Main Stage

11 November
19:00
2017 | Saturday
Giselle
Ballet in 2 acts
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Artists Credits
Conductor
Ballet company
Music by Adolphe Adam
Choreography by Jules-Joseph Perrot (revisions)
Jean Coralli, Author libretto
Théophile Gautie, Author libretto
Vernoy de Saint-Georges, Author libretto
Simon Virsaladze, Costume Designer
Mikhail Sokolov, Lighting Designer
Alexander Kopylov, Musical Director
World premiere: 28 Jun 1841 Paris, France
Premiere of this production: 02 Mar 1987

The performance has 1 intermission
Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Libretto by Theophile Gautier and Jean-Henry Saint-Georges


Presented with one interval.

 

Additional information

  • Characters and performers    
  • Giselle (French: Giselle ou les Wilis) is a ballet in two acts with a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier, music by Adolphe Adam, and choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. The librettist took his inspiration from a poem by Heinrich Heine. The ballet tells the story of a peasant girl named Giselle whose ghost, after her premature death, protects her lover from the vengeance of a group of evil female spirits called Wilis (a type of Slavic fairy also spelled Vila, Wila, Wiła, Veela). Giselle was first presented by the Ballet du Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris, France, on 28 June 1841. The choreography in modern productions generally derives from the revivals of Marius Petipa for the Imperial Russian Ballet (1884, 1899, 1903).

    Synopsis

    Act I
    A small, peaceful village, bathed in sunlight. It is inhabited by simple, artless people. Giselle, a young peasant girl, is re­joicing in the sun, the blue sky, the singing of the birds and, most of all, in the happiness of pure, trusting love which has lit up her life. She is in love and is confident that she is loved. The gamekeeper, who is in love with Giselle, tries in vain to per­suade her that Albrecht, her loved one, is not a peasant at all but a nobleman in disguise and that he is deceiving her.

    The gamekeeper manages to steal into the cottage which Albrecht is renting in the village and here he finds a silver sword with a coat of arms on it. Now the gamekeeper knows for sure that Albrecht is concealing his noble origins.

    A party of distinguished noblemen, attended by a sumptuous suite, seek rest and refreshment in the village after the hunt. The peasants give their guests a cordial welcome.

    Albrecht is embarrassed by this unexpected meeting: he tries to hide the fact he knows them for, in their company, is his betrothed, Bathilde. Meanwhile the gamekeeper shows everyone Albrecht’s sword and, unmasking him, tells them of the latter’s deceit. Giselle is shocked to the core by the perfidy of her loved one. The pure, crystal-clear world of her faith, hopes and dreams has been destroyed. She goes mad and dies.

    Act II
    Night-time. The ghostly forms of the Wilis, died brides, appear among the graves of the village church yard which is bathed in moonlight. “Dressed in bridal gowns and garlands of flow­ers...The irresistibly beautiful Wilis danced to the light of the moon. And as they felt the time given them for dancing was running out and that they had again to return to their icy graves, their dancing became more and more impassioned and ra­pid...” (Heinrich Heine).

    The Wilis catch sight of the gamekeeper who, suffering from pangs of con­science, has come to visit Giselle’s grave. At the command of Myrtha, the unrelenting Queen of the Wilis, the Wilis encircle the gamekeeper and make him dance until he drops lifeless, to the ground.

    Albrecht too, is unable to forget Giselle. And, at dead of night, he co­mes to her grave. The Wilis immedi­ately encircle the youth. Albrecht is now threatened by the same horrify­ing fate as the gamekeeper. But the shadow of Giselle now appears and her eternal and self-sacrificing love protects and saves Albrecht from the anger of the Wilis.

    The ghostly, white forms of the Wilis vanish with the first rays of the rising sun. And Giselle’s ethereal shadow va­nishes too, but Giselle will always be alive in Albrecht’s memory — the ever-present regret for a lost love, a love that is stronger than death.


    Main Stage 1 Teatralnaya ploschad (1 Theatre Square), Moscow, Russia
    New Stage 4/2 Teatralnaya ploschad (4/2 Theatre Square), Moscow, Russia