This new release of 'Giselle' from La Scala uses staging and costumes that seem to be similar to the ones in the older Scala DVD with Alessandra Ferri as Giselle, following the original designs created for Diaghelev's Ballet Russes. This time Svetlana Zakharova dances Giselle, Roberto Bolle dances Albrecht and Marta Romagna is Mirta, queen of the Willis. The choreography is by Jean Coralli & Jules Perrot, restaged by Yvette Chauviré, and the sequence of scenes in Act I is rather different from Petipa's version (the pas de six has become a pas de deux, there is no harvest festival, and the Duke and Bathilde arrive much earlier).
From what I can say after just a first viewing, Svetlana is every reason why this DVD is worth the purchase; she literally floats and drifts across the stage as a spirit with heart-aching elegance, and she is so engagingly lively and innocent (while passionate at the same time) as peasant girl, that she draws you into the story from her first entrance onwards. The effect of her presence transforms the always handsome dancer Roberto Bolle from an excellent partner to also a genuine character in the story, both charming and tragic. (I saw him dance Albrecht to Darcey Bussell's Giselle in Covent Garden, but I found him more engaging here). Together they give the famous ending of Act II an atmosphere that is really heart-felt and genuinely sad.
Marta Romagna is a particularly strong and dangerous Mirta, and her solos are flawless, as is to be expected. But throughout it is always Svetlana who owns the performance with her perfect and ever-engaging elegance. For those who are more familiar with this ballet, she is the reason to purchase this version, and for those who are new to 'Giselle', this is a beautiful and moving performance that certainly does the ballet justice; excellent for a first-time viewing!