Dutch National Ballet presents
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Giselle is both one of the most romantic works in the classical ballet repertoire as well as among the most demanding, calling for the soloists to cultivate a profound dramatic and emotional empathy with the characters.
Giselle is one of the earliest ballets and still popular around the globe. With its lively, colourful opening act, gripping Mad Scene and ensuing unearthly pure White Act, the ballet has become a fixture in the romantic-classical repertoire. Since its première in 1841, the story of love, deception, betrayal and forgiveness has given rise to countless interpretations. Dutch National Ballet has previously staged versions by the Russian Natalia Orlovskaja and British Sir Peter Wright. In 2009 it got its ‘own’ production, created by Rachel Beaujean and Ricardo Bustamante, which has captured the hearts of ballet enthusiasts from China to Colombia.
More than skin-deep
In their adaptation, Beaujean and Bustamante ‘revitalised’ the scenes to make them more engaging and meaningful for twenty-first century audiences, while still honouring the ballet's tradition. The same applies to the stunning set and costume designs by Toer van Schayk. Above all, Beaujean and Bustamante seek to emphasise the narrative emotion and intensity, because: ‘When done right, Giselle goes more than skin-deep.’
Giselle tells the story of a duke who falls in love with an innocent peasant girl and, by concealing his true identity, deceives her and ultimately dooms them both. As a tale about an impossible love, the themes in Giselle are as current as ever, and so, too, is the artistic eloquence of this new production. Beaujean: ‘The choreography, the composition of the dances, is phenomenal. Giselle never gets old. It is like the Night Watch – timeless.’
‘First lady’ Rachel Beaujean
Rachel Beaujean co-created Giselle with Ricardo Bustamante following her earlier adaptations of Les Sylphides and Paquita. This is her first full-length production. As a dancer with Dutch National Ballet for twenty years, Beaujean made her reputation as Hans van Manen's muse. After her dance career she became the company’s ballet master, and in 2003 was appointed head of the artistic staff. At her fortieth anniversary with the company (a first in the Dutch dance world!) in 2017 Beaujean was promoted to ‘first lady’ of Dutch National Ballet as its associate artistic director, and was also made an Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau.
Choreography Marius Petipa, after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
Production and additional Choreography Rachel Beaujean and Ricardo Bustamante
Music Adolphe Adam
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
conducted by Boris Gruzin
Dutch Ballet Orchestra
Since its inception in 1965, the orchestra has been proud to accompany its partners, Dutch National Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. The working method is unique in the Netherlands. Dutch Ballet Orchestra, with Matthew Rowe as principal conductor, consists of a regular core of 45 musicians, supported where necessary by highly qualified guest performers. This gives the orchestra its unique character: flexible, dynamic and high-quality. Dutch Ballet Orchestra combines music and dance into a magical experience: from classical ballet to modern dance, and from music education to talent development. The orchestra’s mission is to create an optimal synthesis between music and dance, in order to reach dance-lovers and ballet music enthusiasts, as well as children and youngsters. The orchestra has received several international awards for its educational projects, including the Young Audiences Music Award in 2016 for Creatures, a collaborative project with dance company ISH.
‘Giselle is, in a word, overwhelming: the sets and costumes are all works of art in their own right and the strong choreographies hypnotising. Yet it is the emotional resonance and expressive pantomime that make the production so imposing.’
‘Giselle is a ballet of unabating beauty in which a compelling story is paired with spellbinding ballet technique.’