A Fantastic story of love and betrayal

Ballet in two acts

Libretto - Théophile Gautier, Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges

Music - Adolphe Adam

Choreography - Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, Marius Petipa

Premiere - June 28, 1841, Salle Le Peletier, Paris

Ballet “Giselle” is the top of romantic choreography, an example of the unity of pantomime and dance, which outlived its time and remained forever in the list of classical ballets masterpieces.

The soulful music of Adolf Adam and the amazing choreography of Marius Petipa immerse the viewer in an elegant and tragic love story of an aristocrat who wants to get what he desires and a naive peasant girl.

The libretto of this ballet is based on an ancient legend born in the mists of time in Eastern Europe and recorded by the German poet Heinrich Heine. It tells a story about the wilis - girls who died because of the betrayal of their chosen ones and then, being weightless and frightening spirits, cruelly cracked down on travelers at night, making them dance until they die from exhaustion. This is how they avenged their broken destinies.

In 1842, Giselle, after the resounding success of its premiere, was shown in St. Petersburg and has not left the Russian stage since that time. The main role was performed by Galina Ulanova, Ekaterina Maksimova, Lyudmila Semenyaka and other great ballerinas.
The romantic ballet about love, which is stronger than death, about devoted trust and repentance, has been repeatedly improved to achieve impeccability in choreography and dramaturgy. At the beginning of the 20th century, interest for this ballet declined, but Marius Petipa's version, performed during the Russian Seasons in Europe, revived it.

The influence of the ballet even penetrated into fashion: immediately after the premiere, a smooth hairstyle with a parting became a hit.
Our Theatre presents the classical version of "Giselle": in two such dissimilar acts. The first - in the village where Giselle lives, and the second - in a foggy night cemetery.

When the ballet is shown on large stages, the scene of the arrival of Count Albert's retinue sometimes involves not only Theatre artists, but also their friends - beautiful greyhounds, who traditionally helped aristocrats and hunters, and now contribute to a deeper immersion of the viewer into the ballet atmosphere.
Count Albert fell in love with the young peasant girl Giselle and swore allegiance to her, hiding his origin and the fact that he was engaged. Giselle-loving forester Hans reveals the count's deceit. The unfortunate Giselle has a heart disease, she cannot withstand the blow, goes crazy, dies and becomes a vilis, a spirit that still loves Albert. Hans visits Giselle's grave and the other Wilis kill him. Albert comes after him, and Giselle saves him from the wrath of evil spirits.
Act I

A quiet mountain village is surrounded by forests and vineyards. The gentle morning sun illuminates a simple peasant house. Young Giselle lives here with her mother. The local forester Hans has been in love with her for too long, but the girl's heart is full of bright expectation of a real great feeling. The hunting lodge of the Duke of Courland is located nearby; Count Albert arrived here after hunting. The count's attention is attracted by the charming peasant girl Giselle. Tender feelings cover Albert, he is in love with a young beauty. But his expensive outfit can scare away a girl, and he changes into peasant clothes. Mutual feelings of first love captivate the young couple.
Full text
Hans is desperate. His experience tells him that Albert is not who he claims to be, but Giselle does not listen to him. The sounds of a hunting horn are heard from afar. The Duke of Courland approaches with his retinue and guests. The peasants cordially greet noble persons. Mixed with the crowd of peasants, the count goes away unnoticed. The arrival of the duke and Bathilde, the count's fiancee, was a surprise for Albert. Giselle gets Bathilde's attention and dances for her, Bathilde gives her a necklace.

Overjoyed, Giselle runs away to her friends and joins in the general fun. Among the dancers, Albert is also having fun. Suddenly, Hans rudely pushes the crowd aside and rebukes Albert for cheating. In the hunting lodge, he found a sword adorned with precious stones, he shows it to everyone. Giselle does not want to believe. Then Hans blows his horn, and Batilda, his bride, appears before the bewildered count. Giselle is shocked by everything that happened, the bright world of her hopes and dreams is destroyed. The girl goes crazy and dies.

Act II

Night time, village cemetery. Here comes Hans, tormented by remorse. In the moonlight, led by Mirta, ghostly vilis appear - the shadows of brides who died before the wedding.

“Dressed in wedding dresses, crowned with flowers ... irresistibly beautiful, the wilis dance in the light of the moon, they dance the more passionately and faster, the more they feel that the hour given to them for dancing is running out, and they must again enter their graves, cold as ice... "(H. Heine)

The Wilis notice Hans. At a sign from Mirta, their frantic round dance begins to pursue the forester. Having become a wall in the way of Hans, vengeful shadows push him into the lake.

The ghostly figure of Giselle emerges from the cold grave. A wave of Mirta's hand, and Giselle gains strength. Noise is heard. The Wilis disappear into the mist.

Albert comes to the cemetery with flowers. Wilis immediately surround the young man. The terrible fate of the forester also threatens Albert. But Giselle's selfless immortal love protects Albert from the wrath of the vilis.