State Ballet, 1979
"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."
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
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!
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.
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.