Author Topic: Giselle  (Read 2484 times)

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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Giselle
« on: May 19, 2007, 08:52:50 PM »
Giselle was the dancing counterpart to many of her jilted sisters in Romantic opera--the difference being she could continue to dance and haunt Albrecht beyond the grave as a "Wili". 

Two versions were on local TV this weekend: Rudolph Nureyev's 1979 production with Lynn Seymour and a strange film done in 1992 by the Stuttgart Ballet staged by Marcia Haydee. The first I was very familiar with, very traditional and Seymour a sweet doll-like figure but not very memorable. It was interesting to compare the two with the echoes of the recent "So You Think You Can Dance", it occured to me that Nureyev could not pick a partner that could outdance him. Seeing Dichter in the same role (I don't know how famous he is), it was striking HOW clean and precise his movements were in contrast to Nureyev.

The Giselle in the Stuttgart production was strange (as was the whole concept with clowns and a hurdy-gurdy that appeared at the end as well). She was already looking sickly in the first act and old enough to be her own mother, but a very competent dancer. The costumes were especially non-flattering, more like nightgowns, and the Wilis were made up like goths with teased up hair.

A production of Giselle that has been the benchmark over the past 40 years was the Nureyev-Fonteyn. I caught an intriguing B&W clip of their duet towards the end that captured that elusive spirituality that seems to be absent most of the time in dance (in singing, too). It may boil down to that quality of "chemistry" that the two of them had and perhaps he didn't recapture with anyone else.

ZB

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Giselle
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2007, 06:49:14 AM »

A production of Giselle that has been the benchmark over the past 40 years was the Nureyev-Fonteyn. I caught an intriguing B&W clip of their duet towards the end that captured that elusive spirituality that seems to be absent most of the time in dance (in singing, too). It may boil down to that quality of "chemistry" that the two of them had and perhaps he didn't recapture with anyone else.

ZB



Interesting you should say that, and it does seem to be true, that after Fonteyn retired, Nureyev never really found another partner, with whom he formed a lasting relationship. On paper, of course, the Fonteyn/Nureyev partnership should never have worked. Not only was their background and training entirely different, but Fonteyn was almost 20 years older than he. In fact she resisted danicng with him for that reason, but Nureyev was an extremely demanding young man even back then, and was determined that he would only dance with her. In reality, of course, they were both able to give each other something that the other one didn't have. Fortunately there are quite a few filmed records of their famed partnership. One of my favourites is Marguerite and Armand, specially choreographed for them by Sir Frererick Ashton, and based on Dumas' [bLa Dame aux Camelias[/b]. It is well worth seeking out.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Giselle
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2008, 08:40:15 AM »
What an exciting discovery, Ulanova in "Giselle":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSBomZcDEuk&feature=related

Since the series of 6 clips were placed on youtube in September 2007 after this thread started, I wasn't aware that there was indeed a film of the famous performance in 1956 in London in COLOR!!!

The orchestra is beautifully sensitive to the changing moods onstage, an excellent accompaniment.
In the beginning a superquick tempo underscores the indecision and nervousness of the young girl, also some very expressive slower tempi later, probably more difficult to sustain but very beautiful.

If only the audience didn't clap in places that were a bit disturbing, but the principals never lost character, not even for a moment.

Viewing old films of music performers and dancers, one can't help but get the impression that expressivity was not more important than technique but the two were joined together. Today there seem to be plenty of gymnasts in dance but not this sort of delicacy and vulnerability.

ZB



“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Giselle
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2008, 11:17:51 PM »

Viewing old films of music performers and dancers, one can't help but get the impression that expressivity was not more important than technique but the two were joined together. Today there seem to be plenty of gymnasts in dance but not this sort of delicacy and vulnerability.

ZB





I so agree with you, ZB. I often feel the same about some of today's singers, who, in their quest for authenticity and technical accuracy, forget about musicality and expression. Bartoli's latest foray into Romantic opera (Bellini, Donzietti etc) may have the weight of scholarship behind it, but, to my ears, she doesn't begin to find the essence of these Romantic scores, the way that such singers as Callas, Caballe, Sutherland and Horne do.


\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Sarastro

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Re: Giselle
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2008, 03:13:43 PM »
I so agree with you, ZB. I often feel the same about some of today's singers, who, in their quest for authenticity and technical accuracy, forget about musicality and expression. Bartoli's latest foray into Romantic opera (Bellini, Donzietti etc) may have the weight of scholarship behind it, but, to my ears, she doesn't begin to find the essence of these Romantic scores, the way that such singers as Callas, Caballe, Sutherland and Horne do.