Photograph: Ross Brown,
courtesy of The Music Center
February 1, 2014 – The North American Premiere of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Giselle was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Gillian Murphy, RNZB Principal Guest Artist and star of American Ballet Theatre, danced Giselle, one of the most dramatic roles in the classical ballet repertoire.
Disguise and revelation, love and jealousy combine in this tragic tale. A love story unfolds against the ghostly backdrop of a Rhineland forest haunted by the fearful presence of the “Wilis” – vengeful spirits of abandoned brides. The beautiful peasant girl, Giselle, falls for Albrecht who conceals his identity to win her. The discovery of her lover’s deception shatters Giselle’s innocence and causes her to die of a broken heart. Albrecht is thrown into the hands of the merciless Wilis, but Giselle cannot bear to watch him die and returns as a ghost to save him.
Artistic director Ethan Stiefel and principal dancer Johan Kobborg have teamed-up to create a New “Giselle”. The new production delighted audiences with its large pit orchestra delivering brighter music, costuming was true and realistic to the period and dancers moved across the stage with great skill and beauty. Though considered one of the most difficult classical ballets, the Royal New Zealand Ballet performed flawlessly and was well received by generous applause and a final ovation from the audience. A fine performance indeed!