Created during the great Romantic era of ballet, Giselle premiered at Paris Opéra Ballet on June 28, 1841. A haunting tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness, that encapsulates the sensibility of Romanticism. Giselle is the story is 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. The work also affords the Corps de Ballet the opportunity to shine, with the ghostly diagonal procession of the Willis remaining one of the most haunting moodily evocative images in all of ballet.
“Giselle is a timeless masterpiece... pure classical dancing at its finest.” National Post
“Absolute perfection in terms of grace, harmony and style.” —The Globe and Mail
“When Giselle’s underlying themes of love, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption are told through the poetry of dance, they take on a power that is almost epic in its ability to stir the emotions… a show to remember.” —National Post
“Evocative and beautiful.” —Danceview Times
Choreography and Production:
Sir Peter Wright after the choreography of Jean Coralli and Marius Petipa
Adolphe Adam, revised by Joseph Horovitz
Set and Costume Design:
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.
2019/20 marks Artistic Director Karen Kain’s 50th anniversary with The National Ballet of Canada.
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Classical ballets like Giselle are a testament to the enduring power of the art form. Help support the National Ballet's dedication to performing these great works at the highest standards.
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