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Giselle / Dutch National Ballet

5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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(Jan 26, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Giselle is a dramatic and timeless tale of love, deception, revenge and forgiveness. An enchanting classical ballet from the Romantic era, Giselle was first performed in 1841. The ballet's combination of dramatic acting, virtuoso technique and ethereal beauty continues to enthrall audiences around the world. Dutch National Ballet's new production, by the creative partnership of Rachel Beaujean and Ricardo Bustamante, is based on the original ballet by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. With additional choreography by Beaujean and Bustamante, atmospheric designs by Toer van Schayk and a captivating international cast, this Giselle will make a beautiful addition to every ballet-lover's collection. Recorded live at the Muziektheater Amsterdam, in February 2009, in High Definition and surround sound.

Cast list:
Giselle: Anna Tsygankova
Count Albrecht: Jozef Varga
Myrtha: Igone de Jongh
Hilarion: Jan Zerer
Pas de quatre: Michele Jimenez, Maia Makhateli, Mathieu Gremillet, Arthur Shesterikov
Zulme: Anu Viheriäranta
Moyna: Emanouela Merdjanova
Bathilde: Natasja Lucassen
Berthe: Jeanette Vondersaar

'At the premiere Tsygankova triumphed: incredible how she uses her rock-solid control to suggest the embodiment of lightness.' - NRC Handelsblad

'Tsygankova is well-matched by the powerful dancing of Jozef Varga, who perfectly inhabited the role of Count Albrecht.' - De Volkskrant


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Adolphe Adam, Anna Tsygankova, Jozef Varga, Boris Gruzin
  • Directors: Jeff Tudor, Adrienne Liron
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: KULTUR VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VR9QY6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,341 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I own many performances of "Giselle" but this is, by far, my favorite. It's possible to find a DVD performance with a more stellar touch here or there; but, overall, this performance is as close to perfection in all aspects of production as one is likely to find. High praise, I know, but I think it's merited.

There is an overall "ensemble" feel to this performance. Everyone seems to be operating at the same level of excellence and commitment and on the same "wave" as to interpretation. The synchronization of the corps - whether manifested by a single couple, several couples together or the whole company - is exceptional. Quite honestly, I have seen productions by world-famous companies (no names mentioned) which fall far, far below the standards exhibited by this company. If they dance like this all the time, they should be at the top of anyone's list!

Not only are they together as a group, but there is a singular grace and ease to their dancing that one doesn't always see. They are, in fact, so unified in style and execution that one can easily overlook just how wonderful they are. They make it seem so easy and normative that one forgets how exceptional what they do really is. I wish I knew more about the different national "schools"; but there is something about this performance as a whole and in the individual style of each dancer which reminds me of Russia. There isn't a moment of stiffness in anything they do, no matter how complicated; easeful, fluid grace is the best I can do as a description, and they seem to enjoy what they're doing. If the steps are racking them with pain, there is not the slightest indication of it for the audience.
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I've read elsewhere that this is an 'old-fashioned' version of the much loved classic and the first act is certainly what you would expect.Jolly villagers cavort in a bucolic setting in the usual way and the betrayal of Giselle is expertly played out by Tsygankova and Varga who are beautiful to watch.The mad scene is heart-wrenching and although some camerawork is too far from the action conversely there are fewer close-ups of perspiring dancers (thank goodness) so it all works as a well-produced piece.Having several versions of the work I thought this one was developing well,until the second act which confirmed my reasons for buying the dvd after seeing it streamed on a website.Finally there was a Myrtha (Igone de Jongh) who not only looks the part but plays it as the icy cold Queen of the Wilis she is meant to be.No matronly leader of lost girls here- for although impressive grand jetes floated her across the stage,even better was the intensity she put into the characterisation of the role.This was a Myrtha totally implacable and inflexible which made the appeals by Giselle even more despairing and moving as she attempts to save Albrecht.So the drama is played out with the background corps de ballet moving well and being given loud applause by an appreciative audience.Anna Tsygankova and Jozef Varga are flawless,Hilarion again catches our sympathy and dies well to round out an exceptional second act which is enough in itself to buy this version.The additions and changes to music and choreography didn't interfere thankfully while the 5.1 surround sound is what we've come to expect so if you want to see how the second act should be done, this is the version to have.And as a bonus- how interesting it is to see interviews of the principals compared to their stage personas !
5 Comments 33 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This DVD preserves a performance by the Dutch National Ballet that took place in February 2009. Their Giselle was then a new production by Rachel Beaujean und Riccardo Bustamante (and considering that such productions usually stay in the repertory for a long time, it is still very new). The beautiful designs by Toer van Schayk look like 19th century paintings with their careful choice of colour and use of light. The painted backdrop for the first act shows the Rhine (in particular, the region between Bonn and Koblenz where there are hills and castles on both sides), a river that was a source of inspiration for romantic poets and travelers.
Although the stage designs are quite detailed (Giselle's hut has a gate), the Amsterdam stage itself is so spacious it never looks cluttered. The two sides of the Romantic era are conveyed exemplarily as the first act looks warm, sunny and folksy whereas the second act is closer to the dark, gothic atmosphere of some of Heinrich Heine's poetry. I especially liked the first entrance of the wilis and the way they form a circle around Myrtha like a sinister sisterhood, supported by very effective positioning of the camera somewhere high up. The wilis here also keep on their veils longer, which adds to the ghostly, spectral atmosphere.
If you have seen other performances of this ballet you will probably notice that in the first act there is a peasant pas de quatre and not a pas de deux like they have in Paris and Milan, or a pas de six (Royal Ballet). It gives more than two dancers the chance to shine and supports the idea of the village being a community, thus plausibly dealing with the problem that I always thought comes up when there is a Peasant Pas de Deux: who are these people and why do they dance this divertissement.
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Giselle / Dutch National Ballet
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