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Giselle from Hell


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#1 Giannina

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 10:47 AM

I'm getting the willies reading all this!

Giannina

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 08:19 AM

Anybody remember "Giselle's Revenge" by Myra Kinch in the 1960s? Posted Image

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 11:03 PM

Hmmm! Giselle meets The Defenestration of Prague meets 1984. It has possibilities! wink.gif

#4 Alexandra

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 12:53 PM

I hope you all are proud of yourselves. You have just defined the next decade Posted Image

I always liked the Trocks version -- throwing Hilarion (who they call "Hans") in the orchestra pit and batting him over the heat with their little silver shovels. And at the part where Albrecht begs for his life, and usually Giselle echoes it, in the Trocks version, she turns to him and shrugs her shoulders -- then dances happily off, glad to be free of her shroud.

I had thought of a lesbian version as well -- I really think it's the only angle no one has thought of yet, and I shudder to think of the next 20 years being lesbian rethinks of the classics. I hadn't thought of Bathilde and Giselle as being the leading couple, though, but, like Drew, Myrtha and Giselle. Perhaps we could blend the two. Bathilde turns out to be a ghostly manifestation of Myrtha, who's done this simply to get Giselle, kill her, and have her for all eternity. Of course that would leave Albrecht free to run off with Wilfrid. Fair is fair.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 05:41 PM

Originally posted by CygneDanois:
Wow.  I can't believe that trashiness came out of my own head.  I'll have to appoint a " Balletic Integrity Police" for myself if I'm ever an AD  Posted Image.  



I could organize a volunteer brigade should the occasion arise, CyD Posted Image

Actually, yours is the most stageworthy. I'm not happy writing that, but truth is truth. You could get that version produced next spring.

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 03:31 PM

Albrechts who cross-dress, and the wronged peasant girls who love them -- next Sally Posted Image

Or should someone just go ahead and make a Giselle (new score, please) from Bathilde's point of view??? One of Peter Anastos's great little ballets was the evergreen tale of a society maiden kidnapped by gypsies and brought back to camp -- and the Queen of the Gypsies was not one little bit pleased about it, let me tell you.

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 08:42 PM

Thanks for posting that -- it's one old production I have no desire to see. Is that the one where the Wilis dresses were made out of cellophane?

#8 Alexandra

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Posted 25 February 2002 - 01:24 PM

Thank you for posting that. I especially liked "It's as if he'd dissevered everything above the cerebellum and left us only reptilian-stem behavior."

This production could certainly spawn several "Giselles" from hell smile.gif

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 26 February 2002 - 10:29 AM

I agree, mussel -- very brilliant. And, unfortunately, very stageable! Watch for it soon.

Henrik, we're not suggesting that any of these productions are a good idea. We've had a lot of past discussions about bad productions that rework the classics, some of them along these lines, and this thread is devoted to thinking up some of the worst possible things that might happen to "Giselle." I don't think any of us WANT them to happen smile.gif

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 09:41 AM

While some of these scenarios are excellent -- I'm particularly partial to Mussel's Wall Street Willies and Manhattnik's dance school angle -- let's think outside the box here. This is the 21st century. Tampering with libretti is so yesterday. It's about the steps.

Let's face it. What "Giselle" needs is more dancing for male soloists. Who cares if the corps is male? Let the girls do the dirty work. We need men who turn, leap, turn, leap and turn, leap, and turn.

With that in mind, I've made just a change or two to "Giselle" -- nothing to upset the purists -- that will bring "Giselle" smack up to date. Hilarion will have four more solos, Courland, Wilfrid and Bert (Giselle's Dad) will be dancing roles. Because today's dancers do not want to be hidebound by set choreography, they may choose their own solos -- we suggest something from "Spartacus," perhaps, or "The Golden Age". While each solo MUST contain either 32 grands pirouettes a la seconde OR thrice round the stage with jetes en tournant, the rest of the variation -- the filler, if you will -- is up to the discretion of the danseur.

These dances will replace all of the mime scenes. There's lots of room. Only a few bars of Drigo will need to be interpolated. Wilfrid and Albrecht can do a pas de deux at the beginning of the ballet where they usually chat about clothes and swords. The pas de deux will demonstrate the difference in status between the two men, as well as Albrecht's wanderlust and yearning for adventure. Courland's solo can fit nicely into the space where Bathilde and Giselle have that silly conversation about clothes and jewels and how she just loves to sew. (Have you never noticed how much superficial chatter there is in this ballet?) It will show his dominance, his masculinity, and be a social commentary on the times. A clever Hilarion will be able to insinuate himself in just about any scene. A leap here, a turn there -- remember, a true danseur never walks -- he'll be all over the place in no time. Albrecht, to show his restlessness, his wanderlust and, if I haven't mentioned it, his yearning for adventure, will, from time to time, circle the stage in a series of brises. While Bert, of course, will do a fierce and anguished solo to demonstrate what will happen to Giselle if she persists on dancing on the Sabbath, cutting grape picking, and lusting after handsome strangers.

The peasant pas de deux will be replaced by the Dance of the Twelve Swains, each, armed with (and eventually stomping on) bunches of grapes, outdoing the other trying to convince Giselle that THEY should crown her as queen of the harvest.

The biggest change will be in the mad scene. We've had enough of Giselle by now, and Albrecht needs some more stage time. I think this should be Albrecht's scene. Giselle, tired from so much dancing, will fall asleep, and have "Giselle's Dream." Maybe we could put in the mirror pas de deux from Onegin, where Giselle imagines what it would be like if Albrecht really loved her, but Bathilde persists in walking through the dream, like the White Lady in Raymonda. Albrecht would, of course, have to show why he was worthy of such love. 64 pirouettes a la seconde, I think, 32 in each direction, then a few stag leaps ending with the dismount from Spartacus (Act I) to the knee. THAT should finish Giselle off. She dies in her sleep.

In the second act, I'd flesh out the underchoreographed dance of the gamblers. They stagger around the stage trying to both chase and evade the firefly Wilis who flit by occasionally. After that, to preserve choreographic integrity, I'd simply suggest adding a few repeats. First Hilarion, then Albrecht, would dance Giselle's solos (after Giselle, of course. We mustn't forget her!) It is crucial to preserve class differences here in the interests of versimilitude: Hilarion gets the barrel turns and scissors kicks, Albrecht is restricted to jetes en tournant and may NOT, no matter what the provocation, kick himself in the back of the head during jumps.

Hilarion's death scene needs to be much longer. At least two solos, maybe three. Perhaps the tavern solo Baryshnikov put in Don Q -- he could grab the branches from Myrthe as props. Or the pistols from Corsaire (or is that the same solo?) Yes, the pistols, definitely. He'd consider suicide, but then think better of it and do grand pirouettes a la seconde until he dies.

The original ending would have to be restored, of course. Bathilde and Wilfrid would come in, and Wilfrid and Albrecht could have one final Joyful and Triumphant Dance of Reunion. Starting from opposite corners of the stage, they could circle it six times with turning jumps interspersed with quadruple pirouettes before meeting in the middle and, face to face, perform grands pirouettes a la seconde in tandem WITH a progressively deeper back bend. (that's to show remorse)

There. That was easy.

[ March 10, 2002, 10:09 AM: Message edited by: alexandra ]

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 11:09 AM

Nice touches, Manhattnik. (I can't really put my finger on my inspiration for this. If I were allowed to mime, I might borrow Albrecht's touching of the forehead and gentle shake of the head -- "I had a notion" -- but mime has been outlawed, so I'll just have to give a virtual shrug.)

I can just hear Myrthe clearing her throat over there in the corner, and looking, with mute, mimeless pleading eyes, and I just know it's because she wants to do Spring Waters. If Hilarion had to catch all of the Wilis in Spring Waters flying leaps, that would finish him off. Then Albrecht could circle the stage several times with Giselle held in the, er, V lift. I think we're onto something here.

Filching the Scherzo from Midsummer is brilliant. It's simply not fair to put Grigorovich and Cranko into these old ballets and leave Balanchine behind. Why, he'll become choreographically irrelevant to the younger generation!!! We could return the compliment by adding some of those nice running lifts from Spartacus to the finale of "The Four Temperaments." Audiences just won't want to see those old ballets -- you know, "Serenade," "Four Ts," "Concerto Barocco" -- after they've gotten a taste for these new ones.

#12 Alexandra

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 02:01 PM

Oh, Nanatchka. I'm surprised at you. Le Grand Ballet Sublime would never allow jesters in "Giselle." That would be so distasteful.

#13 Alexandra

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 12:00 AM

Manhattnik, another good one. BUT, I must protest the addition of additional details. John Neumeieresque revisionists may need that, but with the right ballerina, Marilyn-Giselle could get everything across just by the way she plucks that daisy smile.gif Happy birthday, dear Bertie.....

(I should warn you all that I'm going to print some of these in the next Ballet Alert! biggrin.gif )

#14 Alexandra

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Posted 17 March 2002 - 12:38 AM

Ah, leibling. The land of cheese -- and Clara will be the little girl in the cheese commercial (the one who leaves Santa cheese and gets what looks to be the entire FAO Schwartz store in return).

The Land of Cheese could be a serviceable idea for a new Nutcracker Act II (sponsored by the Dairy Council and Velveeta). The divert dancers could be costumed as the appropriate cheese. Hmmm. What's an Arabian cheese? Or a Spanish one? (I'm sure there are some; I just don't know the names.) But roquefort or bleu have to be in there somewhere -- for Juliet's sake, if nothing else.

Yes, I realize this is Off Topic, and I have sinned. Sorry smile.gif

#15 Alexandra

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Posted 23 March 2002 - 12:37 PM

Thanks, Hillary. Do you know the story of Bournonville's Napoli? The first act is something like that -- with different names. It's set in Naples and opens in the market. The hero (Gennaro) is...a fisherman! (The heroine (Teresina) is unemployed, but looking for a husband.) There are two "Hilarions" (Peppo, who sells lemonade, and Giacomo, who sells macaroni). At the end of the act, Teresina and Gennaro, now engaged, go for a row in his boat and are so in love they don't notice the storm coming up, and she drowns.

You must have seen it in a dream smile.gif

(She's restored to life through the power of faith and they have a great wedding!)

Thanks for posting your version smile.gif


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