- 2011 02.24~ 02.27
- Opera Theater, Seoul Arts Center
- Running time
- Tue,Thur,Fri 7:30pm / Sat 3:00pm, 7:30pm / Sun 3:00pm
- Standard price
- VIP: 10,000won / R: 70,000won / S: 50,000won / A: 30,000won / B: 10,000won / C: 5,000won
Giselle, the archetypal masterpiece of the “ballet blanc”, saw the light of day on the stage of the Royal Academy of Music on June 28th 1841. The work marked the apogee of Romantic aesthetics which shook up the intellectual and artistic world from the beginning of the 19th century and which had found their first expression in dance ten years earlier in La Sylphide (1832). The ballet, conceived in record time (two months), was the joint creation of numerous artists: Théophile Gautier, writer, art critic and chronicler of ballet, Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, the dramatist renowned for his vaudeville, Adolphe Adam, composer of ballet music and opera, the choreographer Jean Coralli, assisted in the wings by Jules Perrot, the set designer Pierre Cicéri, a specialist in fantasy forests and the costume designer Paul Lormier. The production was also brought to life by two exceptional performers: Carlotta Grisi and Lucien Petipa.
The story begins in a village during the grape harvest. Albrecht (or Albert), prince of Silesia, assumes the name of Loys and, disguised as a peasant, woos the beautiful Giselle. He yearns to lead a happy life, free from the constraints of social convention, but it is a dream he cannot share with his fiancée, the haughty and noble Bathilde. However, Hilarion, the gamekeeper, who is also in love with Giselle, guesses at the prince’s true identity and unmasks him. The young woman thus discovers the existence of Bathilde. The double shock costs her both her sanity and her life. The second act takes place at night in a forest graveyard. The Wilis, ghosts of young girls who have died of a broken heart before being wed, relentlessly track any masculine presence. Giselle is initiated in the Wilis’ ritual of death by Queen Myrtha. Their first victim is Hilarion. Albrecht looks set to become the second but Giselle saves him by the strength of her love.
The story of Giselle responded perfectly to that era’s taste for the fantastic, the bizarre and the strong emotions which characterized post-revolutionary society. The libretto, inspired by the Germanic legends evoked by the writer Heinrich Heine in his collection From Germany, reflects the Romantic principle of mixing genres: the pastoral theme of Act I ends in tragedy and the nocturnal drama of Act II concludes in a fantastical dénouement. The conflict between a realistic, terrestrial world, and a dreamlike nether land, peopled by feminine spirits, lends structure to the entire ballet. In it, only the women metamorphose. Mysterious creatures, conveyers of the ideal, the illusion of their immateriality are accentuated by the ethereal tutus, the slow, fluid gestures and the use of points.
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