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A Giselle of exception
on 13 February 2009
Adolphe Adam wrote the music for this Romantic libretto (Saint-Georges and T.Gautier)and choreographers Perrot and Coralli created this 2 act ballet for Carlotta Grisi,in 1841.She had been his pupil,and having become his mistress, gave him a daughter,in 1837.They were never to marry.Later on,Coralli would say that he alone had choreographed it...!
One of the most celebrated ballets ,perhaps the best known and represented one,suffered various revisions - Marius Petipa,as in the present Giselle, (he was the elder brother to Lucien Petipa who had also been the first Albrecht),Nureyev,Grigorovich,etc., but never lost its luminous aura with the ingredients so dear to Romanticism(Death,the Night ,Fate ,doomed Love and Madness (Walter Scott,Goëthe,etc).
Every ballerina's dream(as in last year poignant documentary on a "corps de ballet" dancer - Véronique Doisneau),has been the glory of several dancers such as Essler, Chauviré, Karsavina, Spessivtseva, Fracci,Ulanova,Markova...
This said,romanian Alina Cojocaru,star of the Royal Ballet,brings it a new life.There are two Giselles in this 2 act ballet:In Act 1,Giselle is an innocent,"naïf" peasant girl ,full of joy ,who tragically finds a treacherous love and dies.In Act 2 she belongs to the world of the dead,integrating the legion of the Wilis( cruel,translucent virgins ),confined to the magic of the night,under Myrtha's command - their queen.
The gracefulness of this portrayed 17 year-old and moving Giselle is completely brought out by this lovely ,highly gifted ballerina.But it is in the complexity of Act 2 choreography that Cojocaru makes all the difference:Slow movements,an extremely beautiful "developpée" (Zakharova's is slightly more impressive ,at la Scala,but totally absorved in her refined technique,expressing in the face either a smile of joy or a rictus of grief throughout the whole performance,thus forgetting to bring out Giselle's inner feelings), her arms being a vehicle of expression as important as the leggs (Russian School).
She becomes aethereal ,the perfect illusion of bearing no weight as a spirit would,on "pointes" or when lifted by Kohborg.Her splendid techique,used with intelligence makes this Giselle deserving to be remembered along with the best ones.Kohborg is a wonderful Albrecht ( his variation beautifully executed) Marianela Nuñez a haughty ,convincing Myrtha and Marin Harvey a very good Hilarion.The "corps" bears the recognised quality of The Royal Ballet,live from Covent Garden,Boris Cruzin conducting with "panache".A most brilliant event.