Review | ‘Giselle’ from West Australian Ballet is stunningly beautiful

Giselle WA Ballet

West Australian Ballet: Giselle | His Majesty’s Theatre  | Until 22 May | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Under the stewardship of Artistic Director Aurélien Scannella and his wife, choreographer Sandy Delasalle, Giselle has become one of the West Australian Ballet’s most performed works.

It’s a flawless presentation, steeped in tradition, brimming with romance and showcase the dancers world class skills in not only dance, but performance.

The classic story begins in a small village and centres on the home of the beautiful Giselle, and her mother Berthe. The young girl has fallen in love with Albrecht, a new man in town, little does she know he is the Duke of Silesia. He’s disguised himself as a commoner to go among the people, and soon he asked Giselle to be his bride. Hilarion, the local gamekeeper, is also in love with Giselle, and he suspects his rival may be more than he presents himself as.

The Prince of Courtland, travelling with his daughter Bathilde, stops in the village at Giselle’s cottage. Giselle admires Bathilde’s clothes, and Bathidle is return notices Giselle’s beauty. They begin chatting, and discover they are both engaged to be married- little do they know it’s to the same man, as Albrecht has long been promised to Bathilde. Hilarion exposes the deception and Giselle is so inconsolable, she dies of heartbreak.

The second half of the ballet is set in the forest around Giselle’s grave. Hilarion arrives to place flowers but is chased away by the Wilis, supernatural spirits of betrothed maidens who died of heartbreak. The Queen of the Wilis appears to induct Giselle into their body, they lure any passersby into the sphere and then make them dance until they die of exhaustion.

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When Albrecht visits Giselle’s grave she appears, and forgives him for his actions. When Hilarion also returns to the forest both are caught under the power of the Wilis, and forced to dance until their exhausted. Giselle dances with Albrecht, protecting him throughout the night, but Hilarion is lost and dies. As dawn breaks the power of the Wilis is destroyed, Giselle disappears with them, and Albrecht is left with his heartbreak and sorrow.

The opening night saw brilliant performances from Dayana Hardy Acuna is the role of Giselle, Oscar Valdes leapt through the air as Albrecht and Juan Carlos Osma was magnificent as Hilarion.

There was also outstanding performances from Kiki Saito as Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, and the combined work of all the ballerinas in the Wilis chorus was remarkable. Throughout the show there was a balance of tender and romantic moments, and high energy performances that showcases the dancers remarkable skill.

This year is the 180th anniversary of the ballet first being performed. Long established as one of the cornerstone works of ballet, it’s lot none of its romanticism or beauty over the decades and centuries.

See Giselle at his Majesty’s Theatre, tickets are on sale now for the remaining performances

Graeme Watson

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