Reviews of the Royal Ballet in "Giselle."
Giselle as one of the finest flowers of the Romantic ballet, or Giselle as irresistible vehicle for a ballerina? These are implicit choices for a ballet troupe and, characteristically, the Royal Ballet has really not made up its mind in this present revival. Peter Wright’s production wears well and gains accretions and revisions, so it seems, with each return to the repertory, but remains tremendously wooded in its settings. (An axe would be welcome in the second-act forest.)
On Saturday night this dichotomy seemed more cussed than usual since Natalya Osipova was the Giselle.....
Dancing his first Albrecht at the matinée performance, Steven McRae showed exuberant technique and an intelligent sense of drama. His Albrecht is pushy, aggressively chasing Roberta Marquez’s coy Giselle; he goes stony as disaster approaches, then crumples when it hits. In the second act, he pushes naturalistic acting too far, sometimes allowing it to get in the way of his dancing. McRae’s Albrecht has both technique and feeling, but he needs to balance them better.
With such a shattering central performance, it would be easy to overlook the rest of the cast were they not on top form. Fortunately, Osipova’s presence seems to elevate the entire company. Valentino Zucchetti draws deserving applause for his finessed tours in the Pas de Six, as do the corps for their sensitive unity in Act II.