Reviews of the Bolshoi Ballet in "Giselle."
“Giselle” is a ballet about secrets and lies. The two lovers at its core know nothing about each other. Count Albrecht is full of deceptions, including the fact that he’s engaged to someone else. The peasant girl of the title suffers from a weak heart and knows that dancing could kill her. Neither confesses these truths to the other.
Yet we are supposed to believe in their bond. I rarely do, but Tuesday night, in an uncommonly intimate performance, Svetlana Zakharova and David Hallberg of the Bolshoi Ballet made one of the better arguments for it......
It’s also better to see Yuri Grigorovich’s production of the 19th-century “Giselle” (with designs by Simon Virsaladze), which is the one the Bolshoi has brought here, than the company’s alternative staging, by Vladimir Vasiliev (designs by Givenchy), which I saw in April at the troupe’s second Moscow theater, the New Stage. Although there are real faults in Mr. Grigorovich’s staging, it keeps the drama of “Giselle” seriously absorbing as the Vasiliev version does not. The old tale — which has its roots in the medieval reports of dance mania in the Rhineland — of first love, class distinction, deceit, heartbreak, madness and love beyond the grave was alive. It showed, above all, dance as a vital force.