Quick! Run! Book now if you haven’t already to catch this extraordinary screening of Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta in the Royal Ballet’s GISELLE which has just finished a sold out season at the Royal Opera House in London. Regarded as the epitome of Romantic ballet, GISELLE, created by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot in 1841, is the story of a village girl who loves but is betrayed by Count Albrecht, a nobleman in disguise .
This is the very traditional Peter Wright version (he is interviewed and in the audience to watch it and brought on stage for curtain calls at the end) that has been around for about thirty years .Yet it feels amazingly vibrant and fresh. It is a clear and emotionally gripping performance .The sets and costumes in Act 1 are in autumnal russet colours, in Act 2 we see an eerie, misty, moonlit forest glade with Giselle’s grave marked by a rough cross.
Under the dynamic baton of conductor Boris Gruzin, we see the orchestra who are terrific and play Adam’s lilting score eloquently.
Former Bolshoi dancer Natalia Osipova who has just joined the Royal Ballet this season as Giselle is superb, playing this ‘Hamlet of the Ballet’, a very challenging test for ballerinas since its first performance. In Act1 Osipova convinces as the naive, delicate young peasant maiden in love with Albrecht. She is delicate and shy and her frail heart is emphasised. Yet she is bright and joyous at first and reassures anxious Berthe, her mother. In Act 2 she is like a moonbeam or gossamer.
The opening flirting pas de deux for Giselle and Albrecht is glorious and her ‘mad scene’ is shattering. In both acts we admire her astonishing elevation and ballon. Her appearance and first whizzing solo in Act 2 is magnificent, – fast and yet also blurry like delicate mist. Simultaneously she has incredible control in her adagio and a beautiful ‘line’. She pleads for Albrecht’s life in Act2 with delicate despair.