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Subject: "Giselle" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2581
Reading Topic #2581

22-03-02, 04:25 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Helen Click to send private message to Helen Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
   Did anyone see the Cojocaru/Kobborg Giselle last night? What was it like - as good as the reviews? Did she seem on form? Someone must have been there!

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Giselle David M 22-03-02 1
     RE: Giselle sylvia 22-03-02 2
         RE: Giselle Michael LL 23-03-02 3
             RE: Giselle EmmaL 23-03-02 4
                 RE: Giselle Bruceadmin 23-03-02 5
                 RE: Giselle Shirley 23-03-02 6
                 RE: Giselle sylvia 23-03-02 7
                     RE: Giselle Helen 24-03-02 8
                         RE: Giselle David M 24-03-02 9
                             RE: Giselle Michael LL 25-03-02 10
                 RE: Giselle alison 25-03-02 14
  RE: An emotional Giselle Viviane 25-03-02 11
     RE: An emotional Giselle Helen 25-03-02 12
         RE: An emotional Giselle Viviane 25-03-02 13
             RE: An emotional Giselle eugdog 25-03-02 15
  RE: Giselle Renee Renouf Hall 28-03-02 16
     RE: Giselle sylvia 29-03-02 17
         RE: Giselle Helen 29-03-02 18
             RE: Giselle sylvia 29-03-02 20
             RE: Giselle Viviane 30-03-02 21
                 RE: Giselle Helen 31-03-02 22
                     RE: Giselle Jane S 31-03-02 23
                     RE: Giselle Viviane 31-03-02 24
         RE: Giselle PhilipBadmin 29-03-02 19
             RE: Giselle katharine kanter 03-04-02 25
                 RE: Giselle sylvia 04-04-02 26
                     RE: Giselle Tim Powell 04-04-02 27
                         RE: Giselle sylvia 04-04-02 28
                             RE: Giselle Viviane 04-04-02 29
                         RE: Giselle alison 04-04-02 30
  Giselle - 9.4.02 alison 10-04-02 31
  RE: Giselle AnnaM 10-04-02 32
     RE: Giselle alison 10-04-02 33
         RE: Giselle alison 11-04-02 34
     RE: Giselle Pete 11-04-02 35
     RE: Giselle Pete 11-04-02 36
         RE: Giselle David M 11-04-02 37
             RE: Giselle SLH 12-04-02 38
             RE: Giselle Bruceadmin 12-04-02 39
                 RE: Giselle sylvia 22-04-02 40

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David M

22-03-02, 06:35 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #0

I would rather leave a full detailed review to the more experienced reviewers.

All i will say was that Alina was magnificent, a truly memorable performance , with Kobburg a gracious attentive partner, whose dancing was also excellant.

A great pairing for this ballet.

Take care


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22-03-02, 08:37 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #1
   I wish I had the time to write this up properly but I'll just say that Alina is everything the reviews say she is and more. She was just astonishing in Act I, so detailed and nuanced and she is a truely gifted actress. Her mad scene is so mesmerising I really can't find the worlds to describe.

And she and Johan are so well matched from their very first steps. Their partnership is really something special. The lifts were wonderful in their weightlessness.

And Johan himself, wow what a dancer! Those were just entrechat sixes right, because they looked like more! I just love how Judith Mackrell described him.

"Beneath his mild, handsome looks and heroically elegant dancing Kobborg always suggests there is unstable emotional ground, liable to erupt with hot passions and slow broiling obsessions."

I have the hardest time trying to get across to others who haven't seen him how much depth his dancing and acting has and I think that sums him up rather well!

I was also really impressed with how fantastic the corps were, not just their wonderful dancing but their menace in Act II as well. I'm in love with this production! Another perfect evening! This is what Giselle should be! My only gripe is how quiet the audience seemed to be, apart from cheering on Alina and Johan of course (and a flower shower too!) I keep thinking about what Natasha Oughtred said at one of the insight evenings about how much the dancers appreciate applause after a particularly difficult bit. I thought some dancers deserved a lot more than what they got like in the pas de six, but by now I'm used to that deathly pause before someone dares to start clapping and they probably are too. In any case I can't wait til Saturday - will there be many of us there?

Hmmm...wrote a bit more than I'd planned. Very hard to stop once I get going!

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Michael LL

23-03-02, 02:27 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #2
   It really was a magnificent performance, one of my best ever Giselles. Judith Mackrell crystallised in to perfection. The Cojocaru Kobborg partnership is the real thing. Her arabesques in Act II have to be seen to be believed - so soft and fluid. He is a born Albrecht. Yanowsky was a spectacular Myrthe.

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23-03-02, 06:54 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail EmmaL Click to send private message to EmmaL Click to add this user to your buddy list  
4. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #3
   Is this the same Alina who was reportedly going to cancel her first night and elicited a vast number of postings? I think a few apologies might be necessary.

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23-03-02, 08:48 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Bruce Click to send private message to Bruce Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
5. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #4
   I for one am pleased she did so well. Nobody of course is perfect and I guess that readers, well aware of the very high injury levels in RB, saw the Guardian story as honest and truthful reporting of a fact. What made it interesting and the more plausible is that it talked about Doctors advice. Of course the piece might well have been accurate at the time...

I've just been over to the thread that particularly covered this issue:

Perhaps I've missed something but I'm not sure anybody said anything particularly inappropriate or bad about Cojocaru on this issue - I see only regret and looking for information. I guess there is some bemoaning the fact that RB were not seen to change casting when it seemed forced and an apology may well be due there. But (afraid there is a but) many readers have known in the past that casting had to change because of an injury or whatever, and yet RB persisted in publicly maintaining original casting (on web and in box office) only to change it at the last minute. I know RB are much more alive to these issues now, but I'm sure they will understand if public perceptions, based on past experience, lag for a while RB's new commitments on casting change and accuracy.

But Alina did well and we are all united in being very proud of her I think.

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23-03-02, 09:45 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Shirley Click to send private message to Shirley Click to add this user to your buddy list  
6. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #4
   >Is this the same Alina who
>was reportedly going to cancel
>her first night and elicited
>a vast number of postings?
> I think a few
>apologies might be necessary.

Why do you think there should be an apology?

Just because Alina danced does not mean that she does not have an injury and there was a chance that she may not have performed

It seems to be common knowledge that Alina has an injury and Ismene Brown mentioned it in her article about injuries on Friday, saying how Alina was torn between following doctors advice to rest or perform - something which I also heard!

I know it is hard with all the injuries for the Box office and the web site to keep up to date but all posters wanted was up to date information. Is that too much to ask?

I'm sure if you checked the site today you would have found Marianela Nunez down to dance Queen of the Wilis but I don't believe she did as Zenaida Yanowsky replaced her due to injury. Don't believe it was last minute, it was on cast sheets, so perhaps it could and should have made it on to the web site.

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23-03-02, 10:38 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
7. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #4
   >Is this the same Alina who
>was reportedly going to cancel
>her first night and elicited
>a vast number of postings?
> I think a few
>apologies might be necessary.

In hindsight I don't think anything was done wrong here. The Guardian heard she was injured and thought she was out, and if she had been then yes I would have wanted to know about it since ROH is a bit unreliable in this respect.

As for ROH, I'm usually very critical in their failure to keep us informed right up until the last minute. The fact that they kept Por Vos Muero castings from being released right the way through made me very annoyed. But in this case it sounds like there was a lot of uncertainty over whether Alina would perform but ultimately it was her decision. On the one hand I have to travel a really long way to get to a performance - 3 hours there, 3 hours at ROH and 3 hours back eats up most of my day. Some people have to travel much further and for specific casts and if there is uncertainty they have a right to know so they can amend their plans. But it would look very bad for ROH if they couldn't give a definite answer and especially if it's for a first night. So in this case I do understand their point of view.

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24-03-02, 09:21 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Helen Click to send private message to Helen Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
8. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #7
   I am holding my breath for Wednesday - I have a ticket and a train ticket (I'm one who has to come a long way) and I am desperate to see this cast. I would certainly prefer to know in advance, if possible, if the cast has to be changed, but I'll probably go anyway.

There seems to have been genuine doubt about the first night, so I don't think anyone was really at fault. Thank you for your opinions, everybody.

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David M

24-03-02, 10:56 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #8

After seeing the two performances yesterday, ( Saturday 23rd March 2002 , matinee and evening ) Benjamin and Steifel , Rojo and Corella , go go go for this coming Wednesday's,peformance.

There is no comparison, Alina and Kobburg are the No 1 partnereship so far, they reign supreeme ,(especially Alina,her performance is to be treasured ), they are very very special together in this ballet, a partnership that should not be missed , a performance that stands out and will be remembered in your mind for a long long time , we in London are extreemly fortunate to have the opportunity to see them together in Giselle.

As a side note, the Corp are wonderfull, and Z Yanowsky reigns supreme as Myrtha .

Hope you enjoy.

Let us all know what you think of the performance

Take Care


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Michael LL

25-03-02, 01:56 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #9
   If only the BBC would film Cojocaru and Kobborg and Yanowsky........?

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25-03-02, 01:33 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail alison Click to send private message to alison Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
14. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #4
   Yes, well, if whoever was responsible for the initial report in the Guardian wants to apologise, that's fine by me. My report of what they said was made in good faith, and I seem to remember that I did ask if anyone could confirm it.

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25-03-02, 12:06 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Viviane Click to send private message to Viviane Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
11. "RE: An emotional Giselle"
In response to message #0
   LAST EDITED ON 25-03-02 AT 12:43 PM (GMT)

Giselle, RB 21th.March 2002.

With only a very little sparkle of hope to find a last minute ticket, I felt the urge to grasp the opportunity to travel one day earlier to UK, trying to see Alina's Giselle. And I did find a ticket, although my phonebill will be a lot higher than the ticketprice ! Some ROH-operators need an urgent re-schooling : as the few places left were all restricted views, I opted for the only so-called 'clear front-view' : a standing place at the balcony. I ended up on C20, auditorium left......glad I could move a bit when performance started..so I had at least a glimp of Giselle's cottage-door too !
I was so fortunate to have Tomoko who pointed out a free standing place at the orchestra stalls for the second act.

So, I travelled over seas (eh...actually under seas...) and hectic roads to discover a star....and I have still difficulties to find the right words in the middle of all the luck I had : I found THREE ! Yes, 3 ! Alina, Johann and....the corps !!!
It will surprise many among you : I'm not familiar with this Giselle production. I saw several performances of the Eugène Polyakov choreography, which I adore. I was so mesmerized by the dancing that I need a video now to find out about all the differences. At a first glance it's more the Second Act and the part of the corps that's different, apart from some details in Act I. The peasants do wear very luxurious clothes and I can't call the picture at the end of the madscene : a lifeless Giselle in the arms of her desperate mother - a detail !
In the very beginning of Act II,Polyakov let Giselle appear in front of some gambling villagemen and we see Hilarion and Albrecht bringing flowers to her grave, before the corps starts their haunting task. The line-up is more strict and controlled in a lot of parts, while this version shows a more ethereal corps (I didn't know it was possible !), ghostly fluttering in one whole whirlwind. There must be a real balletomane out there, who can correct me here or add a more worthwhile opinion....I still have a lot to learn

Yes, I know, I keep talking and talking without telling something about the dancing... never thought it was that difficult to put into words the most emotional, most ethereal, most superb Giselle-performance I EVER saw before !
And I specially mention 'performance' because I don't want to make a shortcoming mistake towards the other 'stars' I've discovered that night ! A perfect performance is build up by all pieces of gems...and what kind of a treasurechest RB has opened on the 21th ! I need to consult my list of superlatives, enthusiastic exclamations etc...
Johann Kobborg is everything a dream-Albrecht needs : he is a wonderful, strong, perfectly trained dancer...he completely indentified himself in his role...a perfect, attentive partner...He is full of passion, on which he has a superb control...reveals it sparse at the beginning...to burst out in an overwhelming flood of desire..and despair...(hmm...is this typical Danish ?). He made it so easy for his Giselle to fall head-over-heels in love with him !
And about Alina Cojocaru, one need to reinvent words for her...the utterly fragile Alina simply seems to be a reincarnation of a great ballerina out of the Romantic Era. Impossible to copy -even at this young age- adding lovely details, the fragile posing of her head, a naughty glance, a passionate gaze... She is all motion and floats over the stage in an incomparable innocence. I agree about the non-appropriate high extensions...but this is only a minor detail...we only can blame her training for this ? I heard someone talking about the professional way in which she solved some small problems she had....but I haven't noticed any problems
Here we had all the best of available ingredients...and the stars were with us that night : we were offered a sublime, sparkling partnership ! Johann and Alina, what a perfect match !
Above all, this was an emotional partnership...and when emotions became almost tactile...I found myself in tears.
I don't want to be shortsighted on this...and have to be carefull not to be caried away too much by my enthusiasm : haven't we seen a partnership that will be noted down for eternity ?

The unison of the corps was breathtaking (an appropriate word in this context !). Although I still haven't seen them enough to formulate a real balanced opinion, to be honest...up until now I simply thought they couldn't match the POB-corps....but I have already made corrections to this !
The corps was in superb form and the dynamic choreography (in comparison to the one I know) added to the ghostly appearances.
And I almost forgot to mention Myrtha ! Is there a better, authoritative and more commanding Myrtha in the RB than Yanowsky ?
This was one of those rare evenings, all pieces of the puzzle fitted perfectly into place, one crossed the line of 'performance' and took us all towards another indescribable (ethereal ?) level.
London has to redesign his constellation-map

Now, I've started to wrap this gem very carefully...to keep it forever in my heart.
But gems can make you really greedy.....and I already heard a little devil in me..." what kind of role do you want to see Alina in next ?..."
Hmm......what about "La Sylphide" ?.... Oh dear.....dream on......

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25-03-02, 12:56 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Helen Click to send private message to Helen Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
12. "RE: An emotional Giselle"
In response to message #11
   You liked it, then? (This is known as English understatement.)

Thank you for this eloquent report, Viviane. I'm even more desperate to see it now! Fingers crossed for Wednesday......

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25-03-02, 01:24 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: An emotional Giselle"
In response to message #12
   LAST EDITED ON 25-03-02 AT 01:26 PM (GMT)

>You liked it, then? (This is known as English understatement.)

Oh ! You English !!!! The more I travel to your country...the less I understand
Ofcourse, I'll keep my fingers crossed for Wednesday...have a safe journey !

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25-03-02, 01:37 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: An emotional Giselle"
In response to message #13
   The thought of Cojacaru as the Sylph in La Sylphide is enought to make me drool!!!!!!!!

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Renee Renouf Hall

28-03-02, 04:22 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #0
   It's perfectly lovely to read a series of comments like this. I
feel lucky that Kobborg chose to compete at Jackson and came out with the Prix de Jackson and a spot in our collective hearts. It was the same year, I think, that Zenaide Yanowsky wound up with the junior women's gold. So I know exactly why everyone is so enthusiastic. Unfortunately I cannot say that for your new Giselle, as I have never seen her dance.

I just hope that I can report similar ecstasy when Giselle is performed by San Francisco Ballet in early May, some performances which I may miss. But let me go on record saying the Muriel Maffre's Myrthe is something else, implacable!

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29-03-02, 03:53 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
17. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #16
   LAST EDITED ON 29-03-02 AT 04:22 AM (GMT)

I caught Yoshida and Putrov in Giselle on Wednesday night. Yoshida was really exquisite, so light and lovely on her feet throughout Act I and her smile lit up the back of the amphitheatre. Putrov failed to come across so well. I was with a lot of first-time ballet goers and during the interval, while the general consensus was that Yoshida was fantastic and very musical we felt that Putrov was too introverted, not nearly as expressive. One friend commented that she couldn't really see why Giselle would fall for his Albrecht.

Act II was as always superb. I can't say enough how good I think the corps are and how different they seem from the Shades of Bayadere. Yoshida was fantastic, so much restrained passion I thought. Putrov I think plays the sombre despairing prince much better than the joyful happy in love one (or the conniving cad, however you prefer to look at it). I would have thought he'd make a good Siegfried but I have some doubts about his partnering which was a tiny bit shaky at the start and the lifts weren't as smooth and weightless as...well Kobborg's but it's really unfair to compare the two so I'll stop right here. I read on another thread an opinion that he should be made a principal because of all the principal roles he's doing. Technically he's brilliant. His dancing towards the end of the ballet was amazing to watch. But I don't think he's ready to be a principal and think he has a long way to go in terms of expressing himself. He seems to hold something back when he dances. I don't see his personality, nor do I see the character of Albrecht. I think it's quite interesting that both Dowell and Stretton have cast him in Month in the Country and Stretton used him as an understudy in Margeurite & Armand. And it's good that he's been given so many principal role opportunities because I hope they push him to bring a little emotion into him.

Galeazzi was a little shaky at the start I thought but was wonderful as her solos progressed. I really enjoy her in this role.

The pas de six were not so good - Morera, Meissner, Davies, Raine, Cervera and Howells. Their unison was really off, their arms looked tense and they didn't look comfortable throughout.

The orchestra was pretty bad. There was a duff note right from the start that nobody missed and provoked much mirth where I was sitting. Those first-time ballet goers were mostly musicians and were stunned at the difference to the way the orchestra had played from the opera the night before. Still they adored Act II and continued to rave about it in the days after. Nice how many complete converts Giselle is churning out. I don't think the amphitheatre is ideal for Giselle. Act II looked fantastic but I was longing to see Yoshida's face in Act I. Her mad scene was very effective though.

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29-03-02, 10:32 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Helen Click to send private message to Helen Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
18. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #17
   When I was there on Wednesday it was Cojocaru and Kobborg, so I think Sylvia must have been there on Tuesday!

When I arrived at the ROH, the programme seller told me, with an air as if he expected to be attacked, that there was a "slight cast change". The word "slight" gave me hope...it turned out that Galeazzi was replacing Yanowsky as Myrtha, which put Sian Murphy in the pas de six and Gillian Revie taking over as Zulme, so it wasn't all that slight, but at least it didn't involve Giselle or Albrecht.

In some ways I wish I had come to this performance without having read all the reviews or knowing that Alina was dancing with an injury. It's very difficult to know what I'd have thought if I'd heard nothing, but my feeling is that I would have been impressed, but not completely overwhelmed. Not long ago I saw another very young Giselle, Svetlana Lunkina of the Bolshoi, and was fairly disappointed - she was a lovely dancer, but she really couldn't put the character across. Alina was much better than that, but I feel nevertheless that there is probably more depth to come, if only she is allowed to develop at her own pace, and not forced like an exotic orchid. I think she was dancing a little cautiously - there was not quite the abandon that I have seen in other parts, but her freshness and air of utter innocence (she looks almost like a child) are very touching. I can't understand the critic who said there was something invulnerable about her - to me she seemed achingly vulnerable, almost breakable. I found that I didn't need my opera glasses because it is her body, not her face, that expresses what needs to be expressed. She is the only dancer I have seen for a long time who has an expressive head, a very valuable asset. Act 1 was a beautiful performance, but naturally it has yet to mature. I don't feel it is complete yet. It is a well-known paradox that only those with more experience of life can truly express youth and its tragedies. I do think that with luck and more experience this could be a legendary Giselle.

In Act 2 she looked ravishingly beautiful - a series of exquisite pictures, though I'm not certain that they were always fully connected, possibly because of the injury - and yet if I hadn't known about that, would I have thought about it? I doubt it. She has all the qualities needed for this act.

Kobborg, on the other hand, struck me as mature and complete - I don't know how old he is, but presumably not very - and of course this makes the story work very well. His dancing was for the most part exemplary - what a joy those ronds de jambe en l'air were! A real Erik Bruhn-ish quality. Above all, I felt he was dancing to some purpose, that of being Albrecht, without which the most perfect ronds de jambe are useless. A wonderful performance. A bit soon to talk about legendary partnerships, I feel, but we can hope.

Galeazzi did very well as Myrtha (actually I've never seen a really bad Myrtha), and I enjoyed Jaimie Tapper and Cervera in the pas de six (separately, not partners). The other two men wre a bit heavy. The corps were excellent. I loved Rosato's spoiled and petulant Bathilde, but am yet again puzzled by the casting of Muriel Valtat (Berthe) in "elderly" parts. How lovely, though, to see the long mime scene, which is so often omitted. In general, I like this production, sinister and romantic in the right proportions - you do feel after it that you have really seen Giselle as it should be.

It would be very interesting to hear from anybody who was there on both this night and the first one, and whether they differed much.

Finally, I must add what a delight it was to meet Jane Simpson and Roy, and Brendan and Suzanne. Apparently I just missed Eugene. It is always so fascinating to see what these mythical internet people are really like!

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29-03-02, 12:38 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail sylvia Click to send private message to sylvia Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
20. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #18
   >When I was there on Wednesday
>it was Cojocaru and Kobborg,
>so I think Sylvia must
>have been there on Tuesday!

Yes of course you're right Helen! It's just that I went on Wednesday to see Alina and Johan on Wednesday as well so it's all a bit muddled in my head now! They were both incredible of course and Galeazzi was absolutely on top form.

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30-03-02, 08:45 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #18
Everyone of us has his own ballet-history -the background to project new ballet-experiences- and, knowing a little about yours !!!! I'm not surprised you were not completely overwhelmed !
What do you mean with 'Erik Bruhn-ish' quality ? Do you mean the dancing/schooling is comparable ? Bruhn is only a kind of legend to me !
I too love this production of Giselle very much...and I am astonished to find out this is not available on video ?!
The only sequence that -in my opinion and in comparison with the production I'm familiar with- slowed down the action in Act I, was the celebrating of Giselle as the Queen of the Vintage.
A friend told me that in this Wright-production the intrest in detail is so important that the arms of the Wilis have make-up too...with white on the bottom of their arms ?!
Has someone noticed it or is this detail omitted now ?
And -together with you, Helen- I'm waiting to hear someone who was lucky enough to see both evenings.

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31-03-02, 09:53 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Helen Click to send private message to Helen Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
22. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #21
   I was a bit reluctant to post even faintly negative comments, because I didn't want to pour cold water (another English idiom) on your enthusiasm. Believe me, I did enjoy it.

Yes, it was Kobborg's Danish training that made me connect him with Erik Bruhn - very "clean" dancing, neat beats and beautiful ronds de jambe, a step I always particularly remember from Bruhn, and then Nureyev trying to do them as well as he did. Probably Danish training changed a bit between Bruhn's day and Kobborg's, but it seemed to me that Kobborg showed strong Bournonville characteristics. (I'm sure if I've made any basic mistakes about this Alexandra or someone will quickly correct me! I know the Bournonville style is being diluted now.)

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Jane S

31-03-02, 11:20 AM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #22
   Much though I admire Cojocaru, it was Kobborg who made this a truly memorable performance for me - especially his acting at the end of the ballet. I can't believe that he's the same man I saw in Napoli in Copenhagen only a couple of years ago, when I remember thinking that he was a wonderful dancer but really needed to improve his acting if he was to fit in with the RB!

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31-03-02, 11:33 PM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #22
   Thank you Helen, for respecting my enthusiasm ! (I've started a list with English idioms )
I found Kobborg's 'leg- and footwork' amazing to say it with a non-professional word, and I'm getting totally intrigued by the Bournonville-style...what a shame it's neglected !
I'm so glad I saw him in this story-ballet, think you simply can't get a real overall 'picture' of a dancer without seeing them in different styles and ballet-types. This 'Giselle' showed him as a remarkable actor too.

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29-03-02, 10:50 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #17
   I've seen Putrov in the pas de six and can mostly concur with your comments - technically he is quietly dazzling (if that's not an oxymoron!), seemingly finding the most rigorous demands to be, well, undemanding. It was quite noticeable how much effort Watson was putting in, and how much he was puffing at the end, while Putrov looked relaxed throughout and ready for more afterwards. There is a simplicity, and technical orthodoxy, to his style that will enable him to be stretched further, and in different directions, as the roles demand in the years to come. He reminds me of a great footballer, such as Baggio, Cantona, Pele or Best, who always seemed to have so much time on the ball, as if the usual rules of haste and frenetic activity simply didn't apply to them. In that same way, Putrov simply seems to have more time in his dancing, leaps and carries than most people. And it's beautiful to watch.

However, I would entirely agree that his ability to project a character or some personality is still poor, but that is hopefully down to a tough start to a promising career at the RB and he will come out of his shell as more faith is shown in him. I, for one, am certainly following his career with great interest and enjoyment.

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katharine kanter

03-04-02, 09:46 AM (GMT)
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25. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #19
   Johann Kobborg and Thomas Lund are exceptions. They are the only Danes left on the world's stage, who still in some way represent the Bournonville school.

I am sorry to say that the school is otherwise deader than the Dodo.

The curriculum at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen is, officially, described as Anglo-Russian (?!). The consensus appears to be that were people to be taught in the Bournonville school from a young age, they would not be sufficiently "elastic", nor would the girls be able to get the leg up high enough to be "credible" in what is now called classical ballet. The emphasis in the Bournonville school is a/ épaulement b/ myriad step combinations c/ ballon d/ impeccable beats e/ strength and aplomb. This is a direct contradiction to the current fad for stretched out, loopy droopy lines.

People are given a thin veneeer of Bournonville "style" before leaving the school, but it is just a veneer. Epaulement has completely vanished.

Over the last twenty years, there has been a policy of
- pushing out the older dancers who actually know the school,
- putting up an "international" repertory, a clone in all respects to what one can see at POB or the ROH
- taking on a great number of foreign dancers, most of whom find Bournonville the absolute pits.

As a result, neither the School, nor the Company, enjoy the pre-eminence in the world it had in the 1950s and 60s. The Theatre has lost its national identity, and is no longer turning out great dancers.

Paradoxically, an extremely gifted American dancer, who studied in Denmark for ten years, has just been named artistic advisor to the Ballet: Lloyd Riggins. Let us hope that he will be able to turn round what is otherwise proving to be a debacle.

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04-04-02, 09:34 AM (GMT)
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26. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #25
   On Saturday I had a chance to see Tamara Rojo and Angel Corella in Giselle and I have to say I absolutely loved it. Tamara is so very different to Alina. She doesn't have that fragile, "not-of-this-earth" breath-taking quality that Alina has. She seems much more earthy, displaying more personality. Initially in her dancing with Albrecht she had this wonderful balance of shyness and flirtation and she was so charming to watch. I'm flummoxed by some of the reviews that have said she doesn't even try to act because clearly she does and the critics positively gushed over her in last year's Giselle.

Her partnership with Angel was better than I expected. Before the run started I thought this pairing was the most fascinating of the five or six because I've only ever seen Angel in flamboyant roles and Tamara in very dramatic ones. Plus they'd both been schooled by Victor Ullate and I didn't ever think I'd see them dance together. I was wondering how well they'd match up. Well, they both projected youth, an instant warmth and joyfulness that I loved. They were very much in tune with each other and I felt like there was an instant connection between Giselle and Albrecht, assisted by their physically similarity with their dark eyes and dark hair. I thought they had much more in the way of instant chemistry and sparks than Cojocaru and Kobborg had.

The pas de six was again disappointing. Little unison and Edward Watson was so off I thought he must be injured until I saw him dance (much better) in the evening performance. I've heard some complaints about the lack of rehearsal time.

In Act II Tamara succeeded in that look of other-worldliness, was ghostly and dreamy in her beauty. Technically the two were just awesome, both in their solos and their pas-de-deux. It wasn't quite as effortless as that of Cojocaru and Kobborg but it was very very close and not something I would have even noticed if I hadn't seen the latter last week. I'm really happy that their partnership has worked out and given the unreliable fitness of our male principals I hope we see lots more of Angel. He's said he's in discussion to guest next season (maybe Swan Lake, Manon!) so crossed fingers.

Gillian Revie stepped in for Zenaida Yanowsky (hope she's not injured) as Myrtha and was very admirable though not as crisp. Bennet Gartside danced Hilarion - again! Poor guy, does he have to die night after night after night? And again the corps were superb in both acts. Not a compliment I have the opportunity to use often with regards to the RB so I'm going to say it as much as possible while I can!

That was the matinee. I also saw Act I of Leanne Benjamin and Ethan Stiefel's Giselle before I had to run to catch a flight. Again, physically Leanne and Ethan look very suited to one another but there wasn't any connection or real chemistry in my eyes. I didn't find Leanne very moving but I have to admit she isn't a favourite of mine. Ethan on the other hand is. I was really looking forward to his Albrecht especially since he's said it's his favourite role but I was very let down. His miming, which was so beautiful and expressive in Bayadere last month looked hammy and over the top here. What works for one ballet doesn't work for another I guess. The start of their first pas de deux, where they both do those series of jetés with Albrecht trying to catch Giselle looked kind of wrong. What I adored about Cojocaru and Kobborg were how in sync they seemed to be with each other. Like with the jetés even when they were dancing apart, they seemed to be dancing together. Likewise, though to a slightly lesser extent, with Rojo and Corella. There wasn't any effort made to be in unison for Ethan and Leanne. Another point I noticed is when Albrecht does his solo - Corella I think kept his focus on Giselle, like he was dancing for her, showing off to her, demonstrating his love, while Ethan had his focus on the audience. I have no idea how important this is supposed to be. Maybe this is saying something about Giselle and Albrecht in itself. Maybe I'm reading way too much into it all. But there were so many moments throughout when I couldn't help grimacing or thinking 'yuk'. I've definitely been spoiled by Cojocaru, Kobborg, Rojo and Corella. And Miyako Yoshida too. (If she's driven out of the RB from lack of roles the way Sarah Wildor was I will NOT be happy.)

I'm rather sorry I missed Act II because it usually surpasses Act I. And even if the acting is lousy great dancing can save it as I saw with Ivan Putrov and I'd expect from Ethan and Leanne. I know I'm being really unfair in reviewing just half the ballet so I'd love to hear from anyone else. I'm very curious to hear how Jamie Tapper did as the Queen.

Oh well, that's all for now. Goodbye Ethan and Angel and come back soon! I must be in the minority who actually encourages these two to guest here as much as possible. Can't wait to see Darcey and Jonathan have a go, and Jamie Tapper especially with Putrov in a couple weeks.

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Tim Powell

04-04-02, 10:42 AM (GMT)
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27. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #26
   I am in ful agreement with the posting by Sylvia and note her adverse comment on the pas de six which has drawn several such observations in recent reviews. In truth I have rarely if ever seen an acceptable performance of this item since it was introduced certainly on the male side. For my taste a return to the pas de deux would be preferable and probably easier to cast with suitable performers.

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04-04-02, 10:58 AM (GMT)
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28. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #27
   Another note about the pas-de-six. The evening show had Ivan Putrov included. Not really sure why since he totally outclassed everyone else. It seems like there isn't really a suitable role for him in Giselle - not quite Albrecht but far too good for the pas-de-six!

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04-04-02, 11:22 AM (GMT)
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29. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #28
   Sylvia, it was -once again - great to read your thoughts.
And I have to agree about the pas-de-six -I didn't talked about it on the first night- this was the only 'blemish' on this outstanding performance.

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04-04-02, 10:22 PM (GMT)
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30. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #27
   In all fairness, Cervera and Howells were very together in last night's one. But it's not so long ago that the central couple at least tended to be danced by principals - perhaps they should go back to doing that, when the RB has a few principals to spare .

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10-04-02, 01:41 PM (GMT)
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31. "Giselle - 9.4.02"
In response to message #0
   Helen, I can't comment on the performance you asked for, but I saw last night's with the same cast. The first act took me a long time to get into, and I didn't really manage to get involved until Albrecht's confrontation with the hunting party - there is so much in Kobborg's acting that every reaction appears totally genuine. I thought Cojocaru at several places - particularly including the end of her solo before Bathilde, where she seemed to add an extra leg movement which left her finishing totally out of sync with the orchestra - was trying to be too clever with the music, and taking too many liberties with it. And yet again I've been convinced that the casting (and rehearsing?) of the peasant pas de six leaves a lot to be desired. Someone suggested returning it to a pas de deux, but I think that the addition of a major item for 2 dancers would unbalance the act, but really, something has to be done to improve things. I've seen castings mixed and matched, whether due to injury I don't know, seemingly without any concern for compatibility of styles - the "supporting" dancers need to be almost like bookends, and if your bookends don't match the whole impression is untidy, even if you have a superb selection of books in between! (I'm not particularly getting at last night's cast here - these are general comments based on all the performances I've seen).

However, the second act was an entirely different matter. I could split hairs and say that Cojocaru's extensions could do with being less extreme, and that Kobborg seemed to have developed a rather unattractive kick up of the "upper" leg on the second of his double cabrioles, but apart from that the whole thing was virtually flawless! I think the audience were stunned into silence by the calibre of some of the dancing by the principals - certainly at one point where I'd expected loads of applause there was hardly any. Yanowsky also made an excellent Myrtha, though I do think that the height difference between her and Cojocaru looked a bit odd.

What has struck me, though, throughout this run, was the changes that appear to have been made to the end of the last act, not for the better, to my mind. Instead of having a whole picture of grieving villagers, Berthe is now left alone on stage with her dead daughter, and the curtain is no longer lifted again to show the entire tableau. Also I'd been wondering, having seen mad scenes which were pretty much carbon copies of each other earlier in the run, whether there'd been a change in the way that the mad scenes were coached, although later dancers have appeared to be more individual. Certainly I noticed that Rojo's mad scene in particular seemed to have changed substantially since last year. And has the scenery for the second act changed? The cross on Giselle's grave is different, and I don't remember the wood looking like Ashdown Forest after the 1987 hurricane, with uprooted trees everywhere. Or is it perhaps that the back of the set is just a little more brightly lit so that I can see these things? None of my programmes show enough of the scenery for me to be certain.

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10-04-02, 04:37 PM (GMT)
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32. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #0
   I went to see Giselle on Wed 10 April and here are my thoughts...

Alina of course is captivating. If Sylvie is one of the most intelligent dancers out there, Alina is certainly one of the most sensitive ones.
You cannot celebrate her gracefulness, musicality and presence enough. On top of that she is one of the few Giselles out there that doesn't try hard to be cute, but brings a natural innocence to the role. I loved the moments where she and Kobborg are dancing the catch-the-kiss bit right at the beginning. Their timing was so good, it was a real game, teasing each other, moving in so much harmony. Her devastation was moving and her forgiveness like balm. In all three facets of Giselle - girlish, mad and ethereal - she casts a light on the stage. Good luck for us she chose the Royal !

Only why that endless Yanowsky gets shoved at us at every opportunity is beyond me.... Queen of the Dead, indeed. She has great powers of expression but not in classical roles. I saw her a long time ago in something modern&abstract which I hastened to forget but I noticed how she translated the movements and was completely blown away. She let her spine flow like a snake's, pawed the stage like a cat, gave every movement expression, shape and meaning to reach even the last row of the gods. She commanded the music and created phrasing where even the composer - such as he was - failed to find any. Much like Daria Clementova was a mediocre Sugar Plum Fairy but a phenomenal Sphinx! Maybe classical kitsch just isn't their thing. Or maybe it's just me.

Ach, but I sadly missed Gerd Larsen as Giselle's mother. Her mime was fantastic and unsurpassable. I would need a webcam to demonstrate the nuances she found... She shooed the village crowd away and forced them backwards by looking down between her outstretched arms running her circle. That way she marked her space without looking at the dancers. She cleared the village ground to create and to ready her own space, her own stage for her story. The peasants backed away obeying that border and were already spooked by her. This gave her authority as well as our attention. She could have claimed at that moment the earth was FLAT, and we would have listened.
Her imitation of the carefree young man wandering in the woods contained all the advice and warning a wise, experienced mother could give her daughter about the silliness of air-headed young gentlemen - and all that with a twirl of her wrist. She told the story of the young man's fatal ending with such gusto that made you want to listen as if eager for more gossip and not as if witnessing mime of a cornish ghost-story. And her concluding gesture to show the man dies had all the exclamation of : "And then he DIED! There, ts, ts, ts!!! Now CAN you believe that?!".
We certainly could!
I certainly did.

I loved Alistair Marriot as the Master of the Hunt, he was having a fantastic time in his regal outfit, that flamboyant feather in his cap and the huge pearl earring. After Albrecht's fiancee gives Giselle the necklace and general humdrum takes over the stage, in the midst of confusion and shuffling around he turns to find himself face to face with a bunch of too eager peasants trying to see what's going on - he starts, draws his mouth to a delightful and rather fed-up disgusted expression at the impertinence these folks have to come near him, leans away, and quickly waves them off, huffing and dismissing them out of his way. The miffed peasants disperse.
And later on all those willies that turn Giselle's poor wanna-be-suitor away with a "talk-to-the-hand" gesture. Some of them really gave him attitude!

I absolutely love these side stories going on, and I have seen them consistently at any major three-act ballets at the Royal. It is most delightful and very rare amongst today's European companies. I wish someone could thank the corps de ballet for their joy and effort !

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10-04-02, 06:09 PM (GMT)
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33. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #32
   I loved the moments
>where she and Kobborg are
>dancing the catch-the-kiss bit right
>at the beginning. Their timing
>was so good, it was
>a real game, teasing each
>other, moving in so much

Yes, I forgot to mention that bit.

>Only why that endless Yanowsky gets
>shoved at us at every
>opportunity is beyond me.... Queen
>of the Dead, indeed.

Oh well, I thought she was very good .

>I loved Alistair Marriot as the
>Master of the Hunt, ... >After Albrecht's fiancee gives Giselle
>the necklace and general humdrum
>takes over the stage, in
>the midst of confusion and
>shuffling around he turns to
>find himself face to face
>with a bunch of too
>eager peasants trying to see
>what's going on - he
>starts, draws his mouth to
>a delightful and rather fed-up
>disgusted expression at the impertinence
>these folks have to come
>near him, leans away, and
>quickly waves them off, huffing
>and dismissing them out of
>his way.

Wish I'd spotted that bit!

>I absolutely love these side stories
>going on, and I have
>seen them consistently at any
>major three-act ballets at the
>Royal. It is most delightful
>and very rare amongst today's
>European companies. I wish someone
>could thank the corps de
>ballet for their joy and
>effort !

That's one of the things that makes the Royal what it is, that attention to detail! I frequently find myself ignoring the main goings-on in the market place in Romeo and Juliet and getting caught up in the little individual dramas, and ditto in the brothel scene in Manon! And one of the reviewers of Don Q last autumn commented on how Gillian Revie managed to make a solid, believable character out of one of Kitri's friends, so it occurs at all levels.

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11-04-02, 01:19 PM (GMT)
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34. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #33
   >I loved the moments
>>where she and Kobborg are
>>dancing the catch-the-kiss bit right
>>at the beginning. Their timing
>>was so good, it was
>>a real game, teasing each
>>other, moving in so much
>Yes, I forgot to mention that

The other bit I forgot to mention that I found really stunning, and shows how attuned they are, was towards the end of Act II, where Albrecht supports her in a series of lifted hops across the stage at the back. With some of the other partnerships I've seen in this run, Albrecht was standing in the corner, Giselle would just come on, Albrecht would place his hands on her waist a little prosaically and they'd start. I noticed this once last season, and assume it was the same cast, but can't be sure, but in this performance, Kobborg, as an exhausted Albrecht, staggered towards the wings, timed so perfectly with the music that just as he got there Giselle suddenly appeared in his arms from nowhere and just seemed to float across the stage almost unsupported. A truly magical moment.

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11-04-02, 02:24 PM (GMT)
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35. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #32
   >Only why that endless Yanowsky gets
>shoved at us at every
>opportunity is beyond me.... Queen
>of the Dead, indeed. She
>has great powers of expression
>but not in classical roles.

I actually thought Yanowsky was excellent in the role, one of the best I've seen! Quite apart from her technique, I thought her projection was eerily foreboding, commanding and wonderfully regal - spot on IMHO.

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11-04-02, 02:24 PM (GMT)
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36. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #32
   LAST EDITED ON 11-04-02 AT 02:29 PM (GMT)

Posted twice -computer doing weird things at the momnet!

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David M

11-04-02, 10:59 PM (GMT)
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37. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #36

At tonights performance of Giselle ( Thursday 11th April 2002), Chloe Davies was featured as Myrtha.

I must admit I had not really noticed Chloe in my visits to the ROH thus it was a pleasant surprise to discover a new dancer who caught my eye.

She seemed so self assured in the role of Myrtha, and danced the role with apparent ease and confidance.

Any one fill me in on any info re Chloe.

Thank You


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12-04-02, 09:56 AM (GMT)
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38. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #37
   Glad to her this about Chloe Davies.I've admired her dancing for years.

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12-04-02, 01:29 PM (GMT)
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39. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #37
   >Any one fill me in on
>any info re Chloe.

She's long been a favourite of mine, though she has not been seen much this season because of an injury (I think she was dropped).

Smooth, calm, assured and moving come to mind.

This link brings up ballet.co reviews where she is mentioned:

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22-04-02, 10:14 AM (GMT)
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40. "RE: Giselle"
In response to message #39
   Had hoped to see Chloe as Myrtha on Saturday but she was replaced by Mara. Hope she isn't too injured.

Finally got round to Jamie Tapper's Giselle yesterday afternoon, and yes she was really special. Tapper looked so young and fresh and she has such lovely port-de-bras. Ivan I thought was much improved. Funnily enough he looked older, more condfident from the stalls than he did from the amphi. Technically he is really awesome - among other things he has the biggest jetes I've seen in a while. It's the first time I've heard the audience cheer as loudly for Albrecht as they did for Giselle, they loved him that much. His partnering still isn't super-smooth but still very acceptable. They were both so moving and I think the general consensus was that this was a really special performance.

The evening and last night went to Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope - a first time for me. Gosh they make such a beautiful pair, with Darcey's prettiness and Jonathan's more exotic looks. She danced with so much joy in Act I and is so well matched with Jonathan. I quite enjoyed this one though I didn't find it the most convincing of all the performances I've seen. Still their experience and confidence in themselves and each other are really evident from the start. And they both put such an individual stamp on Giselle and Albrecht. Darcey's Giselle seems so much stronger than the others I've seen, and this isn't just because she's so much taller. Her gestures, her responses to Albrecht were much more forward, not so docile. I didn't think she seemed so fragile that she could lose her mind but still, really interesting, really different. As for Albrecht, while all the other dancers I've seen sort of seem to follow a basic formula which they add to, Jonathan I think danced Albrecht his own way.

Act II - Zenaida Yanowsky as Myrtha. WOW! For me she stole the show, so menacing and powerful her dancing was. Then Darcey's first solo. Wow again! I thought her Giselle could have given Myrtha a good fight! Jonathan's first lifts were pretty wobbly, but those ones in a long arc that make Giselle look like she's floating across the stage were so beautiful and completely effortless.

Another great performance and I feel very lucky to have seen them. The corps were just wonderful. No Giselle next year so I hope it isn't the last we see of Bussell and Cope in these roles. Nice to see Jane Burn back (as Moyna I think) as well.

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