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vineri, 20 ianuarie 2012

Giselle - A Chronicle Of Forgiveness, Tragedy And Love

Giselle - A Chronicle Of Forgiveness, Tragedy And Love

by Haywood Hunter

The ballet, Giselle, is on a par with Hamlet in terms of its historical importance. Audiences go to see it time and again just for the opportunity of viewing the interpretation of the role by different ballet dancers. They comment that each time it is different and they see something new.

A unique take on the love triangle, the ballet is about a young, beautiful peasant girl who dies of a broken heart after learning that the wealthy nobleman, Albrecht, with whom she has fallen head over heels in love, is actually engaged to marry someone else. Hilarion, a gamekeeper who is in love with Giselle, is found agonizing at her grave by a band of ghosts. These are the spirits of young women who sadly died before their wedding days. They come out of their graves at night to seek out men whom they the torture to death.

The customary method of torture used by the Wilis, as the spirits were known, was to attract young men and force them to dance until they died. In the case of the gamekeeper, they chase him and then hurl him to his death in a lake. When they turn their attention to the cheating nobleman, the spirit of the peasant girl protects him from their evil magic until day breaks, when they return to their graves. Her two-timing lover is forgiven and Giselle returns to her grave to rest in peace.

First presented in Paris at Salle le Peletier in June 1841, it appeared in London at Her Majesty's Theatre in March 1842. It went on to be presented in Russia, Italy and the United States. It is now a film in 3D.

The leading role in this ballet is one of the most sought after by promising young dancers. It requires tremendous grace, a high level of technical skill and the ability to act convincingly. It was written by dramatist Theophile Gautier. It first starred Carlotta Grisi, for whom it was created by Gautier. Since then, the peasant girl has been portrayed by Alicia Markova, Svetlana Zakharova and Anna Pavlova.

Gautier was inspired by the story of the Wilis, which was written by poet and novelist Heinrich Heine. Gautier pictured it in his mind as a ballet. He worked with the composer, Adolphe Adam and choreographer, Jules Perot.

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