1. THE ‘NIGHT WATCH’ OF DUTCH NATIONAL BALLET
The inaugural production of Giselle, choreographed by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, was met with such acclaim at its world premiere in Paris that it was performed across numerous Western European cities, Russia and America within just five years. Over 180 years and countless adaptations later, Giselle still reigns supreme in popularity and has etched itself as an indispensable piece in the classical ballet tradition. Rachel Beaujean, Associate Artistic Director of Dutch National Ballet, remarks, “Iconic ballets like Giselle are pivotal when it comes to setting an international benchmark for your company. Just as the Rijksmuseum wouldn't be itself without Rembrandt's masterpieces, we hold a similar sentiment: these ballets are our legacy. In a manner of speaking, Giselle is our 'Night Watch’.”
2. NEW VERSION BY RACHEL BEAUJEAN AND RICARDO BUSTAMANTE
Dutch National Ballet's rendition of Giselle never fails to captivate audiences. Created in 2009 by Rachel Beaujean and former principal dancer Ricardo Bustamante, this interpretation has charmed audiences not only in the Netherlands but also in Spain, China, Colombia and beyond. Drawing inspiration from Marius Petipa's 1887 Giselle for the Imperial Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Beaujean and Bustamante have breathed new life into this enduring ballet.
3. TOUCHING STORY ABOUT IMPOSSIBLE LOVE
The narrative of Giselle resonates deeply, with its themes being both timeless and universal. The character of Giselle believes she has discovered her true love in Albrecht, but he harbours secrets, not the least of which is his engagement to someone else. The revelation is too much for Giselle to bear, leading to a tragic outcome. Yet, even in death, her capacity for love and forgiveness remains. This tragic tale of impossible love and betrayal continues to fascinate and move audiences worldwide.
4. COSTUMES AND DECORS BY TOER VAN SCHAYK
When many envision Giselle, they are often drawn to the ethereal second act, with the female corps de ballet adorned in long white tutus and veils. For the production by Rachel Beaujean and Ricardo Bustamante, these iconic costumes, along with the other costumes and the enchanting sets, were created by Toer van Schayk. As a former resident choreographer of Dutch National Ballet, Van Schayk's artistic touch can also be seen in current productions like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Notably, he choreographed the majority of the second act for the latter.
5. CAPTIVATING MUSIC BY ADOLPHE ADAM
The enchanting music of Giselle transports audiences to the golden era of romance. Composed by the French maestro Adolphe Adam (1803-1856), the score is lively, harmonious and engaging. Pioneering for its time, it is among the earliest ballets to incorporate leitmotifs: identifiable themes associated with specific characters, events or emotions. The music is performed by Dutch Ballet Orchestra.