Giselle, ou Les Wilis

fantasy ballet in two acts

music byAdolpheAdam

2 hours 10 minutes
1 act
50 min
interval 30 min
2 act
50 min
for viewers over 6 years old

The stage life of Giselle hasnt been an easy one. After its premiere of 1841 featuring Carlotta Grisi and Lucien Petipa, the ballet was performed in France till 1863, when it disappeared from the repertoire. The ballet has been staged in St.Petersburg since 1842. At the beginning of the 20th century during the ground-breaking Diaghilevs Russian Seasons, the French saw their national ballet, faithfully nurtured in Russia.

The Mikhailovsky Theatres the 2008 production of Giselle by Nikita Dolgushin, a specialist in historical works, managed to amaze both the public and the critics. Dolgushin, a noble Albrecht in his time as a dancer, inspired the creation of the ballet and delicately united dance and mime. He revealed the essence of the romantic ballet, the story of Giselle is told in the language of ballet classicism. Together with Viacheslav Okunev, who designed the epitome of romantic settings, Dolgushin made a production that was described by a British critic an exemplary Giselle.

Act I

A young Count is in love with a peasant girl, Giselle. As he is disguised in peasant clothes Giselle takes him for a young man fr om a nearby village. A gamekeeper is also in love with Giselle. He tries to prove that Giselles lover is not the man he pretends to be. But Giselle will not listen.
The gamekeeper intrudes into the cottage wh ere the young Count changed his clothes and finds the Counts sword. The sound of horns signifies that the hunters are coming. The Counts betrothed and her father are among them. The noble lady is charmed by Giselle and gives the pretty peasant her necklace.
At the height of the peasants feast the gamekeeper appears. He accuses the Count of deceit and shows the Counts sword as a proof. Giselle doesnt believe it. The gamekeeper blows the horn and the Counts betrothed greets the abashed Count. Giselle shocked by her lovers deceit goes mad and dies.

Act II

Midnight. The gamekeeper comes to visit Giselles tomb. The Wilis are arising from their tombs and the young man runs to escape them. The Wilis force every man who comes to the cemetery at night to dance to his death.
The Queen of the Wilis summons the ghost of Giselle from her tomb: shes one of the Wilis now. The Count comes to visit Giselles tomb. Seeing his sorrow and regret Giselle forgives him.
The Wilis are chasing the gamekeeper and having caught him push the young man into the lake. The Count is going to die too. In vain Giselle begs the Wilis to let him go: the Wilis are implacable. But the chime is heard: its daybreak. The Wilis are loosing their power as dawn breaks. The Count is forgiven and rescued. Giselle vanishes into the morning haze.

Premiere of the production: 3 November 2007

Libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint Georges, Théophile Gautier, and Jean Coralli
Choreography by Jules Perrot, Jean Coralli, and Marius Petipa

  • Ballet MasterNikita Dolgushin
  • Stage and Costume DesignVyacheslav Okunev
  • Lighting DesignerMikhail Mekler

Sets and costumes produced at the Vozrozhdenie Theatrical Design Studios


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