Ballet in 2 Acts
Composer: Adolphe Adam Libretto: Théophile Gautier & Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges
Choreography: Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot & Marius Petipa Choreography edit: Yuri Grigorovich
Production Designer: Simon Virsaladze Musical Director and Conductor: Alexander Kopylov
Performers: Nina Ananiashvili, Victor Barykin & Ruslan Pronin
Running time: 1:53:50
"Ananiashvili, beautifully matched by Guillaume Graffin, was emotionally, technically and stylistically absolutely marvellous. She is one of the great Giselles of our time"
Clive Barnes, New York Post, May 28, 1998
This moving and picturesque work of French romantic ballet caused a sensation in 1841. With music by Adolphe Adam and choreography by Jules Perrot (the solos) and Jean Coralli (the ensemble), Giselle featured the new ethereality possible on pointe, ghostly lighting effects with gas light, and a ballerina role whose mad scene is famous for its dramatic demands.
Giselle is an innocent peasant girl who lives with her mother. The amorous Duke Albert disguises himself as a villager and swears to marry her, but when his deceit is uncovered Giselle’s heart breaks and she dies in a madness of grief.
She becomes a Wili, one of the ghosts of betrayed girls who haunt the forest. Guilt-stricken Albert seeks her grave at midnight, and these vengeful spirits command him to dance himself to death. But Giselle lovingly protects him till dawn bells strike, and she vanishes with the phantoms, leaving him with his remorse.
The Bolshoi Ballet’s version by Yuri Grigorovich, atmospherically designed by chief designer Simon Virsaladze, incorporates careful choreographic developments to keep this antique ballet fresh. Mime passages of the past were gradually replaced with more dance. This 1991 performance film, digitally restored and remastered to HD quality, stars the world-renowned Nina Ananiashvili as a delicate yet dramatic Giselle, with Victor Barykin as the faithless Albert.