The ultimate romantic ballet, Giselle marked the apogee of a new aesthetic that saw diaphanous tutus, white gauze, tulle and tarlatan take over the stage. The Willis bring the illusion of immateriality to this ghostly transfiguration of a tragedy.
First performed at the Académie royale de Musique on June 28, 1841, the ballet travelled to Russia, then temporarily disappeared from the repertoire before finally returning to France in 1910. Today’s version by Patrice Bart and Eugene Polyakov – which closely follows Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot’s original choreography – continues to reaffirm the ballet’s early success.
Bright, earthly scenes and spectral, nocturnal visions: dance becomes the language of the soul and the ballerina’s ethereal presence seems to defy gravity.
The Étoiles, the Premiers Danseurs and the Paris Opera Corps de Ballet
The Pasdeloup Orchestra
A coproduction Opéra national de Paris, François Roussillon et Associés
With the participation of France Télévisions and TF1, the support of the Orange Foundation, patron of the audiovisual retransmissions of the Opéra National de Paris and the Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée.
Director: François Roussillon
© Opéra national de Paris – François Roussillon et Associés -2020
Picture: © Svetlana Loboff / OnP
- Giselle: A young peasant girl. She falls in love with Loys, who turns out to be Duke Albrecht. Consumed by madness, she dies of a broken heart at the end of Act I.
- Albrecht: Duke of Silesia. Already betrothed to Princess Bathilde, he seduces Giselle during the harvest season.
- Myrtha: Queen of the Wilis, spirits of young maidens who have died before their wedding day. At night, they lure men into a deadly dance.
- Hilarion: The village gamekeeper who is in love with Giselle. He reveals Albrecht’s true identity then dies, punished by the Wilis.