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Has anyone been to see this yet? I saw the rehearsal last week and remember how much I like this production. I saw Miyako Yoshida as Giselle with Federico Bonelli as Albrecht, Alastair Marriott danced Hilarion. I was very impressed with the acting of the whole comany, and it was good to get into something a bit grittier after Cinderella. Giselle always breaks my heart, and Miyako's was no exception, she really went mad at the end of Act 1. I haven't seen much of Bonelli before but he certainly showed a great deal of depth and you could really feel his remorse. The Wilis were also superb, very very stern, with a hint of dispair. Definatly worth going to, and there are fab casts: Alina Cojocaru/ Johan Kobborg, Tamara Rojo/ Carlos Acosta,M iyako Yoshida/ Federico Bonelli, Leanne Benjamin/Jonathan Cope, Jaimie Tapper/ Jonathan Cope, Roberta Marque/ Ivan Putrov, Leanne Benjamin/Roberto Bolle.

Here are some extracts from Debra Craine's review for The Times:

"THIS is one of those solid Royal Ballet productions that can be counted upon to bring in an audience and bring out the best in the company. Peter Wright’s superior, naturalistic staging does all the right things. It tells the story of Giselle with intelligent, lucid mime and real dramatic flair. It looks terrific, thanks to John Macfarlane’s autumnal forest designs which give vibrant atmosphere to Giselle’s Rhineland home. And it has the power to make you believe in angry ghosts."

The rest of the review is here : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,685-963682,00.html

She discusses both the Alina Cojocaru/Johan Kobborg cast as well as the Tamara Rojo/Carlos Acosta cast. She also mentions Zenaida Yanowsky who plays a fearsome Queen of the Wilis, and also won the National Dance Awards for Best Female. Here's link to their site, and the other nominees: http://www.nationaldanceawards.com/dance/best_female.htm

And here is Judith Mackrell's review for The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/reviews/sto...1123245,00.html

Here's an extract:

"Cojocaru gives one of those rare, astonishing performances in which the dancer is distilled into the metaphor and music of the choreography."

"Rojo finds a radiant stillness in her character, deploying her formidably centred balances to suspend Giselle in a supernatural world."

Here is also the review from the Telegraph by Ismene Brown: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml...ixartright.html


Edited by rebekah
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I saw the Rojo/ Acosta cast on 13th jan!

I found the ballet as enchanting as the first time i was it! Rojo (admitedly not my favourite RB principle) was a stunning technically, she appeared to approach this role as much gusto as she always does, but for me (and i know rojo_fan will disagree) she wasn't quite..... i dont really know how to describe it........she just wasn't MY giselle!?! Acosta too was great, but to me it felt as though he was "Acosta playing Albrecht" in opposed to BEING Albrecht! I'm being quite picky here, so don't misunderstand it was a wonderful performance. Yanowsky gave a 'sterdy and solom' queen of the wilis and both her attendents(Morera and McMeekan) performed their solos with a truly romantic feeling!

I enjoyed act 2 above act 1, the corps were really on form and gave the stage a spooky atmosphere!

Can't wait to see Cojocaru/ Kobborg on 5th feb!! (some friends are going tonight- woe is me!)


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I also saw Rojo and Acosta on the 13th - a fine performance all round, I thought. Rojo is a more spirited Giselle than some, and less innocent, and there's a very strong attraction between her and Albrecht. In Act 2 I felt she was far from resigned to her fate, and was working out some form of acceptance for herself as well as saving Albrecht.

Acosta had obviously put a lot of work and thought into his characterisation - he was a bit over the top to start with but soon calmed down, and I'd say this was the best thing I've so far seen him do. And his dancing was wonderful, of course.

Zanowsky was their equal - at least so far as acting is concerned, I've not seen a better Myrthe, ever. Ricardo Cervera made an excellent debut in the pas de six, Martin Harvey was a natural and convincing Hilarion, and in fact the whole company looked better than I've seen them in a classic for ages - engaged, lively, and generally 'on'.

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I saw the Cojocaru/Kobburg cast on Friday. I'd never seen this ballet before but I honestly think that (in my limited experience) this is the best thing I've seen the Royal Ballet do. The corps were very together, and I loved Cojocaru in this role. The Royal are supposed to be famous for their clean, defined style, but I felt that this was the first time I'd really seen that in action. I was worried because I was so looking forward to seeing this that it might not live up to my expectations but it did, and more!

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This is very much after-the-fact but I thought I'd post anyway. Returned from London Feb. 8, and while there I saw 3 Giselle's (and 2 Balanchine mixed bills). What I most wanted to see was Cojocaru and Kobborg and I have to admit I was just the teensiest bit disappointed. It was great but...... I thought Cojocaru was a bit off in her Act I solos, but she redeemed herself in Act II and was simply beautiful. I had to laugh at my reaction to Kobborg's Albrecht. After Act I I had absolutely no sympathy for his Albrecht, and then I realized Kobborg may have given me that impression on purpose with his acting in the role! Kobborg was rather cold and aloof towards Giselle while Bolle, whom I saw paired with Benjamin, was a big flirt and so persistent that he was almost threatening. I dated a couple of guys like that! Harvey danced well in the role of Hilarion but I preferred Soares interpretation. Soares's Hilarion seemed more aware, more savvy. The first Myrtha I saw was Yanowski. Not only did she dance beautifully but her interpretation of the role was low-keyed yet still deadly. She got more venom out of a head turned slowly in denial than most Myrtha's do with all their histrionics. One of the more sublime moments in the Cojocaru/Kobborg Act II was a small lift that precedes a larger lift....this comes right after her first supported arabesque penchee (not good on terms) in which she is rotated 360 degrees; that small lift was like floating; perfect. Cojocaru's made her arms seem miles long as she outstretched them to engulf and encourage the prone Albrecht.

The final performance starred Yoshida and Cope. Yoshida has never been a favorite of mine but she certainly changed my mind that night. I actually preferred her Act I to Cojocaru's. For example, in her final solo with the double pirouette in attitude she was right on the button. Yoshida's mad scene was quiet. This is another bit of acting that I think is always overdone. I liked Yoshida's interpretation; Julie Kent has a nice one too (or did when I saw her) in which she becomes childlike.

In the States (and other places too but especially the States) the Willies' traveling arabesques always produce applause. I cannot tell you how upset I get with that applause. No applause at any of Royal's Giselle's; what a relief. However, the corps was not in unison during this interlude (I doubt this was the reason for the lack of applause!) It was as if they couldn't decide on which beat of music to do their hops. I tried to count it and it seemed that most of them were hopping somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd beat; the rest just did it when they could.

And finally: the pas de six. The woman's solo is choreographed by Ashton. I adore Ashton but I do not care for this solo. I saw 2 men in the lead couple and I preferred Cervera over Sasaki. In fact I preferred Cervera on his 2nd night rather than his first.

I agree that the production itself is wonderful.


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Ballet fans in the United States - namely, those in Southern California - should be thrilled to know that the Royal Ballet will be performing this "Giselle" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa from July 5 to 8, 2004 (just anounced by the Center and through a link in this board's links section!). The Royal will also perform Ashton's Cinderella on July 9 and 10. Casting will be anounced "at a later date."


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This ties in neatly to the threads regarding funding for the Royal Ballet in the Issues section.

The Royal Ballet will tour their productions to countries half way around the world, whilst not touring those same productions to any major city in the UK. Despite the fact that it is the tax and lottery contributions from those people throughout the UK which make such productions and international touring possible.

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Simon, the policy may have changed, but at one time the way the companies'

responsibilities were set up, the Covent Garden company was not to tour large productions. There was a touring company, and a smaller lecture demonstration group ("Ballet for Fall") each with prescribed territories.

Perhaps someone who has been following this more closely than I could tell us what the present policy is, but it's quite possible that, so that the other state-supported companies could develop, and so that English National Ballet would have a defined mission, a similar policy is still in place. But this is hardly an "elitist urban legend."

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Simon I don't believe it is rubbish unless the policy has changed as I said before. I'm only going on what I heard.

As far as I am aware the RB have not been allowed to tour large scale productions for some time due to constraints put on them by the Arts Council but they did tour with 'Dance Bites'. I don't think you can call the RB a touring company unlike ENB who spend most of their life on tour. I don't know why the RB stopped 'Dance Bites' but from memory I don't think they took it to major cities.

As Alexandra said perhaps someone more informed can tell us what the present policy is!

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