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Adam - Giselle (Cojocaru, Royal Ballet, Gruzin) 
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Giselle is the quintessential Romantic ballet. Its title role, one of the most technically demanding and emotionally challenging in the classical repertory, is here danced by Alina Cojocaru, partnered by Johan Kobborg as Count Albrecht. This tale of the transcendental power of love over death is evocatively portrayed through Peter Wright's sensitive staging and John Macfarlane's designs, which beautifully contrast the human and supernatural worlds – mastered from a High Definition recording and true surround sound.
"Cojocaru's interpretation, everyone seems to agree, is one of the greatest of all time, and she continues to refine it with every performance...One of the things which makes Cojocaru so poignant in this role is a quality that one senses in the dancer herself. Something in the emotional charge of her performances, some fragility beneath the ballerina steel, emphasises the ephemeral nature of the art form. It reminds us that we must seize the day." (The Observer)
"The Royal Ballet's recent triumphs continue with this exquisite Giselle. Beguiling actress-dancer Alina Cojocaru embraces both Act I's sweet rural girl and the tragic ghost of Act II." (BBC Music Magazine ★★★★)
"There is nothing new or revolutionary about this Giselle from the Royal Opera House but it is a beautiful production, superbly danced by a young, fresh-faced cast that dedicate themselves with heart and soul to the performance. It is expertly filmed and edited. The picture is liquid and clear, with contrasting colours, capturing the moonlit forest of Act II perfectly, wonderfully enhancing the ghostly atmosphere." (Musicweb International)
"[Cojocaru and Kobborg] are a touching pair and the remaining roles [are] no less brilliant and as strongly characterized. The Royal Corps de Ballet is superb. A compelling performance, with fine supportive playing from the Covent Garden orchestra under Boris Gruzin and expert video direction throughout.
" (The Penguin Guide)
CastAlina Cojocaru (Giselle)Johan Kobborg (Count Albrecht)Marianela Nuñez (Myrtha (Queen of the Wilis))Martin Harvey (Hilarion)
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Boris GruzinChoreographer: Marius Petipa
Catalogue Number: OA0993DDate of Performance: 2006Running Time: 112 minutesSound: 2.0 PCM & 5.0 DTSAspect Ratio: 16:9 AnamorphicLabel: Opus Arte
'Cojocaru's interpretation, everyone seems to agree, is one of the greatest of all time, and she continues to refine it with every performance… One of the things which makes Cojocaru so poignant in this role is a quality that one senses in the dancer herself. Something in the emotional charge of her performances, some fragility beneath the ballerina steel, emphasises the ephemeral nature of the art form. It reminds us that we must seize the day.' --The Observer
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The filming is first rate and the orchestral pace is perfect. There is also a very useful bonus film giving comments and insights by the dancers on this interpretation. I have no hesitation about recommending this Blu-ray to any ballet lover since this is one that you would want to watch time and time again without ever being bored, since on repeated viewings I always see something new in the production.
I am rather surprised that no one really commented on the sound recording.
Giselle is a great ballet not just because of the theme and choreography, but even more so because the music is lovely. There have been a great number of ballets with fantastic dancing and choreography from 19th and 20th centuries that have not reached an iconic status just because the music is ordinary or just plain lousy. For this reason alone, it is really necessary to be careful about the sound recording and editing, especially as the music is one of the most recognizable in all ballet and most lovers of ballet would definitely expect a good sound. Here, It is BAD.
I played it on different sound systems. Mine is a Yamaha Bose combination. I tried it on three others which I consider are comparable or even better.
In all of them, the sound was totally out of balance, screeching at certain times and booming throughout. It became acceptable to us only after switching off the sub-woofer. Even then, it was totally out of balance.
I loved the dancing. I love the music... two stars deducted for bad sound editing.
All told, we have here a supreme example of how ballet should be staged and performed. No matter how brilliant a performance is it's always possible to something just a wee bit out of kilter here and there, but only most extreme of pernickityizers (is that a word?!) would want to find any fault here. I feel sure that it's safe to say that, if you are a ballet lover, you will love this. Yes, it's sad, but it's also thought provoking, uplifting and emotionally satisfying. The name 'Wilis' for the dancing spirits is interesting. It reminds one of the saying: 'It gives me the willies' meaning something is getting on our nerves., which is rather like what the Wilis are doing here to the distressed Albrecht.. I was impressed with both the picture and the sound quality of the Blu-Ray. disc. By the way, Giselle was first performed as a ballet on 28 June 1841.