Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Alina Cojocaru, David Drew, Johan Kobborg, Marianela Nuņez, Genesia Rosato
Director: Ross MacGibbon
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Perhaps the most celebrated ballet of the Romantic era, Adolphe Adam's intoxicating ballet Giselle is the dramatic story of a peasant girl whose betrayal by her aristocratic lover causes her to go mad before dying and retu... more »
Cojocaru as Giselle...maybe one of the finest interpretation
R. Nicholson | 11/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Revised review Dec 02/08. (see P.P.S.)
Let me start off by saying that Giselle is my favorite ballet; I love the story, the music and the dance.
This performance was recorded in 2006 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Gardens, London and stars Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobberg in the principal roles.
This is probably the best danced and finest interpretation of this magnificent ballet I've ever seen. I initially saw this at a movie theater with about 200+ people; you could have heard a pin drop during many of the pas de deux between Cojocaru and Kobberg, they were that stirring to watch.
There was so much to like about this performance...let me elaborate,
1.)The costumes for the peasants, the Royal hunting party and Wilis were sumptuous; the sets for both acts were nicely conceived to display the rustic theme for the village in Act I and then the marsh scene in Act II.
2.)The principal dancers, Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg gave the performance of a lifetime. Cojocaru has such skill and grace...an easy effortlessness that holds her audience spellbound. Kobberg attains such height with his leaps and jumps that it appears as if he can defy gravity.
3.) The emotion displayed, through facial expression and body language, by both leads was perfect for the situation; their dancing techniques and skills when together, were simply breath taking. Some of the famous lifts in the Act II were, without a doubt, the best I've ever seen in any performance of Giselle.
4.) The conductor, Boris Gruzin, interpretation of Adophe Adam's music was beautifully rendered, complimenting the tone and mood of this ballet that covered both ends of the emotional spectrum.
About the only concern (albeit minor) for this interpretation of Giselle was with regards to the Corps de ballet. Although the dancing through out the entire ballet was excellent, some of the timing of movement and dance steps was slightly off between some couples, particularly in Act I.
Simply the loveliest Giselle I've ever seen; a Giselle that literally moved me to tears. The emotions shown and skills displayed by Cojocaru during this performance were as close to perfection as anyone could ask.
Interestingly, the program accompanying the theater performance I saw stated, 'Legend has it that she (Cojocaru) was promoted to principal at the end of the first performance'. You'll understand why when you've seen this DVD.
I must admit to a grievous error on my part with my initial review, in which I criticized some of the camera shots and angles. This initial review was based on my viewing of this performance in a movie theater. The home DVD video was much better visually than the performance seen in the movie theater; better because of a much sharper picture as well as less 'close-up' camera shots. I suspect the enlargement that took place to fill an entire movie screen caused some distortion in perception of size and movement, giving the movie house performance a less than perfect visual presentation.
My apologies go out to the producers and editors of this fine DVD for my initial review based on my movie theater experience.
Captures a great Giselle forever
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 11/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ballet on video is like the fossil record: fascinating and informative, but frustratingly incomplete. Isadora Duncan, Vaslav Nijinsky were never filmed at all, and many artists were never filmed in their trademark roles (Lynn Seymour as Juliet, Erik Bruhn in Sylphide). Therefore it's always a delight when a portrayal as wonderful as Alina Cojocaru's Giselle is preserved on video. Alina Cojocaru, as I mentioned earlier in a review of her Sleeping Beauty, is not particularly glamorous looking, and her feet are wide and without much of an instep. But these aesthetic complaints are quickly forgotten the minute she starts dancing. In the first act, her Giselle is a shy but vivacious girl, and her fragile look adds a poignancy to her portrayal. One can believe that she does indeed have a weak heart. Her Spessivtseva solo, with its hops on pointe across the stage was not the smoothest I've seen, but her Mad Scene was heartbreaking.
In the second act, Cojocaru uses her beautifully airy jump and uniquely soft style to give the illusion of a true spirit. She is not technically perfect. When Giselle is first "initiated" as a Wili she is supposed to turn as if she were demented. Cojocaru's hopping turns don't have that feverish, demented energy that some Giselles can bring to the moment. They are somewhat slow and deliberate. (To see how it's done, watch Natalia Makarova, Diana Vishneva or even Carla Fracci.) But it's the overall beauty of movement that separates Cojocaru's Giselle from the "rest of the pack," as they would say. She is able to create a sense of a gentle, forgiving spirit. I particularly love the calm, effortless way she raises her leg in developpe. It seems to symbolize Giselle's sense of inner serenity.
As Albrecht, Cojocaru's offstage partner Johan Kobborg is not quite the dancer Cojocaru is. He goes the somewhat unconventional route and makes Albrecht an ardent and sincere young man from the start. I personally prefer Albrecht's to start off as cads, so their redemption is more dramatic and moving. He also is visibly extremely tired during Act 2. Unfortunately the close-ups expose the sweating. He and Cojocaru have a wonderful partnership -- you can see it in the gentle way he lifts her in the second act. Marianela Nunez is the Myrtha, and she seems to me an odd choice for Myrtha, other than being tallish and a strong technician. She's too inherently warm of a dancer to pull off Myrtha. She's not for a minute terrifying.
Peter Wright's production thankfully restores some mime passages that are often omitted in productions, such as when Giselle's mother tells the story of the Wilis. I found the sets overly fussy and thought they crowded the already-small Royal Ballet stage. I also disliked the dowdy brown dress Giselle wears in the first act. But these are minor complaints in an excellent video of my favorite ballet."
A slightly hesitant "five". . .
Esteban Molina | San Francisco | 11/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think no one need fear buying this performance; overall, it is very fine and I think it deserves a top rating, even though I hesitated over a possible four. Technically and overall, a five; though it evokes only an emotional response of four from me. My chief disappointment is the Albrecht. His dancing is accomplished and he acts well, especially in close-up, though I find him slightly mannered at times. My main complaint, however, is that he doesn't seem really to connect to Giselle. He acts outwardly as though he does but, especially in the second act, I really don't believe him. My eyes tell me they care deeply for each other, but my heart remains stubbornly unconvinced. I noticed during the curtain calls that he didn't seem genuinely pleased by the hearty applause given him. A few smiles, yes; but mostly rather blank. Perhaps he's simply a rather cool personality? But Giselle needs the heights of passion and the depths of redemptive love, not committed reserve. Cojocaru on the other hand is an utter delight. I can't imagine anyone looking the part more. And she can certainly act. And she can most certainly dance! She has a luminous sweetness that transforms the stage. With more chemistry from her Albrecht, this might have been as close to definitive as one could hope for, because everyone else is first rate. The Myrthe is especially noteworthy: technically wonderful and dramatically full of menace without seeming to try. It comes from within. And poor Hilarion who, I always feel, gets the rawest of deals is here very sympathetic. Possibly even handsomer than Albrecht [I really did feel Giselle made a poor choice in this case!] - a kind of Eric Bana of dance. It's only a pity the role didn't supply him more chances to dance, because when he did he had all the presence that Albrecht lacked. Finally, if I could pull Nicholas Le Riche from the Paris Opera DVD of Giselle and put him in this production, I think I would be happier. [And, as long as I'm dreaming, let's have Tsiskaridze.] But I'm still glad that I have this production, despite my lack of abandon where Albrecht is concerned. And you really do need to see Cojocaru. The image of her Giselle lingers long in the mind."
L. ADAMIAN | NYC | 07/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"All the previous reviews are thorough and have no need for additions except for a single observation: Johan Kobborg seems to be one of those CORRECT dancers whose every gesture is a pose. This makes for wonderful statues but detracts from any human feeling. I have seen him only in this DVD and this might be unfair but I thought future buyers deserve a warning. Top notch dancing, but for a ballet that has so much opportunity for trully moving acting, the lead male disappoints."