Giselle is the quintessential Romantic ballet with a haunting story of love, betrayal, madness and remorse that has captivated audiences since its Paris premiere in 1841. Nearly 180 years later, the title role is still among the greatest in the classical repertoire, demanding exquisite technique and emotional range in equal measure. The National Ballet of Canada performs the widely celebrated staging by Sir Peter Wright after Marius Petipa.
Giselle is a young peasant girl courted by two suitors: Hilarion, a local man, and Albrecht, a nobleman disguised as a villager. Giselle falls in love with Albrecht, not knowing that he is betrothed to someone else. When Giselle learns of his deception, she kills herself in a fit of madness. In death she is summoned by the Wilis, the ghosts of jilted women who threaten to dance their lovers to death. But Giselle’s love is so pure that Albrecht is spared.
Sir Peter Wright has worked as a dancer, choreographer, ballet master and artistic director and is celebrated for his interpretations of the classics. His productions of The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Giselle and The Nutcracker feature in the repertoires of top ballet companies around the world. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1985 and was knighted in 1993.
Born in Paris, Adolphe Adams was a prolific 19th century composer who created music for theatre and the stage. He collaborated on a number of comic operas, including the highly successful Le Chalet but is best known for his ballet scores for Le Corsaire and 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)
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)
Piotr Stanczyk (November 6, 7, 9 at 7:30 pm/November 9 at 2:00 pm)
Skylar Campbell (November 7, 10 at 2:00 pm/November 8 at 7:30 pm)
Queen of the Wilis
Heather Ogden (November 6, 9 at 7:30 pm)
Chelsy Meiss* (November 7 at 2:00 pm)
Hannah Fischer (November 7 at 7:30 pm/November 9 at 2:00 pm)
Jenna Savella* (November 8 at 7:30 pm/November 10 at 2:00 pm)
“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
(Based on the book by Vernoy de Saint-Georges, Gautier and Coralli)
Adolphe Adam, arranged 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.
Video Credits: Jillian Vanstone on Giselle
Featuring: Jillian Vanstone, Naoya Ebe, Stephanie Hutchison, Alejandra Perez-Gomez, Etienne Lavigne, Christopher Stowell, Artists of the Ballet, The Musicians of The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.
Video Credits: Sonia Rodriguez Celebrating 30 Years
Featuring: Sonia Rodriguez in Giselle rehearsal. Choreography by Sir Peter Wright after the choreography of Jean Coralli and Marius Petipa.
Sonia Rodriguez and Guillaume Côté in Cinderella. Choreography by James Kudelka.
Sonia Rodriguez in La Sylphide. Choreography by Nikolaj Hübbe after August Bournonville.
Artists of the Ballet in Company Class.
Sonia Rodriguez and Guillaume Côté in Manon. Choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan.
Sonia Rodriguez with Artists of the Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty. Choreography by Rudolf Nureyev after Marius Petipa.
Sonia Rodriguez in Chroma. Choreography by Wayne McGregor.
Sonia Rodriguez in Romeo and Juliet. Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky.
Sonia Rodriguez and Naoya Ebe in Opus 19/The Dreamer. Choreography by Jerome Robbins.
Sonia Rodriguez and Skylar Campbell in Nijinsky. Choreography by John Neumeier.
Sonia Rodriguez and Harrison James in The Winter’s Tale. Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon.
Sonia Rodriguez and Naoya Ebe in Romeo and Juliet. Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky.
Sonia Rodriguez and Evan McKie in A Streetcar Named Desire. Choreography by John Neumeier.
Sonia Rodriguez and Andrea Burridge with Artists of the Ballet in Giselle. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.
Sonia Rodriguez and Former Principal Dancer Ryan Boorne in Giselle. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.
The Musicians of The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.
Video Credits: Giselle The Ghostly Wilis
Featuring: Heather Ogden, Jillian Vanstone, Tina Pereira, Artists of the Ballet, The Musicians of The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra.
Video Credits: 5 Things About Giselle
Featuring: Sonia Rodriguez, Skylar Campbell, Naoya Ebe, Francesco Gabriele Frola, Harrison James, Svetlana Lunkina, Piotr Stanczyk, Jillian Vanstone, Jordana Daumec, Alexandra MacDonald, Chelsy Meiss, Artists of the Ballet, The Musicians of The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra. Photography: Magdalena Popa as Giselle in Giselle by Liana Grill.
Musicians have been recorded by permission of the Toronto Musicians' Association, Local 149, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.
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2019/20 marks Artistic Director Karen Kain’s 50th anniversary with The National Ballet of Canada.
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