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"ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"



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Bruce M Click to EMail Bruce%20MClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster 01-04-00, 09:59 AM (GMT)
"ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"

ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED

For many years there has been heated debate amongst ballet historians about the existence of a third act of Giselle. Well the speculation and debate is now over: Professor Barbie Ann Hatzenbuehler of the Faculty of Syncopated Harmonious Movement, Idaho State University, Boise, today announced that after a hunt of more than 12 years she has at last tracked down the missing Act.

Paradoxically, having combed Europe for much of this time, Professor Hatzenbuehler discovered the piece in a notebook recently acquired as part of a job lot of old books from RAD - a UK training establishment who were having a clear out last summer.

The announcement has stunned the ballet world: Clement Crisp's initial reaction was one of concern: "It's outrageous that somebody could fail to spot a work of such monumental importance and let it slip through their fingers". On a happier note Sir Anthony Dowell well remembers hearing more-than-a-little about Act 3: "Sir Fred (Frederick Ashton) often talked about Act 3 of Giselle which he had seen performed by Ballet Clasico de Los Galapagos as a young boy in Ecuador. Of course none of us believed him, though he often talked about it with great fondness and insisted that it had had a profound effect on him."

In the full length Giselle the second act is at last put in its correct perspective - as merely an alcoholic dream. Giselle, far from dead, actually accompanies Albrecht on a series of far flung adventures featuring a shipwreck, gypsies, crusading knights and temple girls with appropriate national dances as divertissements. Bravely for its era it ends with the crossing of the social divide and the double wedding of Giselle to Albrecht and Bathilde to Hilarion.

Luckily some of early dance notation survives and soon ballet lovers will be able to see the Grape Pickers' pas d' action, the Two Parrots pas de deux and Giselle's Party Polka amongst others.

A clue to the early demise of Act 3 is to be found in the priceless notebook. In it Coralli has crossed out the Act 3 notes and scribbled: "oeuvre de Perrot d'une longueur absurde - l'orchestre et les costumes vont couter un argent fou: suivre le denouement tragique et faire trainer l'entr'acte".(*)

UK ballet goers will be the first to see the full length Giselle - in December 2000. Sir Anthony Dowell, as a parting gift to the Royal Ballet, is to oversee the new production which is to have especially commissioned contemporary designs: Act 1 by Anthony Ward (after the critical acclaim for Les Rendezvous), Act 2 by Vivienne Westwood (trying her hand at dance design for the first time) and Act 3 by Patrick Caulfield (the unforgettable designer of Rhapsody).


(*) "Preposterously long Perrot (Jules Perrot - believed to be the main choreographer) - the orchestra and costumes will cost a fortune: go with the sad ending and pad out the interval."



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 Table of contents

RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Alexandra, 01-04-00, (1)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Karen, 02-04-00, (4)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Jane S, 01-04-00, (2)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Karen Spencer, 02-04-00, (3)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, DavidL, 02-04-00, (5)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Kevin Ng, 03-04-00, (6)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Bruce M, 03-04-00, (7)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Francis Timlin, 03-04-00, (8)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Bruce M, 03-04-00, (9)
RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED, Barb, 03-04-00, (10)

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Alexandra Click to EMail AlexandraClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster 01-04-00, 05:52 PM (GMT)
1. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
LAST EDITED ON 02-Apr-00 AT 06:54 PM (GMT)

Bruce, thank you so much for posting this. I've read hints of a lost third act but it's great to have some concrete evidence of its existence. A divertissement called the "party polka," the only 19th century solo for a drunken female known to me, remained in repertory in Shanghai for some years, but was thrown out during the Cultural Revolution.

BTW, there's also supposedly a lost third act of La Sylphide, where James bashes Madge's head in and rapes the surviving Sylphs, in a blindingly brilliant pas d'action. This was the young, brash Bournonville, only 31 in 1836 and still in his Napoleonic period when he mounted the ballet in Copenhagen. The act was supposedly cut when the ballet was restaged in 1851.

Who knows what other treasures lie between the bindings of those abandoned books? Perhaps Professor Barbie will continue to discover them.

Alexandra

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Karen Click to EMail KarenClick to check IP address of the poster 02-04-00, 06:10 AM (GMT)
4. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
I think they also contain the notation for the lost ending of Swan Lake. There are hints about this in some documents I found misfiled in the archives of the Dance Collection in the NY Performing Arts Library. Things there are somewhat disorganized now because they are in temporary quarters. The real ending contained a gut-wrenchingly sad, but rather frenzied pas-de-deux. Apparantly neither Siegfried nor Odette drown - they were both good swimmers (remember, she'd had years of practice) - but they both went mad, so what we have is a double mad scene. This lost pas de deux also contains the famous 64 double fouettes, which were inserted by Mme. Tournova, as she insisted that if "an upstart Italian" could do 32 then she could "more than double them". There are hints in the documents that after the first performance, Mme. Tournova had to retire due to a mysterious ailment. She seems to have suffered from retinal detachment as a result of this extraordinary, athletic feat. It is certain that she was totally blind when she died. It is sad to note that her feat has gone unrecognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.
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Jane S Click to EMail Jane%20SClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster 01-04-00, 10:05 PM (GMT)
2. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"

Bruce, I'm slightly concerned that you don't mention the music for this lost act: was there any reference to this in the notebook the Professor found? I'm afraid writing pastiche Adam might be beyond most of today's composers - let's hope there's a dusty score somewhere in the depths of the Paris Opera's library.
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Karen Spencer Click to EMail Karen%20SpencerClick to check IP address of the poster 02-04-00, 05:50 AM (GMT)
3. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
I seem to recall having heard of a fabulous pas de deux for Bathilde and Hilarion - after a fantastic, on-stage, instantaneous costume change in which Bathilde is transformed from a stodgy Royal into a pert, if somewhat elegant upper-peasant girl who, having discovered what wonderful things her legs can do when unweighed-down by gold and fur-trimmed velvet, outdances everyone.
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DavidL Click to EMail DavidLClick to check IP address of the poster 02-04-00, 09:50 PM (GMT)
5. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
There exists(truly) a Russian-American film, which had a very short life about 20 years ago, purporting to be a biography of Pavlova.
In one scene, she is shown throwing a tantrum in her dressing room between acts of Giselle.
Enter Marius Petipa:

"Anna, you have to go on. Everyone is waiting for your act 3!"

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Kevin Ng Click to EMail Kevin%20NgClick to check IP address of the poster 03-04-00, 02:55 AM (GMT)
6. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
I remember that Pavlova film shown in the Dominion Theatre in London in the mid-1980s. The film was too long, I remember, but not disastrous. Is it available on video? I can't remember the actress who played Pavlova.
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Bruce M Click to EMail Bruce%20MClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster 03-04-00, 10:10 AM (GMT)
7. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
What more positive proof could one desire?!

And didn't Ashton see Pavlova in Ecuador? Presumably while she was guesting with Ballet Classico de Los Galapagos...

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Francis Timlin Click to EMail Francis%20TimlinClick to check IP address of the poster 03-04-00, 07:12 PM (GMT)
8. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
A minor geographic note for your archives: Idaho State University is in Pocatello....
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Bruce M Click to EMail Bruce%20MClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster 03-04-00, 08:26 PM (GMT)
9. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
>A minor geographic note for your archives:
>Idaho State University is in Pocatello....


That's true.

But they also have a centre in Boise:
http://www.isu.edu/departments/enroll/isuboise.htm

Presumably that is where the Faculty of Syncopated Harmonious Movement is located - but haven't had time to check.

(I can't believe I answered that!)


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Barb Click to EMail BarbClick to check IP address of the poster 03-04-00, 08:45 PM (GMT)
10. "RE: ACT 3 OF GISELLE REDISCOVERED"
I am curious. Is this perhaps the work that showcased the pas de deux that pre-dated the blue bird pas? I know there was a lovely piece of choreography done (only read about it...of course no film or video exists), and though I have no idea what the male was patterned after, the ballerina's tutu was traditionally the browns and golds of the snipe, instead of the now accepted blues of the bluebird that has made its way to Sleeping Beauty. I have been hunting for this.
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