News

A Milestone Giselle

October 10, 2019

Greta Hodgkinson’s Final Giselle
Sonia Rodriguez Celebrates 30 Glorious Years
Jillian Vanstone Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Debuts by Heather Ogden and Brendan Saye
 
Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced the principal casting for Giselle which will feature several milestone events as well as important debuts. Giselle opens the 2019/20 season, which celebrates Ms. Kain’s 50th anniversary with the company, and is onstage November 6 – 10, 2019 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. #GiselleNBC
 
Principal Dancer Greta Hodgkinson will dance the role of Giselle for a final time before she retires in March 2020. A gifted dancer possessed of immaculate technique and dramatic power in equal measure, Ms. Hodgkinson is a remarkable interpreter of great classical roles such as the title role in Giselle. Ms. Hodgkinson’s final Giselle will take place on November 9 at 7:30 pm opposite one of her long-time National Ballet partners Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté as Albrecht.
 
One of the most versatile and dynamic dancers at the National Ballet, Principal Dancer Sonia Rodriguez has captivated audiences for the past 30 years. With her effortless physicality and total immersiveness into her characters, Ms. Rodriguez has excelled in leading roles throughout the classical and contemporary repertoires. She will be honoured by the company on November 8 at 7:30 when she will dance the title role in Giselle opposite fellow Principal Dancer Francesco Gabriele Frola as Albrecht.
 
Principal Dancer Jillian Vanstone has delighted audiences for two decades with her vivacity, charm and unique musicality. Renowned for the crisp attack of her technique and skilled characterizations, Ms. Vanstone fully embodies challenging roles that demand a full dramatic arc such as Giselle. She will dance Giselle opposite Mr. Frola as Albrecht and will be celebrated on November 10 at 2:00 pm.
 
Making their debuts this season in the lead roles are Principal Dancers Heather Ogden and Brendan Saye, who was recently promoted, on November 7 at 7:30 pm.
 
The opening night on November 6 at 7:30 pm will feature Principal Dancers Svetlana Lunkina and Harrison James as Giselle and Albrecht. Principal Dancers Elena Lobsanova and Naoya Ebe will dance the lead roles on November 7 at 2:00 pm.
 
Giselle is considered by many to be the quintessential Romantic ballet. A haunting tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness, Giselle is the story of a young peasant girl who is overcome with grief and madness by her lover’s deception. Upon her death, she is transported into the ghostly world of the Wilis, the spirits of betrayed young women. The title role has always been a touchstone and a proving ground for the world’s greatest prima ballerinas, not simply for the enormous technical demands the choreography poses, but for the intensity and depth of emotional commitment that it requires.
 
Since its premiere with the company in 1970, Sir Peter Wright's Giselle has been a mainstay of the National Ballet's classical repertoire. Giselle features sets and costumes by Desmond Heeley with lighting by Gil Wechsler and music by Adolphe Adam.
 
Principal Casting
Giselle
Svetlana Lunkina (November 6 at 7:30 pm/November 9 at 2:00 pm)
Elena Lobsanova (November 7 at 2:00 pm)
Heather Ogden* (November 7 at 7:30 pm)
Sonia Rodriguez (November 8 at 7:30 pm)
Greta Hodgkinson (November 9 at 7:30 pm)
Jillian Vanstone (November 10 at 2:00 pm)
 
Albrecht
Harrison James (November 6 at 7:30 pm/November 9 at 2:00 pm)
Naoya Ebe (November 7 at 2:00 pm)
Brendan Saye* (November 7 at 7:30 pm)
Francesco Gabriele Frola (November 8 at 7:30 pm/November 10 at 2:00 pm)
Guillaume Côté (November 9 at 7:30 pm)
 
* Debut
 
Additional principal casting to be announced, all casting is subject to change.
 
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BMO Financial Group presents the 2019/20 Season.

Giselle was produced as a memorial to the late William P. Walker and was made possible through the courtesy of many generous friends of the National Ballet.
Guillaume Côté is sponsored through Dancers First by Emmanuelle Gattuso, C.M. and Allan Slaight, C.M.

Naoya Ebe is sponsored through Dancers First by Gretchen Ross.

Francesco Gabriele Frola is sponsored through Dancers First by Sherry and Edward Drew.

Harrison James is sponsored through Dancers First by Lucy White.

Elena Lobsanova is sponsored through Dancers First by Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan.

Svetlana Lunkina is sponsored through Dancers First by Anna McCowan-Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C.

Heather Ogden is sponsored through Dancers First by Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin.

Brendan Saye is sponsored through Dancers First by Robin Vaile Robinson. 

Jillian Vanstone is sponsored through Dancers First by George & Kathy Dembroski.

The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the City of Toronto through the Economic Development & Culture Department; the Government of Canada – Department of Canadian Heritage, through the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism; and the Government of Ontario through The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Contact Information

media@national.ballet.ca