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The Royal Ballet: Giselle

The greatest of all Romantic ballets, Peter Wright’s production of Marius Petipa’s classic is a tale of betrayal, the supernatural and love that transcends death. Starring Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov.

Giselle transformed the dance world when it was first performed in Paris in 1841 and remains at the centre of the classical repertory. Giselle’s essence has remained the same through many different productions in well over a century of continuous performance. Peter Wright’s production for The Royal Ballet filmed in 2016 is based on Marius Petipa’s classic version (after the original 1841 choreography by Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli), which was first staged in St Petersburg in 1884.

The role of Giselle provides the dancer with many technical and dramatic challenges, from the character’s early love to her poignant descent into madness and her final gesture of forgiveness from beyond the grave. The first act of the ballet is filled with historical detail and rustic colour. By contrast, the second, ‘white’ act plunges the audience into an eerie moonlit forest haunted by the ethereal Wilis. With its combination of memorable story and exquisite choreography, Giselle is the perfect way to discover classical ballet.

Recorded in 2016.

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