Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Giselle - the perfect Halloween ballet!

This was not my idea, but a friend's - Giselle suits perfectly with Halloween. Would be fun to have a version with a bit more "grim" touch to it, all the make-up and costumes... :D Or maybe Michael Jackson did it already? With Thriller? It does have lots of cool dancing and living dead in it, also some romantic aspect.

Aaaaanyway. As I fell (inside a buss, yes) on Sunday and got 3 days of sick leave because of my hand injury, I had some spare time. And today, especially after the "nice" visit to dental hygienist (brrrh......), decided to watch Giselle on my laptop. I had 3 versions to choose from, Royal Ballet (in 2006 with Cojocaru), La Scala (Ferri, don't know the year) and Mats Ek (don't know who's the leading lady nor the year). Decided to go with RB, as it had also the amazing Marianela Nuñez in it (as Myrtha).

Took a comfortable position on my bed with big pillows, cat curled beside my legs, pressed play. The BBC production had a bit of hosting in it, don't remember the lady's name. But there was also a short interview from Alina.C. herself and her fiancé, Johan Kobborg, with short bits from their rehearsals.

Most of the music (by A. Adam) is familiar to me, but I don't remember if I've ever truly seen the work as a whole. There was a lot more choir pieces in the 1st act than I remembered, which was interesting to look at. But at the same time made me wonder about their existence. I mean, most of them had really nothing to do with the actual plot, they were just there. But of course, if they didn't exist, the 1st act would be quite short. And as the dancers were so good, it was a pleasure to see all of it, don't take me wrong :)

Johan Kobborg with Alina Cojocaru, by Bill Cooper (c)

Still, my favorite bits were the variations (including the Peasant pas de deux, despite what I wrote above). As much as I enjoyed both Cojocaru and Kobborg performing from their hearts, I wasn't too much a fan of this Albrecht's facial expressions. His pirouettes, jumps and everything else I did like, a lot. It had nothing to do with how he looks or anything such, no. I just didn't get the Feeling. Sometimes this happens. The couple were was still very nicely in balance with each other, as they are in real life... :) (You can read here about how they got engaged!)

Alina Cojocaru by Bill Cooper (c)
Between the acts there was some other video footage again, behind the scenes. Short bits of interviews again, and which I found quite funny, the names of main dancers/roles. Why weren't they in the beginning? Weird... Back to the 2nd act. Marianela Nuñez was super "chilly" in her cool essence of Myrtha, the queen of the wilis. I've enjoyed watching her (many times) in La fille mal gardée, sadly not live but via computer. (Hooray for teh interweb!!!) Also seen some parts of Swan Lake. The wilis were eloquent, also I liked very much their costume. As you can see in the pic above, the hem of the tutu isn't straight cut, which made it a bit more ghost-like. Not too clean. And the veils over their heads in the beginning, yes. Giselle had it also when appearing for the first time.

I have to admit, I'd completely forgotten what happens to poor Hilario! I Did remember him existing in the work, but his part of the plot was somewhat surprise. It was one of the most effective scenes in the 2nd act. How cold were those wilis to him, such a destiny.

The ending was beautiful. The whole piece made me tear up a couple of times. Also it made me hope that our National Ballet would perform it in the near future... :) I know for a fact that I'd get chills with the opening music already! :D

Alina Cojocaru by Bill Cooper (c)
For a comparison I watched the La Scala version, too. Except that I skipped some of those choir bits...... (*shame on me*) Alessanda Ferri was so divine in this role. Really. As I became a new fan for Miss Cojocaru after the first Giselle, I found prima ballerina assoluta Ferri maybe even more fascinating. I've seen her as Juliet, which is kind of a legend performance in ballet field for me (as a ballet fanatic). And she was wearing the traditional blue peasant dress in the 1st act, which I missed a little in RB's version (just to be honest).

*Maybe to balance the situation, the "Italians" had very traditional tutus in the 2nd act. I liked the English version better ;)*

Massimo Murru starred as Albrecht. He had some seriously neat turns and jumps. Will have to try to see more of him. And as a fun detail, Roberto Bolle danced in the Peasant pas de deux in this production! :) He's one of my favorites.

I think I'm done with Giselle for a while now (maybe 2 weeks or so, haha). As Christmas comes, I'll start the Nutcracker marathon again (as we don't have in the Opera this year!!). But before it I think I'll choose some other work(s) to see and compare. Some classic(s), probably. I'll let you know then :)

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