The choreography by David Blair, after Jules
Perrot and Jean Coralli
Orchester Der Deutschen Oper Berlin conducted
by John Lanchbery
Film director Hugo Nieberling
This performance was made as a feature film, marrying aspects of
the real world - the Royal Party riding through the forest, for example - with
special effects and a studio-based ballet.
are especially polished, because they were done in a studio setting, not during
a live performance. The performances are also strong from a theatrical standpoint,
and Fracci's acting ability is on par with other great ballerinas, such as Dame
Margot Fonteyn and Maya Plisetskaya. This vesrion is clearly filmed, and the dancing
is captured from many unique angles. Some of them are highly interesting, but
there are others that I could have done without. The director seems to change
angles a lot, particularly during the scenes with a lot of tension. A number of
special effects are used, some of which are pretty neat. The set is custom, and
there's a lot of color used. For some strange reason, they decided that the lighting
and costumes should be light green and light yellow. I'm not real crazy about
that choice, but at least Fracci wears the usual pure white wedding dress. Overall,
I believe that the good Hollywood filmic touches outweigh the bad ones.
some really delightful petit allegro dancing recorded here by Fracci, Bruhn and
Landers, and the musical tempos are on the quick side to facilitate this. Out
of the six different productions of "Giselle" that I've seen to date,
act one from this ballet is the best of them. Act two is good, but not quite as
good as the 1979 Bolshoi version with Natalia Bessmertnova, Mikhail Lavrovsky
and Galina Kozlova (which is also available from Amazon.com), because Bolshoi
wilis dance with unbelievable finesse, delicacy and precision. Fracci and Bruhn's
partnering is nice, but the husband and wife team of Lavrovsky and Bessmertnova
exude more tenderness together. However, fans of Hilarion will be happy to know
that they didn't try to make him out to be some kind of dork here, and they even
gave him a substantial variation in the second act.
I've watched this ballet
a number of times since purchasing it, and I think that it's some of the best
money that I've spent on my ballet collection. The petit allegro dancing here
is delightful, and the only other ballet that I can think of with such outstanding
footwork is "La Sylphide" (1971, Kultur Video) by the Paris Opera Ballet
with Ghislaine Thesmar and Michel Denard.
Edited version of a review
Utilises techniques more familiar with
movies; rapid cuts from angle to angle can be disconcerying, as well as the removal
of feet in many shots.