Giselle

April 12–14, 2019

Fierce love, betrayal and dance.

One of the most prolific and popular ballets of all time, Giselle tells the story of a peasant girl who descends into madness and ultimately dies of a broken heart after learning that her beloved is betrothed to someone else. With elements of the supernatural and incredibly technical and emotional dancing, this important piece of art is a visual treat for Memphis. "A must-see ballet"—Cennarium America

PERFORMANCES
Friday, Apr 12, 7:30p
Saturday, Apr 13, 7:30p
Sunday, Apr 14, 2p

HISTORY OF AN ICONIC BALLET

Set in the Middle Ages, this two-act ballet premiered at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris on Monday, June 28, 1842. Carlotta Grisi, a prima ballerina hailing from Italy, performed in the title role. This was an instant hit and made its way across Europe. However, the version choreographed by Marius Petipa during the turn of the twentieth century is the one that is frequently revised today. The tragic story of Giselle has been one of the most popular ballets for over 150 years. The role of Giselle demands much of the ballerina both technically and artistically. Giselle, a poor country maiden, falls madly in love with a young man, a prince parading as a commoner. After learning of this deception, Giselle takes her life and is transformed into a Willi (a ghost). When all the Willis try to revenge her lost love, Giselle defends her former love, saving his life and earning eternal peace. This ballet is the ultimate story of love and forgiveness.

One of the most beloved works from the classical repertoire, Giselle is a challenging undertaking for any company... a visual feast, featuring stunning costumes, evocative lighting and gorgeous scenery.
Jeffrey Ellis, Broadway World

Details

ACT 1:

The story begins as the townspeople of a medieval German village prepare to celebrate the recent grape harvest. Giselle, a beautiful peasant girl with a feeble heart, lives in the village with her protective mother, Berthe. The local gameskeeper, Hilarion, is enamored with Giselle and hopes to dance with her at the festival and then to someday marry her. But during one of his hunting excursions, Prince Albrecht likewise becomes enthralled with Giselle. He decides to disguise himself as a peasant named Loys in order to pursue her, even though he is already betrothed to the Duchess Bathilde.

Unbeknownst to Berthe, Giselle meets the disguised Albrecht, and the two fall in love. They dance together at the festival and pledge their love before being interrupted by a jealous Hilarion. Albrecht ultimately chases him away before the villagers arrive to dance and celebrate. Berthe chastises Giselle for dancing as it is sinful and may threaten her weak heart. Berthe reminds her daughter of the Wilis, the demonic spirits of virgin brides who die before their wedding day, fated to rise from their graves and kill any man who wanders into the woods.

As Bathilde approaches the festival accompanied by her father, the Prince, the disguised Albrecht runs off, lest he be discovered. Giselle and Bathilde are drawn to each other, and each shares that she is in love and engaged. As a sign of affection for the girl, Bathilde gives Giselle a necklace before departing.

Hilarion discovers that Loys is a nobleman, and he interrupts the festival carrying Albrecht’s discovered sword. Hilarion uses a hunting horn to summon the hunting party, and Bathilde and her father return to discover Albrecht dressed as a peasant. She declares that she is betrothed to Albrecht, devastating Giselle.

Giselle descends into madness and as her mother tries to console her, the feelings of grief and betrayal consume her and she dies of a broken heart.

ACT 2:

Giselle is buried in unconsecrated ground in the dark forest where the Wilis are known to gather. Legend has it that any man caught in the forest between midnight and dawn will be captured by the Wilis’ spell and forced to dance to his death. A grieving Hilarion visits Giselle’s grave before realizing it is near midnight; he quickly flees after placing a wooden cross. Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, appears. She summons the Wilis and uses a branch of rosemary to remind each spirit of the men who betrayed their love. As Myrtha announces the arrival of the newest Wili, Giselle is called from her grave to be initiated into their group.

Suddenly the guilty and grief-stricken Albrecht emerges from the woods and kneels before Giselle’s grave. Her ghost appears and he runs to follow her apparition. Hilarion returns and is ensnared by the Wilis and is forced to dance to his death. Myrtha discovers Albrecht. She casts a spell to hold him in her power. Giselle appears before Albrecht and instructs him to go to her grave and hold onto the cross as protection from the Wilis. Giselle pleads with Myrtha to free Albrecht but she refuses and instead forces Giselle to dance. Albrecht, unable to resist Giselle’s beauty, leaves the protection of the cross and dances once again with her.

But as dawn appears, he realizes that he is saved as the Wilis must depart. Giselle must depart as well, and as she accepts her fate as a Wili, she slowly disappears into her grave.

Act 1 Cast

Giselle: Virginia Pigrim Ramey

Albrecht: Brandon Ramey

Albrecht’s Squire: Steven McMahon 

Hilarion: Ricardo Dyer  

Berthe: Gabriela Moros-Diaz

Duke: TBA

Bathilde: Julie Marie Niekrasz  

Bathilde’s Maidens: TBA

Pas de Quatre: Oscar Fernandez, Eileen Frazer, Cecily Khuner, Ryan Nicolas

Female Peasants: Iori Araya, Felecia Baker, Ashley Hannah Davis, Alexis Hedge, Lilit Hogtanian, Mei Kotani, Lydia McRae, Nicole Zadra 

Male Peasants: Jonathan David Dummar, Pablo Sanchez, Nathanael Santiago, Richard Pena 

 

Act 2 Cast

Giselle: Virginia Pilgrim Ramey

Albrecht: Brandon Ramey

Hilarion: Ricardo Dyer 

Myrtha: Crystal Brothers

Demi Soloists: Lilit Hogtanian, Mei Kotani

Wilis: Iori Araya, Felecia Baker, Ashley Hannah Davis, Eileen Frazer, Alexis Hedge, Cecily Khuner, Lydia McRae, Nicole Zadra 

"[Giselle is a top-three must see ballet because] the whole thing from the music to the choreography to the costumes to everything is done so incredibly well."—Misty Copeland (see her rehearsing the lead role at https://bit.ly/2S4fqT6)


"Considered one of the most popular ballets, Giselle is usually staged somewhere almost all of the time. The romantic ballet has attracted the best dancers in its leading roles since its creation. Giselle's ballet-blanc, or corps of women in white, has become a symbol of classical ballet—ThoughtCo.com https://bit.ly/2UYjCFt