Giselle, which premiered in 1841, has stood the test of time – not only because of the otherworldly beauty of its “white” act, but because of the universal passion and drama of its storyline. First love, betrayal, jealousy, hurt and forgiveness … we’ve all been through them, and that’s what makes Giselle resonate in the chamber of our hearts.
Upping the emotional ante is the room for interpretation within the main characters. Each dancer playing Giselle, Albrecht and Hilarion will bring their particular slant to the role, which can change the flavour of the whole ballet. It’s why Balanchine compared Giselle to Hamlet, and why it’s a ballet worth seeing again and again. Let’s meet the four main characters:
She’s the village belle, newly crowned the Harvest Queen, and beloved by all for her sweet nature and ebullience. She loves to dance, but her heart is weak – it will ultimately kill her when she’s reeling from the shock of discovering her lover is not what he seems. Fragile as she is in life, in death she reveals a new strength as she protects her lover from the wilis, and achieves a tender and luminous forgiveness. (more…)