Giselle - The Ballet

Bavarian State Ballet 1979

 
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Bavarian State Ballet, 1979

Lynn Seymour
Rudolf Nureyev
Monica Mason

Nureyev as Albrecht

The Dancers

Review

"This Giselle is a document of Rudolf Nureyev's peerless Albrecht. It's hard to make Albrecht look like anything other than a manipulative, selfish jerk, but Nureyev manages to garner sympathy, through his sheer warmth and ardency. Albrecht was the role that made him famous both at the Kirov and then at the Royal Ballet. There are so many little touches to Nureyev's Albrecht that I love. For one, he truly prays to Myrtha for forgiveness; you can understand, for once, why Giselle wants to save him. In the Mad Scene he doesn't just stand there, slack-jawed. Remorse fills his face, and he hugs Giselle tightly. Technically Nureyev is also very impressive: in Act 2 he does a beautiful series of entrechat-sixes. His pirouettes are as ever erratic, and he clearly has trouble lifting Seymour, but like most Soviet-trained dancers he's a beautiful leaper. Mostly, he really makes Giselle a story of a young man's redemption. There is almost something spiritual in his frenzied humility in Act 2."

Edited version of a review by Ivy Lin

"As an observer of art and appreciator of great artists, I found this to be a rare insight into the craft of these two dancers and how they did what they did in terms of their style. Anyone can dance and learn steps, but it is how these artists work that sets them apart. They become the characters and we forget they are real people. They bring us momentarily into this unreal fantasy world which they create so well. This is what I enjoyed about this performance. Lynn Seymour is a great dance actress and Nureyev is so intense that there is not a dull moment here."

Edited version of a review by Andromeda

This is an astonishing peformance; two great dancers, with Nureyev near his prime. His Albrecht is a real person, rather than the cardboard cutout so often seen, even from top level dancers; Nuryev lives the part. You can see the exact moment that he realises what he has done, and then he reveals an unspoken trail of humiliation, guilt, frustration and finally remorse in a few short minutes. Seymour dances well; but she simply cannot convince us that she's a young girl in love - though her 'mad scene' trumps many!

Monica Mason, of course, is marvellous as Myrta.

Despite the technical limitations of this production; the slight sepia, the poor sound in places, and the occasional inappropriate closeup cutting off the mime, it remains one of the very best.

Andrew

The Production

Conversion from tape to DVD has not been entirely successful; while we can live with a little washed-out colour, the sound distortion is quite distracting, especially in the first few scenes.

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30 November 2016 | Copyright Andrew Heenan | | Privacy