"Giselle," one of the most popular works from the classical ballet repertoire will be presented by Gwinnett Ballet Theatre at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 30, in the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.
“Giselle” is the story of a young peasant girl who falls in love with a young nobleman in disguise. The ballet begins in a small village where young Giselle meets and engages in a flirtatious relationship with Albrecht, who though dressed as a peasant is actually one of the nobility. From this first meeting love develops, much to the chagrin of Hilarion, another young suitor for Giselle’s affections.
When a hunting party of nobility, which includes Albrecht’s fiancée, arrive at the village, Hilarion reveals Albrecht’s true identity. The fragile Giselle, overcome by betrayal and grief, dies, much to the horror of Albrecht and Hilarion.
The second act is one of the most famous in all of ballet. Set in a graveyard, the evil Queen of the Willis, Myrtha, appears and summons her spirits. The Willi are the ghosts of young girls who have lost in life and love, and who hate men. These spirits capture men walking along the road beside the cemetery at night and force them to dance until they die.
Soon a remorseful Albrecht arrives to visit Giselle’s grave. Although he cannot see her, Albrecht can sense Giselle’s presence. Myrtha appears and demands he dance to his death, but Giselle’s love supports and sustains him until the dawn when the Willis lose their power, thus saving his life.
The ballet was first performed in 1841 in Paris, but it is the Russian revivals from the late 19th century with choreography by Marius Petipa that are most familiar to contemporary audiences.
“Giselle” is choreographed for GBT by Artistic Director Wade Walthall. This version follows the traditional format but has been streamlined and updated to make it accessible to modern audiences. Much of the more complicated mime sequences have been shortened and simplified.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, with $11 tickets per person for groups of 10 or more. They can be purchased at the Gwinnett Center Box Office or at any Ticketmaster location.
For more information, contact Gwinnett Ballet Theatre at 770-237-0046 or visit www.gwinnettballet.org.