Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Adolphe Adam, National Opera of Paris, National Ballet of Paris
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
A Major Disappointment
French Critic | France | 08/04/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this production of Giselle live at the Opera Garnier, and was by far not the only one who found it sub-par. Even members of POB management, talking amongst themselves, commented on how dull it was.
Because of the hierarchical nature of the POB, it's generally the older ballerinas who get to dance lead roles, and Giselle calls for an Etoile who can lead the audience to believe that she is an innocent teenager. Alas, Mlle Pujol is incapable of making a viewer think she is a girl half her actual age. And as much as I admire Mlle Gillot (her dancing in Jewels, for example, is outstanding), she makes for an unconvincing Myrtha.
Paul Connelly's normally competent orchestral direction lacks enthusiasm.
I give the dvd one star for its technical polish, but as a work of art, it falls flat on its face. In this reviewer's opinion, the La Scala Ferri/Murru version remains the gold standard to this day.
It'll be a long time before a better Giselle comes along ...
Andrew Heenan | London, UK | 07/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a marvellous version of the ballet, very traditional, rich in mime (done properly, so far as I can tell, but I'm no expert).
The leads are both excellent, Laëtitia Pujol on top form, and with good 'chemistry' between them. Good camera work and direction allows us to see almost all the footwork, with a variety of angles - but no pointless changing angles every few seconds. The company, as ever, is superb, which shows not only in the second act, but in the villagers' dances in the first act too.
Dramatically, Giselle is well portrayed as the innocent maiden, and the 'mad' scene is horribly convincing, while her 'white act' is as good as any you'll find.
Albrecht changes seamlessly from 'bad boy caught out' to concern to guilt and then to horror; nice one, Nicolas Le Riche! Myrta seems technically fine, but not as strong a presence as in some versions, while Hilarion, always an ambiguous character, comes across as little more than a bully; perhaps that's why the Wilis show him no mercy?
Throughout, the direction is smooth, the camera work and lighting is good - though I felt the spotlight following the leads was overly bright and a little distracting in the first act.
I was very impressed by the orchestra and the sound quality; so often ballets on DVD are let down by poor sound
I've probably missed several key points here, but, all-in-all it really is an excellent Giselle; all involved clearly understood the ballet and respect its history and traditions. I suspect it'll be a while before we see a better one!"
The production many have been waiting for-
Todd Nolan | Seattle, WA USA | 07/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, here it is. This company knows its good, they wear their confidence so well in every step and gesture. Paris Opera has given us basically a seat in front stage/center, not too close, in a comfortable seat, traditional choreography from those secure enough in their ability that they feel no need to shock, wardrobe and lighting artists that know what's pleasing to the eye, and dancers that are among the best in the world.
Laetitia Pujol's acting matches her note-perfect dancing in the lead and she deserved to be handed this role over some rather heady competition within her own company (Clairemarie Osta, Aurelie Dupont, Isabelle Ciaravola, and Marie-Agnes Gillot who dances/plays Myrtha). Appropriately sweet and girlish in the first act, and equally effective in her mad scene, I wanted to follow her even when she wasn't the center of the action. Gillot, who probably has danced Giselle herself over the last few years with the company, is just as bewitching as Myrtha. (I seem to recall reviewers who either loved the dancer who played Giselle, or the dancer who played Myrtha, but not both---yet one more indication that the wait for this company to produce the classic was a shared hope for many).
I love the first act with its peasant pas de deux more than the second act spectacular of the wilis. While some may feel the first act is a mere prelude for how well the corps can wow the audience, in addition to how well the Giselle can entwine her dancing technique with her acting, the finale is always a little bit anti-climatic for me simply because I love the first act dances so much. Every little detail charms me, and Paris does the details better than anyone. I don't think anyone will quibble with how the second act 'looks'. The lighting and filming of night scenes in ballets can be tight-rope dangerous, but here as in all else IMO, there are no flaws. And yes, that legendary corps lives up to their deserved reputation. This review needs a wordsmith here....all I can think of to say is that they're beautiful. Treat yourself and see this."
Another POB winner
Hawkeye | Tulsa, Oklahoma | 12/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am puzzled by the French critic who regards this performance as a major disappointment. Perhaps dancers are not without honor, save in their own countries. Since the critic seems to be an "insider" (claiming access to private management discussions), I wondered if he might have an ax to grind. In any case, I can only say that my high expectations were met. The music is rich and crisp, and the sound engineers placed the microphones wherever they needed to be to pick up every vibration of every air molecule. Viewers can judge for themselves from the live applause if the critic's major disappointment was widely shared. In addition to the fine performances of the etoiles, the doe-eyed Emmanuel Thibault, who is not (yet) an etoile, has a noteworthy solo in Act I. He doesn't seem to resent the "hierarchical" structure of the POB (what are most ballet companies-- anarchies?) and probably shares my belief that his talent will soon be rewarded with a promotion. Another reviewer felt that Romoli's Hilarion was something of a bully. What I noticed was that after he and Albrecht blame each other for Giselle's death at the end of Act I, Hilarion blames himself in Act II. Albrecht isn't the only one transformed by her death."