklyrov (spelling?) in Giselle. I'm jealous. You should definitely go. I think Giselle is one of her best roles. Has Osipova danced with the Mariinsky before?

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The original orchestration for "Giselle" is beautiful: much lighter, more atmospheric, and a lot more subtle. Besides chopping, modern conductors and orchestras play it like it's supposed to be Tchaikovsky, who was 16 when Adam died. Then people complain that it's not Tchaikovsky.

Adam was no Minkus, but it's hard to tell the way "Giselle" is approached.

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...Flowers show up all over the place - the ones mentioned, plus Albrecht's flowers for Giselle's grave, Myrtha's wand (decorated with flowers). I hesitate to pin down a meaning to the symbol - the point is that the flowers have lots of meanings - but I believe that unite Giselle's innocence with love and death and remorse - the main themes of the ballet.

One of the researchers for the PNB restaging of the ballet told me that myrtle was sometimes associated with vampires -- yet another reference!

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She spoke about vampire literature becoming prominent in the early- to mid-19th century, so vampires would have been in the air.

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To borrow from Sandik - GO, JUST GO. Yes, some find Giselle "boring" (my husband, sister and mother), but you have the opportunity to see the Mariinsky Corps do one of the great classical ballets - and Osipova! Okay, yes, I'd rather see her do Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Flames of Paris - more flamboyant roles - but believe me, I'm sure she won't disappoint in Giselle - she's an incredible artist growing every day in different roles and her charisma and audience connection can't be beat.

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The corps alone and sitting in the Mariinsky Theatre is worth going to see. The theatre is gorgeous and the Vaganova training is very apparent in the corps. I think you would enjoy it.

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She spoke about vampire literature becoming prominent in the early- to mid-19th century, so vampires would have been in the air.

Giselle should be done on Halloween with the Willies painting their faces to look like zombies

the-lords-of-salem-sherri-moon-zombie-fa

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I've never seen Osipova live, so I would grab that chance, ord7916. Regarding Giselle, you probably will find Act One less than fascinating (I prefer productions that dispatch it clearly and efficiently), but Act Two is a piece of Romantic-era ballet that you should definitely see at least once even if you do conclude it's not your cup of tea. The score is very well-constructed for its purposes but not wonderful listening otherwise, but you'll be watching it with dancing (and probably some pretty spectacular dancing) and I find that helps greatly. I hope you tell us about everything you see!

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Ismene Brown just published a summary and translation of the following news to her blog: The Boshoi's Vladimir Urin announced that Natalia Osipova would be dancing with Ivan Vasiliev in "Don Q" in October, and he would begin talks with her for future performances (source: Izvetsia), as Brown noted, "just when the Royal Ballet is staging the same ballet in London amid a serious shortage of ballerinas."

It may be a rare opportunity to see Osipova with the Mariinsky in "Giselle," if the Bolshoi manages to fill up her calendar going forward.

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To the OP, GO see this grand gem of Romantic style. The music is as catching as it can gets and very easy on the ears. Although I have my reservations on how the Russians treat it,-(very much preferring the general feeling of those stagings that have derived from the turn of the century productions staged by N. Sergueev and subsequently by some of its early dancers)- I assure you... you will love it.

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Giselle will be at the Marinsky when I visit in a few weeks. However, from what I've seen on youtube, it doesn't seem terribly exciting. Am I missing something?

The most important scene in Giselle is at the end of act 1, known as the mad scene. In my over 50 years of watching ballet, I never saw real tears as Galina Mezentseva showed in this mad scene by the Mariinsky Ballet, then Kirov Ballet, in 1983..

The video on Youtube is very poor video quality, but it shows the importance of a great actress in the role of Giselle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72pEjEjk-88

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...Regarding Giselle, you probably will find Act One less than fascinating (I prefer productions that dispatch it clearly and efficiently), but Act Two is a piece of Romantic-era ballet that you should definitely see at least once even if you do conclude it's not your cup of tea. The score is very well-constructed for its purposes but not wonderful listening otherwise, but you'll be watching it with dancing (and probably some pretty spectacular dancing) and I find that helps greatly. I hope you tell us about everything you see!

I love Giselle, including Act I, but I think this is very good advice for someone who has never seen Giselle and been underwhelmed by video of it. I have to admit it's more or less what I tell anyone seeing Giselle for the first time--but whether you enjoy Act I or not, Act II is "must see" in my book, anyway at least once. Especially with corps of Mariinsky. As for Osipova? if you have the chance? I don't think you will regret seeing her Giselle. In fact, I think you will be very glad you did.

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I have always preferred Act II of Giselle over Act I. The choreography in Act II is sublime if done well. The Mad Scene depends more on acting that on dancing, and very few ballerinas are convincing in the Mad Scene.

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