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Teatro Regio, Wednesday 19 December 2007 - Sunday 23 December 2007
Fanciful ballet in two acts on the libretto by Théophile Gautier and Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, with choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot and music by Adolphe Adam, Giselle was staged for the first time at the Opéra National de Paris on 28 June 1841, with dancers Carlotta Grisi (a dancer adored by Gautier, who was also a theatre critic and choreographer, besides being her brother-in-law) and Lucien Petipa (brother of the choreographer Marius).
Giselle, the most successful romantic ballet, is based on a work of the novelist and poet Heinrich Heine that narrates the legend of a girl who goes crazy and dies after discovering that her beloved is engaged to another woman. The second act is especially astounding, and has gone down in the history of ballet as the “white act of the Wilis”, with a host of dancing spirits of girls abandoned by unreliable fiancés on the eve of their wedding. Girls who, though dead, cannot rest in peace for not having realised their dreams of love, they fight in wedding dresses and crowns, with the vindictive and ruthless Myrtha leading them. A tribal and menacingly orgiastic travelling march, there is a crescendo of excited collective psychodrama that only subsides with the coming of dawn, as usual the bearer of a sort of exhausted deliverance.
Giselle is today re-proposed by the Bolshoi Ballet, in the version by Vladimir Vasiliev, with sets by Sergej Barkhin, refined costumes by the French couturier Hubert de Givenchy (with the participation of Philippe Venet) and the council of an icon of dance, Galina Ulanova, one of the most charismatic Giselles of the 1930s-50s. The first Italian performance of Giselle took place right here at Teatro Regio on 26 December 1842, with dancers Nathalie Fitz-James in the role of Giselle and Amalia Ferraris in the role of Myrtha.
Music by: Adolphe Charles Adam
Coreografia: Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, Marius Petipa, choreographic version by Vladimir Vasil’ev
Librettist: Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier
Year of debut: 1841 Opéra National de Paris