Hi I was thinking about the ballet Giselle when i realised that there are 2 principal roles. Giselle and the Queen of the willis. How does one decide who is to dance which part? Would Darcey Bussell ever be seen dancing the queen of the willis? Is one considered a better role than the other? Love swanxxx
Giselle is a dramatic role as well as a technical one. Presumably one would decide who was to dance which part by considering the merits of the dancers - Q of W = lots of arabesques but also lots of jumps. Not really a dramatic role, although Q of W is hard, cold and bitter. Personally I think Darcey would make a good Q - her technique seems to suit the role. She doesn't think she's particularly suited to Giselle, although some posters on this site think that she is. The Q of W is more of a secondary role, although a very respectable one - perhaps equal to the Lilac Fairy?
Oooh, careful, or you'll have some of us older ones reminiscing about the good old days when the Lilac Fairy tended to be played by a principal (sometimes needed in order to provide balance with Carabosse)! I think that compared with Giselle Myrtha is definitely a secondary role - only on in one act, and not requiring that much in the way of characterisation, but it is sometimes given to principals who aren't felt to be suited, by physique or temperament, to dancing Giselle. Mind you, I can't see why Giselles shouldn't necessarily dance Myrtha as well - I suspect it's just a question of problems rehearsing two roles at the same time.
In the goodolddays, I think there was quite a distinction between the roles. There were some ballerinas -- Alexandra Danilova, for example -- who weren't considered suited to Giselle but were wonderful Myrthas.
Partly I think it's temperament. Myrtha needs to be regal. There's a recent trend to cast her as tall, which is fine, but there have been great small Myrthas -- Danilova, and Mette-Ida Kirk, in Denmark, to name two. And Giselle needs to be innocent and pure. Myrtha has a past