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 Post subject: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2002 1:26 am 
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The London critics are in rapture over Cojocaru's "Giselle", despite the well-publicised problems with her foot. Here is the link to our <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum17/HTML/000288.html" TARGET=_blank><B>preview and casting information</B></A><P><BR><B>Ravishing return that floats on latent passion</B><BR>by debra craine in The Times<BR>(5* out of 5)<BR> <BR> <BR>CHANGES are afoot at the Royal Ballet. We’ve already seen, with the most recent mixed bill, how the Australian Ross Stretton plans to give the company a new look, making it more contemporary, less classical. In a year or two it may be a very different company from the one you see at Covent Garden today. <P>But let’s hope one thing doesn’t change — the Royal Ballet’s ability to deliver an iconic 19th-century ballet with the shining credibility it gave Giselle last night. Thanks to its superb leading players — Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg — and a striking corps de ballet, this was a performance you couldn’t beat. <P><A HREF="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,685-244273,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><P>***********************************<P><B>Giselle</B> <BR>By Judith Mackrell in The Guardian<BR>(5 stars out of 5)<P><BR>The uncertainty last week over Alina Cojocaru's fitness to appear in Giselle may have suggested to her fans a fleeting, anxious parallel between art and life. The ballet's fragile, dance-mad heroine suffers from a chronically weak heart and her refusal to sit still contributes a small part to her tragedy. <P>Cojocaru has no such ailment, but she has been performing an astonishingly fierce schedule on an injured foot, and there was talk of her being ordered to rest. Yet while watchers of Cojocaru's meteoric career might worry about the possibility of early burn out, no one on Thursday could have wished that she was not on stage. For Giselle is unquestionably one of the roles for which she will go down in history. <P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4379269,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2002 11:58 am 
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I wish I had the time to write this up properly but I'll just say that Alina is everything the reviews say she is and more. She was just astonishing in Act I, so detailed and nuanced and she is a truely gifted actress. Her mad scene is so mesmerising I really can't find the worlds to describe. <P>And she and Johan are so well matched from their very first steps. Their partnership is really something special. The lifts were wonderful in their weightlessness. <P>And Johan himself, wow what a dancer! Those were just entrechat sixes right, because they looked like more! I just love how Judith Mackrell described him. <P>"Beneath his mild, handsome looks and heroically elegant dancing Kobborg always suggests there is unstable emotional ground, liable to erupt with hot passions and slow broiling obsessions." <P>I have the hardest time trying to get across to others who haven't seen him how much depth his dancing and acting has and I think that sums him up rather well! <P>I was also really impressed with how fantastic the corps were, not just their wonderful dancing but their menace in Act II as well. I'm in love with this production! Another perfect evening! This is what Giselle should be! My only gripe is how quiet the audience seemed to be, apart from cheering on Alina and Johan of course (and a flower shower too!) I keep thinking about what Natasha Oughtred said at one of the insight evenings about how much the dancers appreciate applause after a particularly difficult bit. I thought some dancers deserved a lot more than what they got like in the pas de six, but by now I'm used to that deathly pause before someone dares to start clapping and they probably are too. In any case I can't wait til Saturday - is anyone else going to be there?<P>Hmmm...wrote a bit more than I'd planned. Very hard to stop once I get going!


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2002 2:12 pm 
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'...wrote a bit more than I'd planned.' It's fine with us Sylvia! <P>I had a telephone chat with a friend who said much the same. Looks like I'll have to pencil in an early start for a day-seat on one of the days that Alina is dancing.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2002 2:23 pm 
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I can only agree with Sylvia, and with Debra Crane and Judith Mackerell: this is five and half stars out of five, it's so good. I very nearly missed last night's performance due to a last minute crisis. Am I glad that I didn't...This was one of the most satisfying evenings of ballet I've had for a very long time. <BR>Of course it starts, and ends, with Alina Cojacaru's performance; and the wonderfully sympathetic partnership with Johan Kobborg. But last night was more even than that fabulous partnership, great though that was. It's the stunningly atmospheric Act II. It's the excellence in depth of the corps, radiating vengeance in ghostly white. It's the subtleties of the lighting (again in particular Act II). It's the rustic settlement by the edge of the wood in Act I that defines the limits of Giselle's experience. It's all the little details and characterisations which help make the story ring true. Like Giselle's mother, while feeling the plump pigeon presented to her by Hilarion, clearly measuring him up as potential son-in-law territory. Like the poignancy of Myrtha's dance which one could imagine her performing in the days when she too was a young girl in love. Like the cool distain from David Drew's bluff King and Genesia Rosato's Berthe on discovering that Albrecht has been been playing away from home. <BR>But back to the key element - the partnership of Cojacaru and Kobborg. He's undeniably flesh and blood, she's anything but flesh and blood in Act II (and periously close to being ethereal in Act I too). Both of them are gloriously unmannered, elegant dancers, and on top form. Foot injury, what foot injury? Watching Cojacaru's performance in Act II one could easily imagine why it was that Carlotta Grisi's contempories on first seeing Giselle assumed that she was somehow defying gravity and floating over the stage. Sympathetic partnering by Kobborg? I think he's just written the textbook on how to partner in this particular ballet. <BR>Could it be better? Well, the pas de six in Act I was at times pedestrian and Justin Meissner was not entirely at ease with his double turns. And given that just about every other element of this ballet is beautifully rooted in telling a story or setting the scene, the presentation of the pas de six itself jars slightly - it's too obviously just an excuse for a bit more dancing by people who aren't Giselle, Albrecht or Hilarion. Oh, and surely there must be a way of ensuring that the door of the hut stays shut without all too clearly demonstrating (from the echo it makes on being shut) that it's made of plywood. <BR>But these are minor, minor points. Do yourself a favour and beg/borrow/steal a ticket to see this partnership in this production.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2002 5:42 pm 
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Cojocaru and Kobborg were outstanding, a historic Royal Ballet evening of international significance. A real partnership. I agree, you could write a textbook on the perfection of their performances. Yanowsky danced with awesome power. Tapper led the pas de six with grace, and lovely Ashtonian arms, supported well by Morera and Galeazzi. Cervera should have led the men, but had to support the enthusiastic but somewhat untidy Meissner and Harvey. The corps were superb. Valtat made a moving debut as Berthe. Classic characterisations from Drew and Rosato. There is one change in the production - Berthe now sends everyone off at the end of Act I, and the tableau has her alone with Giselle, very effective.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:04 pm 
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I haven't seen Cojacaru and Kobborg, but I bought a day-seat and watched Leanne Benjamin and Ethan Stiefel in Giselle yesterday (Saturday). It was very very good, and I agree with whoever said that the corps in Act II were genuinely scary, they were! I thought that Myrtha (Jaimie Tapper) was just right in the role, kind of....floaty! (I think I need a better vocabulary) Maybe ethereal is what I mean.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:11 pm 
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I can easily believe you tanzen. I saw Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta in "Giselle" at Sadler's Wells, during the closure period. It was an emotionally charged performance with fine dancing.<P>I was pleased to hear that Jamie Tapper did well in this role which is not easy to get right. She is gaining a strong reputation in a wide range of work - a very capable all-rounder. Just what a ballet company needs.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2002 5:06 am 
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<B>A heroine of touching clarity </B><BR>Financial Times; Mar 25, 2002<BR>By CLEMENT CRISP<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>It is the common fate of the heroine in many 19th-century ballets to pass through a cataclysmic test so that she may be most truly herself as the final curtain falls. Giselle must go mad and die to become the all-compassionate wili. Aurora must sleep for 100 years; the ballerina as Odette turns into the malign Odile; Raymonda survives Saracen threats; Aspicia in The Pharoah's Daughter drowns in the Nile before being restored to her lover; even Swanilda "becomes" the automaton Coppelia so that she may win her Frantz.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=020325001326&query=dance" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><P><BR>The Guardian - United Kingdom; Mar 25, 2002<BR>BY JUDITH MACKRELL<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>One man who has been regularly padding out the ranks of male dancers at the Royal Ballet is Ethan Stiefel, guesting from American Ballet Theatre. During the past couple of seasons he has danced Colas in La Fille Mal Gardee and Lensky in Onegin; now he is performing Albrecht in Giselle. The urbane elegance of Stiefel's demeanour and the athletic grace of his dancing have deservedly endeared him to audiences, but the fact that he had trouble moving into top tragic gear in Onegin prepared us for a Giselle in which, disappointingly, all the best effects come in act one.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=020325000379&query=dance" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2002 6:37 am 
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i will write more when i don't have a renaissance and gothic fiction papers due...in short...stieffel needs SERIOUS HELP with his 'albrecht' and benjamin and rojo were both fantastic giselle's, i'm CONVINCED that monica mason had some part in training both queens of the wilis that i saw, and Angel Corella is my favorite Albrecht next to Nureyev, hands down. more on this later. but i couldn't contain myself, even with the discomfort of standing room at the opera house, on saturday night. an outstanding performance. will elaborate later. hope someone else enjoyed it as much as i did. and yes, i did see giselle twice in the same day.


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2002 7:45 am 
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<B>No terror in land of the bland</B><BR>Giselle <BR>The Royal Ballet<BR>by Judith Flanders in The Evening Standard<P><BR>On a good day, Giselle is a peak of Romantic dance drama. The cheery realism of the first act descends into terror and madness, and the second act brings us the undead, the Wilis: ghosts of women betrayed by their lovers, doomed to dance to death any man who is foolish enough to cross their path. <P>For it to work, how ever, we have to believe that these are real people, going about their everydaylives, who suddenly realise that unspeakable horrors don't lurk only in the forest, that they are also within us all. Peter Wright's careful, period production is too safe. <P><A HREF="http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/hottx/theatre/top_dance_review.html?in_review_id=284892&in_review_text_id=499935" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited March 26, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2002 1:11 am 
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<B>GISELLE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE LONDON</B> <BR>BY NADINE MEISNER in The Independent <P><BR>AFTER THE 150th viewing, there are some ballets that pall for even the most committed spectator, but Giselle isn't one of them. This perfectly formed, two-act jewel has held audiences in its imaginative grip ever since its creation in 1841. It must be the emotional punch - transcending the quaint Rhineland setting, bouncy peasantry and Romantic stylisation - that gives it its timeless power.<P>Giselle's shock and hurt, when she discovers that Albrecht is a nobleman engaged to the luxurious Bathilde, are gut-wrenching feelings we can all recognise; her violent impulsiveness as she breaks in between the couple may be ill-mannered, but many of us would have done the same. And even if the second act's graveyard mysticism is pure fantasy, it resonates with anyone who has ached to talk to a dead friend or relative. <P><A HREF="http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=020327001190&query=ballet" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2002 6:54 pm 
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I caught Yoshida and Putrov in Giselle on Wednesday night. Yoshida was really exquisite, so light and lovely on her feet throughout Act I and her smile lit up the back of the amphitheatre. She is so musical. Putrov failed to come across so well. I was with a lot of first-time ballet goers and during the interval, while the general consensus was that Yoshida was fantastic we felt that Putrov was too introverted, not nearly as expressive. One friend commented that she couldn't really see why Giselle would fall for his Albrecht.<P>Act II was as always superb. I can't say enough how good I think the corps are and how different they seem from the Shades of Bayadere. Yoshida was fantastic, so much restrained passion I thought. Putrov I think plays the sombre despairing prince much better than the joyful happy in love one (or the conniving cad, however you prefer to look at it). I would have thought he'd make a good Siegfried but I have some doubts about his partnering which was a tiny bit shaky at the start and the lifts weren't as smooth and weightless as...well Kobborg's but it's really unfair to compare the two so I'll stop right here. Technically he's brilliant. His dancing towards the end of the ballet was amazing to watch. But I think he has a long way to go in terms of expressing himself. He seems to hold something back when he dances. I don't see his personality, nor do I see the character of Albrecht. I think it's quite interesting that both Dowell and Stretton have cast him in Month in the Country and Stretton used him as an understudy in Margeurite & Armand. And it's good that he's been given so many principal role opportunities because I hope they push him to bring a little emotion into him.<P>Galeazzi was a little shaky at the start I thought but was wonderful as her solos progressed. I really enjoy her in this role. <P>The pas de six were not so good - Morera, Meissner, Davies, Raine, Cervera and Howells. Their unison was really off, their arms looked tense and they didn't look comfortable throughout. <P>The orchestra was pretty bad. There was a duff note right from the start that nobody missed and provoked much mirth where I was sitting. Those first-time ballet goers were mostly musicians and were stunned at the difference to the way the orchestra had played from the opera the night before. Still they adored Act II and continued to rave about it in the days after. Nice how many complete converts Giselle is churning out. I don't think the amphitheatre is ideal for Giselle. Act II looked fantastic but I was longing to see Yoshida's face in Act I. Her mad scene was very effective though I thought.<p>[This message has been edited by sylvia (edited March 28, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2002 11:45 pm 
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Short titbit in The independent found via the FT site.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Peter Wright's staging of Giselle is a perennial favourite. First performed in 1841, the ballet was inspired by the tale of a peasant girl who killed herself after discovering that the man she loved was betrothed to another.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=020330001427&query=ballet" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited March 30, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2002 11:44 pm 
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A small review in The Sunday Times (please scroll down).<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>As a feat of storytelling through dance, it would be hard to better Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in the Royal Ballet’s Giselle. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/article/0,,187-249293,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And in The Observer. (Please scroll down).<P>[quote]Giselle has endured because of the power of the Wilis. Without them, the peasant girl's betrayal would be simply sentimental. The village scene sets up the characters; the haunting in the woods reveals who they are by how they dance. <P><A HREF="http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,676361,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited March 31, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Royal Ballet's "Giselle" 2002
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2002 12:19 am 
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Many thanks to Kevin Ng for directing us to the new NYCB news service:<P><B>A Star Leaves Her Sick Bed And Soars</B> <BR>By Jenny Gilbert in The Independent<P> <BR>There is nothing like a threat of cancellation for sharpening the expectation of pleasure. Only days ago word went out that Alina Cojocaru, the Royal Ballet's 20-year- old Romanian star, lately the company's premier ticket-shifter, was to withdraw from her entire run of Giselle. An old metatarsal injury has been playing up, and doctors were advising rest - just like Giselle's old mum in the ballet, wagging her finger at the frisky girl who insists on joining in the village dances, heedless of the heart complaint that threatens her life. Instead, Cojocaru went against advice and played Giselle. And it was the audience who landed up with the heart condition - the happy condition of being full to bursting. <P><A HREF="http://www.nycballet.com/news/2002/03/31/INDT/0000-3150-KEYWORD.Missing.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><BR>


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