I went to watch the last night of Giselle at the Opera House moments ago, and thought of sharing my experience with fellow members.
"Tonight's performance was the best ever, especially Act 2.
Dancing the role for the countless time, Leanne Benjamin never fail to show a fresh new side of Giselle. One is never tired of watching her portraying the frail and gentle beauty. For the 2 shows that I have seen, Leanne is like a budding flower, constantly unfolding each petal of feminity and innocence. It is poetry in motion. Her dancing in Act 1 was delivered with enormous vitality and life. In her mad scene, she just got better and better, and more convincing then ever. It was heart breaking to see her soul and love crumple into pieces.
Edward Watson is emerging with brilliance with his dancing and acting. In Act 1, he was much better than his opening performance on the 15th March. He left most of his boyishness behind, and brought out a more manly, authoritative character as Court Albercht. During his courtship to Giselle, he maintained and enhanced his cheekiness and affectionate side of the character and also his humiliated side when he was exposed, which showed some humanity. His continual affections towards Giselle was written all over his face. He embraces her with his soft look towards her direction, when she was across the stage from him. His dance technique improved since 15th March too. Perhaps it must be the opening and first performance vibes that caused him to be nervous and reserved... Nevertheless, tonight's performance was extremely outstanding.
Personally, it was Act 2 that swept me off my feet, and brought the entire house down. Firstly, I have to say, the corp de ballet was truly remarkable tonight. Their arabesques were extremely strong and their lines and body lines were well-defined. Very very impressive.
Both Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson danced with conviction and such strong emotions. Each of their solos, were executed with excellent performance and technique. It was PERFECT. They delivered a new level, a new class of Giselle and Albrecht.
Leanne danced her solos and her pas de deux effortlessly, her landings were as light as feather, and her adagio was performed with etherality. On her entrance, when she had to do her spins, she was quick, agile and precise, and coming out of it, she changed the dynamic of the movement, creating a new climatic moment.
Edward's solos in Act 2 was breathtaking. His bravura leaps, beats and pirouettes were clean and sustained. He made it looked very very well-rehearsed and well-thought, and of course, without a doubt, effortless too. His acting in Act 2 is better than what he did on the 15th March. He wasn't just dancing the character, he had made the audience believed that he IS Albrecht. One could feel his remorse, and pain and his broken heart when he kneeled at Giselle's grave. His 'heart' may be broken, but through him and his dancing, it has touched the many hearts of the audience.
I don't think I need to say much about their pas de deux. Both principles supports each other both physically and emotionally. It felt like time was at a standstill when the two of them did their pas de deux. The connection between them was beyond the ethereal world. It was the most heartbreaking when Giselle exits... and Albrecht left sorrowfully alone on stage.
Their performance was extremely convincing, it did not just touched the hearts of the audience, but left tears in our eyes, (well, I know the lady beside me and I were touched to tears)."
However, John Percival mentioned, "
In the big solos we have come to expect far stronger jumps than he can provide, and his acting has flamboyant gestures rather than convincing character.
Personally, I felt in this final performance, Edward Watson solo has made his mark as a classical male principal. His jumps were well sustained, light and high, his pirouettes were neat, controlled and executed with excitement. One can see that his presentation were very much the fruit of English Classical Ballet training.
Looking forward to him as Siegfield and Rudolf.