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Cojocaru/Kobborg Giselle coming soon!!


Andre Yew

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Splendid news indeed. If it's going to hit the shops in the UK on September 1, it should certainly be in North America by Christmas. The ballet will be screened at Canadian movie theatres on November 1, and I'm very much looking forward to it. If Opus Arte intends to release new ballet DVDs every month or two, it's very good news for us all. Romeo and Juliet should be next.

A question to those familiar with the production: Does this version replace the peasant pas de deux with a pas de quatre? Peter Wright's production for the National Ballet of Canada does and I can't stand it. :)

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Oh, why can't producers leave well enough alone? I realize that the Burgmuller pas de deux was a last-minute addition, but as it happens I think its performers make a very effective foil to Giselle and Albrecht and their doomed romance. Add two, four or eight more dancers to the mix, and this contrast is lost; it becomes just another divertissement.

[edited to add:] Though I should clarify that as long as there's a lead couple, I'm okay with other dancers acting as a mini corps. My objection to Wright's pas de quatre is that he takes choreography intended for two dancers and redistributes it among four. The original may be a double-decker pas de deux, but surely a fit male soloist can handle two variations if there's a variation for his partner in between.

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Yes I saw it. It's okay, after only one quick viewing. I noticed some differences in choreography--not always for the better. No major complaints re the dancers, except the phrasing at times bothered me. (But I tend to be more acutely observant of that in Giselle.) One of the supported hops in Act II stuttered slightly, or was it just a sticky floor? Overall: Good, but I have seen better. IMHO: a "mixed" review.

I'll write more, when I've had chance to see it more.

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Hello Everyone :clapping::bow: I have been rather busy lately, but still found time to watch my new DVD of Giselle, yes the Royal Ballet with Alina Cojocaru and Johann Kobborg. It is really great, Alina is magnificent in it, and Johann excels with his Royal Danish Ballet technique. I agree very strongly with the people who think this version is the best. No doubt something to do with Monica Masons and Sir Peter Wright's imput, as she herself made a wonderful Martha. The music and orchestra seem to be on top form, I loved the rustic coloured costumes and scenery in Act 1, moving on to the second act, I have always favoured this best myself, the music seems even better, and the choreography is out of this world. Some one I cannot fail to mention is Sandra Conley, who played Bertha, Giselle's Mother. Over the years she has gradually taken over from Gerd Larsen as the Senior Female Character Actress, and I feel her performances quite over shadow the former person by far. I knew Sandy as she was affectionately known, from when she was in the Corp de ballet of the touring company. Her husband Adrian Grater was also a very talented artist, and if by chance he ever reads this, I would like to mention, the well known mints with the hole, which he was rather addicted to !! Let me just say POLO. (Sorry slightly off topic!"!

Back to the new issue DVD This is in fact recorded in HD and with surround sound. You do not need a HD DVD player, as it will play on an ordinary player. However if you have a large screen (or ordinary) TV, if your set has surround sound free standing speekers, and is classed as HD ready, you will benefit from excellent reproduction of this ballet DVD.

Finaly going back to the cast, there was one dancer that stood out to me in the Peasant pas de cinq, she was the main soloist called Laura Morera someone to watch I think, very musical and lyrical, and a talent for the future no doubt. :thumbsup::clapping:

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I liked the dvd very much but I disagree about Peter Wright's production. I thought it was overly fussy in the first act and cramped the already small Royal Ballet stage. I also didn't like the fact that Giselle was wearing such a dowdy brown dress. I'm one of those people who likes Giselle to be kind of dolled up in the first act. Not glamorous, but definitely wearing her prettiest dress for Albrecht's sake. I thought Cojocaru was exquisite though.

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I also didn't like the fact that Giselle was wearing such a dowdy brown dress. I'm one of those people who likes Giselle to be kind of dolled up in the first act. Not glamorous, but definitely wearing her prettiest dress for Albrecht's sake.
Really? I like the fact that RB's Giselle is dressed similarly to the other female villagers. It always looks strange to me to see the company dressed in muted colors and Giselle conspicuously from a different palette. She was a peasant, and peasants saved their special clothes for special occasions. If an audience needs a brightly colored costume to tell us who the ballerina is, then we probably have the wrong person in the role.
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I'd rank the DVD in the good but not great category. Among the strengths I'd include Marianela Nuñez as Myrtha, who makes up for lack of physical stature with ferocious dancing, and Cojocaru in Act 2, though she lacks a little stamina, cutting off sequences where other ballerinas keep going for another bar or two. In the first act I think she lacks the simplicity to make a convincing peasant girl.

Among the demerits I'd list Wright's production, which I've always disliked (so I'll admit to bias); Kobborg's lack of height (which may sound like a petty criticism, but in my defense I'll say that when I took my mother to see this production at the cinema, she couldn't even look at him because his appearance reminded her of Shrek--her words, not mine!; her verdict was that she would've chosen Martin Harvey's Hilarion, no contest); and Genesia Rosato, who is simply too old to play Bathilde on television: her interaction with Albrecht came off exactly like Siegfried's scenes with his mother. The corps is not as good as the POB's, and what Wright does with the peasant pas de deux is an abomination (though I like Ricardo Cervera).

If I'm willing to give this DVD four stars out of five, it's on the strength of Cojocaru and Nuñez in Act 2. Otherwise I'd give it three stars.

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I'd rank the DVD in the good but not great category. Among the strengths I'd include Marianela Nuñez as Myrtha, who makes up for lack of physical stature with ferocious dancing, and Cojocaru in Act 2, though she lacks a little stamina, cutting off sequences where other ballerinas keep going for another bar or two. In the first act I think she lacks the simplicity to make a convincing peasant girl.

Among the demerits I'd list Wright's production, which I've always disliked (so I'll admit to bias); Kobborg's lack of height (which may sound like a petty criticism, but in my defense I'll say that when I took my mother to see this production at the cinema, she couldn't even look at him because his appearance reminded her of Shrek--her words, not mine!; her verdict was that she would've chosen Martin Harvey's Hilarion, no contest); and Genesia Rosato, who is simply too old to play Bathilde on television: her interaction with Albrecht came off exactly like Siegfried's scenes with his mother. The corps is not as good as the POB's, and what Wright does with the peasant pas de deux is an abomination (though I like Ricardo Cervera).

If I'm willing to give this DVD four stars out of five, it's on the strength of Cojocaru and Nuñez in Act 2. Otherwise I'd give it three stars.

I am glad you enjoyed the performance which I did attend. I agree with you about this Peter Wright production and although his earlier production for the Royal Ballet Touring Company was a much grander production, with huge Wolfhounds making the act 1 a dramatic spectacle, I personally prefer productions that follow what was first seen in London with the Diaghilev Ballet. I would say that Kobborg is around 5'8" or slightly taller in height and not short for a leading ballet dancer if you think of other famous dancers. I do not believe that there is a pre-requisite for Albrecht to be stunningly handsome and Kobborg is a serious actor on stage with great subtlety of expression shown in a good number of other roles. Interestingly last week I was standing no more than four feet away from him watching RB company class and was surprised how pleasant and youthful looking he is off-stage. I admire Cojocaru in almost everything she performs. This does not mean she is perfect in every thing she dances.

Nunez is shortish, but then Myrtha, like Giselle, Nikiya, Odette-Odile, Aurora, Kitri, Aspicia, Medora etc etc was never meant to be danced by anyone more than 5'2 in height. Taller dancers can never give the shape and meaning to the steps that choreographers intended or for some dancers, the impossibility to perform at the correct tempi.

For me, it is always good to have a filmed version of a ballet and although it may give a very good idea of what a performance was like, a film will always remain a long way away from the visual, aural, physical/psychological experience of a live performance when so many things contribute and pass by, but are essential the a whole experience, rather than in the detached and somewhat cold experience of watching a film when one has the opportunity to analyse in a way different to the theatrical experience.

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Though I've never actually watched this video, I was at the performance which was filmed, and I remember being rather disappointed with Cojocaru - I've seen her do better Giselles. I wondered at the time how much she was put off by the constraints of the filming - remembering where the cameras were and when to look at them etc. I do agree with Leonid about Kobborg's acting (except occasionally I think he overdoes it a bit) and at this performance particularly I thought he was very,very good during the mad scene.

As for the heights of the other characters, I think that when you're starting with a Giselle who - at her own estimate - is slightly under 5'2", a 6' Albrecht and a 5'8" Myrtha would look badly out of proportion. (Though I don't personally think of Nunez as 'shortish' - not in RB terms, anyway.)

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I would say that Kobborg is around 5'8" or slightly taller in height and not short for a leading ballet dancer if you think of other famous dancers.

Perhaps I should have been more specific and described him as short-legged rather than short, because I do find his body proportions distracting in the classics.

As for the heights of the other characters, I think that when you're starting with a Giselle who - at her own estimate - is slightly under 5'2", a 6' Albrecht and a 5'8" Myrtha would look badly out of proportion.

This is not unlike the casting on the POB's DVD, bearing in mind that Laëtitia Pujol is probably a bit taller than Cojocaru, and Marie-Agnès Gillot is a good deal taller than 5'8", and I can't say that it looked badly out of proportion. Mind you, I wouldn't want to see Pujol and Le Riche together in Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake.

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This is not unlike the casting on the POB's DVD, bearing in mind that Laëtitia Pujol is probably a bit taller than Cojocaru, and Marie-Agnès Gillot is a good deal taller than 5'8", and I can't say that it looked badly out of proportion.

It's just a matter of personal taste, I guess, like so much else.

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Though I've never actually watched this video, I was at the performance which was filmed, and I remember being rather disappointed with Cojocaru - I've seen her do better Giselles....

Back in April on his site, Mr. Kobborg mentioned that he and Ms. Cojocaru had just filmed another dvd of Giselle in Spain. He has made no further posts since then. Any news about this new Giselle?

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....... Finaly going back to the cast, there was one dancer that stood out to me in the Peasant pas de cinq, she was the main soloist called Laura Morera someone to watch I think, very musical and lyrical, and a talent for the future no doubt. :thumbsup::clapping:

She's recently been made a principal. :)

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The thing I love most about this Giselle, and I miss in almost every performance I've seen is the connection between Cojocaru and Kobborg. It makes their act 2 pas very human and warm. The thing that always gets me is when and how she makes eye contact with him, and how that's so seamlessly integrated into the choreography. By comparison, every other Giselle I've seen seems cold in comparison.

--Andre

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Well, here's a shock. The ballet will be shown on British Columbia's Knowledge Network on Wednesday, February 3 at 9:00 p.m. PT, with a repeat at 1:00 a.m. the following morning.

If this is a pledge-drive move on the part of Knowledge Network, I may actually take the bait and donate, if only to encourage them to show more ballet.

http://www.knowledgenetwork.ca/program/giselle

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