Giselle - The Ballet

The Bolshoi Ballet at the
Bolshoi Theatre

 
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The Bolshoi Ballet

at the Bolshoi Theatre 1990

Director: Yuri Grigorovich

Music by Adolphe Adam

Conductor: Algis Zhuraitis

Choreography: Jean Coralli,
Jules Perrot, and Marius Petipa plus Yuri Grigoravich

Natalia Igorevna Bessmertnova

The Dancers

  • Natalia Bessmertnova as Giselle
  • Yuri Vasyuchenko as Count Albrecht
  • Maria Bylova as Mirta, Queen of the Wilis
  • Yuri Vetrov as Hans, the woodsman

The Ballet

A live performance on a huge stage; some special effects, which were not too distracting.

Review

I really wanted to like this Giselle; I could hardly wait to get the DVD home and in the player. However, this shortened movie version of Giselle starring Natalya Bessmertnova and M. Lavrovski was disappointing to say the least.

The sets are "barebones" with flat color tones and meager drop back curtains; there is little or no "scenery" to give one the feeling of the rustic quaintness that seems to be the norm in other Giselles. The cast almost looks lost on this huge stage.

The music/audio is flawed: there is an annoying high pitched tinny quality to a lot of the higher notes throughout the entire performance: this is very distracting and although I could diminish this effect by tweaking my audio system, I could not get this problem to disappear entirely.

And finally, to me, Giselle has always represented ballet at its emotional best: with Adam's haunting melodies and the beautiful choreography taking the audience the full gambit between initial happiness and gaiety to final sadness and grief. In this production, although the dancing is technically good, it lacks any arousing impact; the performers went through the dance steps, but they didn't seem to be very convincing or committed in their acting. For instance, Bessmertnova tends to look very serious most of the time in the opening scenes where she is suppose to be flirting and falling in love with Albrecht; any rare smile seems forced and unnatural

On a positive note, however, the Wilis' costumes in Act II were stunning; the skirts were sheer, moved beautifully with the lifts and generally enhanced the impression of them being apparitions .


An edited version of an Amazon review by R. Nicholson

 

The Production

The transfer to digital is poor; serious colour loss, and some distortion in the sound too. Camerawork is not ideal, with closeups and full stage, but little in between.

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30 November 2016 | Copyright Andrew Heenan | | Privacy