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Subject: "San Francisco Ballet, Program 8 "Giselle"" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2693
Reading Topic #2693
Renee Renouf Hall

04-05-02, 07:59 AM (GMT)
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"San Francisco Ballet, Program 8 "Giselle""
   I've just returned from the opening of "Giselle", Program 8,
of San Francisco Ballet which will run through Sunday, May 12 matinee. The young Englishman Paul Hoskins was the conductor for a singularly distinctive quartet of principals: Lorena Feijoo as Giselle; Yuri Possokhov as Albrecht; Damian Smith as Hilarion; and Muriel Maffre was Myrthe. Her able lieutenants were Catherine Baker and Leslie Young. The Act I pas de cinq included
Vanessa Zahorian; Sherri Le Blanc; Nicole Starbuck; Gennadi
Nedviguine and Gonzalo Garcia.Anita Paciotti was Berthe and Ashley Wheater and Tiekka Schofield provided a suitable aristocratic presence, complete with white borzois. This production has spectacular sets and costumes by the Danish
Mikael Melbye with lighting by Lisa J. Pinkham.

The subtext for three principals was the schooling and style; Cuban; Russian and French. The result seemed to me extremely well blended and very memorable.

Feijoo had danced the role once while she was with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. She is fluid in both Acts, quite girlish in Act I and ever so gentle in Act II and the technical demands of Giselle were met easily.
The waves of modesty and bedazzled emotion at Albrecht's gallantry and attention to her was matched by Possokhov's ardent
portrayal. Possokhov's dancing in Act I possessed a sharpness in execution underscoring the exhileration Albrecht feels at Giselle's uncomplicated rapture in his presence.

Damian Smith's Hilarion delivered some excellent mime, particularly when he creeps on stage while Albrecht and Wilfred
are discussing what Albrecht should do about the approach of the hunting party. Hilarion very clearly connects the pieces for the audience before
he decided to pick the lock of Abrecht's cottage. After all, all's fair in love and war.

The pas de cinq was beautifully delivered, Sherri Le Blanc dancing with particular musicality. Nedviguine shot skyward at the beginning of his variation like Old Faithful erupting and Gonzalo Garcia rendered some incredibly complicated passe tours in his variation, verily the wunder twins. Zahorian and Starbuck
are nicely matched in size, Zahorian perhaps more finished in her phrasing and pointe work, but Starbuck connects with the audience and is lyric in style. A little coaching would quickly tidy up small slurs in phrasing.

Paciotti has always been an excellent actress and her Berthe has grown. She makes it very clear that Berthe is a definite village
figure and a widow of some consequence, but still influenced by folklore.

The Wilis were consistent in their ensemble renditions. Leslie Young as one of the two Wilis quite captured the Romantic posture and style, adding a slight crispness. It's pretty amazing to think they also dance Robbins' Glass Pieces or Morris' Sandpaper Ballet.

In Act II, Muriel Maffre gives us a chilling Myrthe, her mime leaving us without any doubts as to her intentions, her head flowing from level to proud in several movements. She was sufficiently unearthly that when the dawning bell sounds she drops the death chase with Albrecht as if she never encountered the grieving nobleman.

Possokhov opened one of his Act II solo sections with an unusual back bend, was most effective. He and Feijoo were well attuned to Act II's demand. Possokhov landed somewhat heavily from some of his beats, perhaps due to his recurrent knee problem. His
Russian schooling in the role was full and melodramatic and
met the pitch of Feijoo's Cuban training and embraced it most wonderfully.

No one, alas, has attempted the Youskevitch phenomenon of catching the lilies as Giselle tossed them.

For all those niggling little comments,it was a memorable performance, which adds to my memory bank of unusual experiences.

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