The WA Ballet celebrates the 180th anniversary of ‘Giselle’

When Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot premiered their new full-length ballet in 1841 Paris, needless to say they couldn’t have predicted Giselle would become a cornerstone work of romantic Classical Ballet over the next 180 years.

Commonly known as ‘ballet’s great tragedy’, it’s in 2021 that West Australian Ballet celebrate this milestone with their own acclaimed version of the work, opening at His Majesty’s Theatre on 13 May.

“Giselle is a work that looks at a misleading love, it transports you as you feel all of Giselle’s emotions and heartbreak as Albrecht deceives her. It’s a work that Sandy and I danced many times and one that is very meaningful to us,” said Aurélien Scannella, Artistic Director of West Australian Ballet.

“Our version was the first full length ballet we created for the people of WA and it remains true to Coralli and Perrot’s original, with the inclusion of many beautiful details from the versions we danced,” Scannella said.

West Australian Ballet’s acclaimed Giselle premiered in 2014 after being choreographed for the Company by Scannella and Principal Rehearsal Director and Artistic Associate Sandy Delasalle. The work which has so far been seen by over 23,500 people, remains one of West Australian Ballet’s most popular Classical Ballets.

The historic production follows peasant girl Giselle as she falls in love with Albrecht, a prince in disguise. When she discovers he’s engaged to another, her grief becomes unbearable and she dies of a broken heart, with her spirit joining the ghostly Wilis.

The Wilis, which see 15 dancers take to the stage in white romantic tutus, are vengeful ghosts of women who had been scorned by past lovers. The Wilis lure men into the forest to make them dance until they die.

A further historic element to the transcendental work is Adolphe Adam’s powerful score, which will be played live by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra under the direction of talented Western Australian Conductor Jessica Gethin.

Giselle is showing at His Majesty’s Theatre for 11 shows from 13 to 22 May including a new mid-week matinee, tickets are available via

Images: Frances Andrijich and Wunderman Thompson

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