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Subject: "Giselle" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1966
Reading Topic #1966
jAYNE

07-08-01, 00:24 AM (GMT)
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"Giselle"
 
   Your opinions please on the performance this evening of Miss Guillem's Giselle, I found it absolutly awful, act one dreary, the costumes drab and the scenery well
the dancing mediocre, choreography a mismash, were did it all take place? and what period, nothing seemed to make sense, as the costumes seemed to be from several differant periods.
Miss Guillem, did much less dancing, than the traditional Giselle's, the same must be said foe Albrecht, what line Murru has was hidden under baggy creased trousers, and he wore the same costume in both acts, so even in the wilis act he never really got the chance to show off his dancing, a great pity.
The idea of the wedding dresses worked quite well, and the scenery for act two was much improved, but even here the wilis lacked lustre, and I have seen Sylvie dance so much better in the Royal ballet's Giselle.
For me a most disapointing evening, I guess the Guillem fans who adore her will not agree, but she really was not at her best, I do think she should stick with dancing, or choreograph something new and oringinal, my advise please leave the classics alone.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Giselle Pete 07-08-01 1
     RE: Giselle Karen 07-08-01 2
         RE: Giselle Bruce Madmin 07-08-01 3
             RE: Giselle jAYNE 07-08-01 4
                 RE: Giselle Bruce Madmin 07-08-01 5
                     RE: Giselle sylvia 07-08-01 6
                         RE: Giselle pantoose 07-08-01 7
                             RE: Giselle eugene merrett 07-08-01 8
                             RE: Giselle lara 07-08-01 9
                             RE: Giselle sylvia 07-08-01 10
                             RE: Giselle Bruce Madmin 07-08-01 11
                             RE: Giselle victoria 08-08-01 12
  RE: Giselle Anne M. 11-08-01 14
  RE: Giselle Jane S 11-08-01 15
     RE: Giselle Bruce Madmin 11-08-01 16
         RE: Giselle Anneliese 12-08-01 17
             RE: Giselle Jonny 12-08-01 18

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Pete

07-08-01, 01:54 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 07-08-01 AT 02:40 AM (GMT)

I purposefully ignored all previous critiques about this production..

Act one was dreary, the innovative set, principally the revolving facade, was emphasised to the point of tedium, and the dancing seemed restricted because of its imposing presence. The lighting was drab and the whole thing looked more like 'Little House on The Prairie -The Ballet'

Act two was a revelation however -I loved it!

The diversity of costumes seemed to add an individual identity to each of the Wilis, rather than the 'extra' status afforded to them in the Petipa. The choreography was engaging whilst retaining a romantic acknowledgement to the 'original' version. The new formations were exciting and the whispering/conspiring between the Wilis made the whole scene more convincing. Brilliant!

A very small criticism would be towards the elevating tombstones at the start of the act which seemed cheap & cliched and didn't really work.

Though it will never happen, it would be great if Petipa's Act I and Guillem's Act II could be spliced!


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Karen

07-08-01, 05:05 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #1
 
   First of all, Petipa had nothing to do with the choreography of Giselle. It was choreographed by Coralli and Perrot (Carlotta Grisi's personal choreographer).

I saw this production a couple of weeks ago in New York. I enjoyed it - once I accepted that what I was seeing was not really Giselle at all, but an adaptaion. I began to wonder why Sylvie kept ANY of the original at all. Why not just do something completely different a la Matthew Bourne? I note that the choreography that remained was mostly the male variations and a little of the choreography for the wilis in Act II plus the mime. Now the mime is one of the things I would have expected Sylvie to axe, but no! I think I would have felt better about the whole thing if it had been partially renamed: something like "A Sicilian Giselle", so that little girls in Milan don't get the idea that they are seeing the REAL/classical Giselle.

As for the costumes: I, too, was confused by the period. The peasants all appear to be late 19th/early 20th c. except the peasant pdd girl, who looked like something out of the late 1950s. The nobles looked to be stuck in the early 19th c. except for Bathilde's hostess pant/tunic set, which reminded me of something "Auntie Mame" might wear. I longed for an ultra-long cigarette holder. And then there are those 1950s brides in Act II (I spent too much time looking at the costumes) - and WHERE did those 2 Indian brides come from? Were they jilted ambassador's daughters? Somehow they didn't belong in a European forest burial ground.

I could also have done without the flying rocks. I didn't take them to be tombstones per se. They cast unwelcome shadows on the dancers. And then there was that neon circle - half of which didn't work properly most of the time the night I saw the ballet. I thought it was unnecessary: kind of screaming: "Don't you get it? The circle is an important image."

I was upset at the simplification of the choreography for Giselle. If it had been done like this by anyone OTHER than Sylvie, I would have suspected that the dancer could no longer perform the original.


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Bruce Madmin

07-08-01, 07:36 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #2
 
   >First of all, Petipa had nothing
>to do with the choreography
>of Giselle. It was
>choreographed by Coralli and Perrot
>(Carlotta Grisi's personal choreographer).

I think though that many productions credit Petipa, along with Coralli and Perot - he obviously got to it!

As to the production I just love it's naturalism. I see it as very faithful to what Giselle is about as a story but made more real and meaningful.

I didn't see act 1 as dull or dreary. I thought the costumes wonderfully in keeping with their ere and the (act 1) set worked well. Goodness knows what folks would have made of the original Ramos designs which moved much more even. But I'll keep my powder dry until later in the week!


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jAYNE

07-08-01, 08:54 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #3
 
   Enlighten me please Bruce, what era was it meant to be?
I am sure the only reason anyone would enjoy it is because it was Sylvie, be interesting to see the reaction to another cast.


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Bruce Madmin

07-08-01, 09:18 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #4
 
   >Enlighten me please Bruce, what era
>was it meant to be?

First time I've seen these designs but I was struck by the costumes which had a pretty similar feel to the Ramos ones. In fact the whole feel (in act 1) is the same, which I guess should not be a surprise because that's what Guillem conceived and what the designers are responding to. I see the era as southern Spain in the early years of the 20th century - but these later designs, as has been noted, are a little more playful on time. I think I'd prefer it to be all of an ere - but its not big deal - and I don't have a problem with the general shift of time and location. For me Giselle is about love, betrayal etc rather than German Liebfraumilch! (er.. a joke rather then bitchy comment!)

Back in 1999 I was lucky enough to get to Helsinki and interview Guillem about her Giselle - it full of insights into what she was trying to achieve. Also a link to a review of the original production:
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_99/apr99/interview_sylvie_guillem.htm
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_99/apr99/bm_rev_fnb_0299.htm


>I am sure the only reason
>anyone would enjoy it is
>because it was Sylvie, be
>interesting to see the reaction
>to another cast.

I don't agree with that. I think Guillem has created a great work for FOB and LSM. That it was her first full length production is amazing and points to marvelous things for the future.



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sylvia

07-08-01, 11:11 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #5
 
   Typing this all out before I let myself read other comments...

I enjoyed Giselle somewhat, though I sure am glad I didn't fork out 60 quid for a seat as I had originally planned.

Sylvie
I thought her dancing was really lovely, and this production - the costumes especially, suit her far better than the more traditonal one would. I didn't think she was particularly engaging as an actress though - certainly nothing like 'Month' last week. Her Giselle in Act II didn't deviate from Act I. I can understand why so many felt underwhlemed.


Murru
Even more underwhelming. I love this guy, but the dull white shirt and black trousers didn't help - I could barely see his legs.


Choreography
I think new choreography of old productions is always facinating, and I'm lucky in that I'm not yet attached to the traditional version so I was able to enjoy many parts of it, like the pdd instead of the pas de six. Sylvie put together some nice solos for herself and Myrtha, but the pdd between her and Murru wasn't especially enagaging.
Still, I was relieved that she left the bare bones of Act II in place like the hops in arabesque.


Production
I really disliked the costumes for the corps - all browns and blacks. They melded into the background, especially during the bar(?) scene, and weren't at all fun to watch. The brown 'socks and shoes' on the girls didn't bother me too much, and actually made it easier to see their feet on the tan-coloured floor. At least they looked authentic, though they did break the line of the leg. And it was quite a sight to see Sylvie's bare leg come flying out through the slit in her blue dress.

I wasn't fond of the moving wall either, though I can appreciate Sylvie trying to do something different. It looked very bizarre against the blue sky background, and I thought it unnecessary. Why not build a city and just leave everything outside?

The levitating rocks were quite a sight, but didn't bother me. The wedding dresses were very beautiful, especially Sylvie's, but they didn't come across as spirits at all. Just a few girls in their wedding gowns, which made the ghost-like choreography unconvincing.

All in all, it was Sylvie that held it all together, and the beautiful music that moved it along. I didn't feel particularly uplifted and I would have appreciated a bit more colour. But it was a very pleasant way to spend the evening and I'm not sorry I went.


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pantoose

07-08-01, 02:26 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #6
 
   Well, what can one say? Sylvie added story line and tasking to give it a more theatrical character. It's not without merit or effect, just that the dance elements were minimized and that's certainly not what one expects when attending a ballet.

As a theater piece, I thought it was quite accomplished. The only part of the production that absolutely did not work was the revolving set in act one. The foreshortened stage was impossible for the dancers and irritating to the audiance.

I thought act two was a knockout, although the other-worldly spell was broken when the Willies have a brief "confab". They might have sell sung out, "What Do You Do with a Problem Like Giselle?" Great costumes on the ladies, by the way.


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eugene merrett

07-08-01, 02:45 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #7
 
   regarding the choreography of Giselle - According to Peter Wright in a talk he gave before a performance of Giselle at the Hammersmith - the choreography of modern Giselle is primarily Petipa - the original choreography has been lost or updated.


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lara

07-08-01, 04:16 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #8
 
   I have to agree with Jayne on this one. Her comments are right on. Even now, a month or so after seeing the production in Southern California, I still have unpleasant memories of the event.

I wonder if folks would be so accepting of this production if it had been done by anyone other than Sylvie.

In one of her interviews she makes disparaging remarks about Bourne's Swan Lake but then pats herself on the back for redoing Giselle.

I know I am probably in the minority here, but her arrogance and condescending attitude toward anything other than her point of view is really unacceptable... whether it be in her Giselle or in her interpretations of other choreograher's work.

I don't think I am ready for The Ballet According to Sylvie.


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sylvia

07-08-01, 05:22 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #9
 
   I have to admit, I was a bit mystified by the repeated and standing ovations Giselle received. My opinion, but I didn't think the production, the choreography, or Sylvie herself merited such a response. I can think of many other ballets and dancers I've seen over the last couple weeks that deserved so much more. It does make me wonder how biased London is to Sylvie Guillem, just because she's Sylvie Guillem.

Adding on a bit to my inital thoughts - making the Wilis into women who love to dance so much that they dance men to death doesn't have the same resonance as the motive for vengeance. I thought Act II wasn't nearly as dramatic as the tradional version and so wasn't nearly as tragic.


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Bruce Madmin

07-08-01, 07:05 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #10
 
   >It
>does make me wonder how
>biased London is to Sylvie
>Guillem, just because she's Sylvie
>Guillem.

I don't think so many peeple are biased as such - they just like what she does. And she does pick up on our dramatic traditions (as I think Lynette points out) - its why she is with RB.

Giselle has always been a story of two very differnt acts and I think she has taken that to a more logical conclusion with an even more naturalistic first act than ever. I love the story telling aspect of the classics and what she has done is enhance that. If dance is the be all and end all, then its not the ballet for you thats for sure.


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victoria

08-08-01, 01:46 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #8
 
   The biggest part of the ballet is from Perrot and Coralli,the famous solo of Giselle in act 1,with the diagonale of hoops on the pointe is by Petipa.


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Anne M.

11-08-01, 12:33 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #0
 
   Jayne - I couldn't agree more. I left before the end. Thank goodness I'm not alone!


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Jane S

11-08-01, 03:21 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #0
 
   Has anyone seen the second cast? How well did it work without Guillem?


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Bruce Madmin

11-08-01, 04:44 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #15
 
   >Has anyone seen the second cast?
>How well did it work
>without Guillem?

Just fine I thought, but then I think of it as a terrific production and not a star vehicle...


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Anneliese

12-08-01, 05:21 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #16
 
   Sylvie's Giselle - my thoughts.

I have to say that I DID read the reviews beforehand, but deliberately didn't read the programme notes until afterwards.

To start at the beginning: the orchestra impressed me right from the start. A good reading of the score throughout, played with conviction (and great speed in the last act! Albrecht's grand allegro variation was stormed through faster than I've ever heard it - and all credit to Massimo Murru for being able to jump that fast!) and accuracy (the horn calls in act 1 were particularly impressive). I loved the on-stage band and the peasant pdd (I noticed that that bit was not in the usual score without having to read the programme notes, so feel very proud of myself as I haven't seen the conventional reading since 1995!). A superb performance by David Garforth and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, and the rest of the house agreed with me - the most vociferous applause for a ballet conductor that I have ever heard.

When the curtain rose, I was a bit baffled by the stage, which seemed to contain a prefab which, as it was very big and on a revolve, cut the available dancing space in half. This seemed a bit silly to me! I got very irritated in the first 10 minutes or so by the constant revolving of this damn thing, which didn't seem to represent anything much whichever way round it was! I'd have cheerfully pushed it over given half a chance. I felt during this time that there was rather too much mooching around by nondescript characters and not enough dancing, but this was really the only time in the production when I felt things really lagged.

Once "Loys" and Hilarion had established their presence, things started to warm up a bit. I rather liked the costumes (although the little brown socks did look pretty silly…) and the naturalism really worked for me. I did miss some of the "flashy dancing" but I LOVED the way that Sylvie weaved in and out of the dancers with complete plausibility - the "harvest" scene in particular was wonderful. The peasant pas de deux was beautiful, and stunningly danced - my friend Sarah never applauds until the curtain drops, but even she broke her rule for that one! If I were to quibble at all with the first act, it would be because somehow Sylvie both over- and under- did things to a certain degree. She was so keen to establish nuance of character and interact with everyone on stage that she rather came across as everyone's solicitous older sister at times; conversely, her dancing was so "natural" as to seem a little casual. The mad scene and death was fine, but to me no better than danced in more conventional readings by (eg) Durante. But all in all, when the curtain came down at the end of the first act I had been pleasantly surprised and was thoroughly convinced by the production. I felt that what had been lost in dazzling technique had been compensated for by believability. I was very taken by Bathilde's Conran-esque costume, too!

In Act 2, I was pleased to see that the whole stage was to be used! The rocks on the ground were very annoying at first - I kept waiting for Myrtha & her two attendants to trip over them - and the shadows they cast after they rose up were rather distracting, but I managed to ignore them most of the time. I was VERY impressed by the corps - lovely uniformity of line throughout, they all had beautiful feet and a coherence of style. The backwards hops in arabesque were fabulously done! I very much enjoyed the choreography, with the wilis in trios, as well. The formations had been carefully thought out and the effect was fabulous. My only real complaint about the female dancers in this act was that Sylvie seemed a bit too "real", not other-worldly enough. I think she was still taking the naturalism a bit too far - there wasn't that extra dimension to her portrayal. The wilis showed a similarly earthbound approach in their reaction to Hilarion's death (which, I must admit, made me giggle) - they seemed to be saying "Eh? What's up with him? I dunno, lads today, no stamina". I was a little disappointed with Murru's Albrecht in the early stages of Act 2; his vague mooning about Giselle's grave was just that, really, and I couldn't help but think that had it been Irek on stage we'd have felt, lived and breathed his devastation with him. However, he didn't do any worse than countless Siegfrieds have done in countless Swan Lakes… Two special effects that left us wondering were the sudden first appearance of Sylvie (how DID she do that?) and the sudden return of the veils at the end of the act (ditto!)

Overall, though, I enjoyed the production and the performances very much indeed; this version of Giselle deserves to be seen again (and so does the gorgeous Massimo Murru - let's hope he gets the chance to guest over here again!)


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Jonny

12-08-01, 07:43 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #17
 
   I saw the Saturday matinee and left the performance feeling a little empty! Although a new production I felt all the main characters had been alterd too drastically in their characterizations. Giselle by Gilda Gelati played a mature young woman, more confident than the traditional coy country girl were used to seeing. Riccardo Massimi our Albrechet wasn't so playful with Giselle seeing as she wasn't so shy or playing hard to get. For me this meant that feeling of desperation of love or passion wasn't in the air. Hilarion looked younger than Giselle and Albrecht therefore depicting a young naive boy rather than mam. For me the Music depicts someone butch and aggresive as in the traditional. When Hilarion uncovers Albrecht's true identity Hilarion showed no desperation, it was almost by accident and Giselle's reaction was also less despirate leaving her with a patchy and rushed mad scene.Other small details like the flower petal counting were also rushed. The second act revealed some rather tanned gorgeous Wilis and Myrtha. The stylish dresses individual hairstyles and glowing cheeks made me feel as if I was at a ballgown fashion show or Debutante ball. However what comnfused me most was that I found Myrtha smiling most of the time and found it rather distracting. She was no longer Auhtoritive, just pretty. I did love the dance that afternoon but was uninspired by any artistry. I say wow to the very contempary and cutting edge designs. I may have been a little happier had I not seen Tamara or Alina earlier this year.


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