The internationally acclaimed Italian prima ballerina Alesandra Ferri stars in La Scala's gloriously traditional new production of this much-loved classic, the most celebrated ballet of the Romantic era. Massimo Murru take... more »s the role of Albrecht, whose duplicity drives Giselle to madness and causes her to die of a broken heart. Choreographed by Patrice Bart of the Paris Opera Ballet, this production recreates in Angelo Sala's sets and costumes the designs of the great Alexexandre Benois, famous for his work with Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. 110 minutes.« less
This DVD version of Giselle was recorded live at La Scala. It stars Alessandra Ferri as Giselle and Massimo Murru as Albrecht: both give stellar performances.
There are the many wonderful moments in this production: I'll touch briefly on a few....
-Ferri is breathtaking in her interpretation of the main character: her dancing is vibrant and her acting and expressions capture the essence of the naive, love-stuck young girl in Act I, and then, as the protective Wili for the final Act.
-The costumes and sets are beautiful. For example, in the village scenes of Act I, the corps de ballet wear gold and rust colored outfits , while Ferri,as Giselle, wears a sky blue skirt with a navy blue top that makes her stand out from the other performers. She is simply stunning, your eye cannot help but be drawn to her in this setting.
-There is something about ballet done before a live audience. This "Giselle" is so enchanting, you could really appreciate the reaction of the audience: enthusiastically clapping and cheering, almost before some of the scenes ended.
- And last but not least, there is the music by Adolphe Adams: melodies so beautiful and haunting that when combined with the choreography for this work, have resulted in a ballet that has become an ageless masterpiece. What a thrill it must have been to have been there that night.
Technically, I thought the cameras were well placed and film editing was, with one or two exceptions, well done. The DVD has superb video and audio, and the menu allows you to go to any scene you like.
All in all a recording of Giselle of the highest quality.
P.S. If I had to pick a Giselle to buy, this is the DVD I'd recommend. The other notable offering of Giselle is the movie version by the American Ballet Theatre starring Carla Fracci and Eric Bruhn. The dancing is excellent in the ABT production but the film editing is poor. (to the point of distraction at times)"
Decent performance; Ferri shines; major video problems
J. Lizzi | Costa Mesa, CA | 02/11/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a solid, classically rendered performance of Giselle by a decent cast. The one brilliantly shining star is Alessandra Ferri, who, in my opinion, is among the best at portraying the most emotional and expressive of ballerinas. This performance, which took place at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, around 1995-96, caught Ms. Ferri in her well-seasoned prime. She's a joy to watch.As for the ballet, nothing really stood out. Besides Ms. Ferri, none of the other cast members caused me to jump for joy ... no stupendous efforts; just basic dancing. Neither did I see anything to make me gasp. The stage design and costumes looked pretty familiar, the lighting was fine, and the music came through clearly. One-word summary for everything: satisfactory.Unfortunately, the video problems were serious. The disc cover notes say "Recorded Live in HDTV," but the transfer to DVD was problematic, with one decidedly bad result: the outline of the dancers blurs whenever there is movement. I could overlook this on some occasions, but the glitch persisted.The camera editing was good, but not great. There were several instances during the dancing where some close-ups made me miss the full head-to-toe posture that I prefer when I'm watching dance. This may not bother other viewers who like to get as many closer-up views of the characters' faces as possible.Another glaring video distraction had to do with a particular camera that was positioned in the back of the orchestra pit, right about at stage level. Aside from having way too low of a vantage point, this camera created a distortion characteristic of wide-angle lenses, whereby the images at the edge of the frame move in rotational fashion as the camera pans from side to side. Further, the camera was operated remotely, and seemed to swivel in one plane, thus creating a kind of "robotic" movement. I don't understand why this was even used, since there was another camera, also centrally located but higher up, which rendered a far more natural perspective.I would recommend this DVD to most viewers except some ballet fanatics and others who are sensitive to flawed video work."
It's La Scala's "Giselle" not Baryshnikov's "Dancers"
MR GARY A CAPSHAW | SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA United States | 01/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered what I thought would be "Dancers" since the reviews are all of that movie and so is the cast list. Was I ever pleasantly surprized!! This DVD is actually by the Teatro alla Scala with Alessandra Ferri as Giselle. It is like being there. Fantastic photography. You are in a box seat, best in the house. The main performers -- Alessandra Ferri, Massimo Murru, Isabel Seabra, and Maurizio Vanadia -- are often better than the Bolshoi video I have. The staging and costumes are wonderful. The music was by the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala under the direction of Paul Connelly. I was happy to see that the dancers looked happy and healthy, unlike the anorexics at ABT and NYCB. The corps de ballet, on the other hand -- while generally very good -- looked like some of its members had been shanghai-ed from classes. My wife studied at the San Francisco Ballet Company and she thinks it is the best Giselle she has ever seen. The live audience went wild, and I have to agree completely with them. If you enjoy good ballet, you won't want to miss this one."
The most beautiful Giselle
robert e. smith | Windham, CT USA | 12/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of the recorded performances I know, this one is easily the best looking -- not only the production, which is lovely, but also the picture quality. The superb new DV tape is really something, giving in-theater recordings almost the same picture quality as film. Sharp and razor clear imagery and with beautiful color saturation too.
The dancing is of a exceptionally high quality. All three leads are excellent -- they have great talent founded on firm classical technique. The LaScala ensemble work is marvelous -- virtually a match for that of the Kirov and much superior to the often slovenly ensemble seen in ABT performances. The Peasant Pas is the best I've ever seen -- the two kids are wonderful -- terrific dancers, full of life and spirit, and the best looking too.
Additionally, the score is performed without the hideous cuts that totally ruin the ABT production (also on DVD) with Fracci and Bruhn. The LaScala orchestra, of course, is sensational. I totally agree with Riccardo Muti that the LaScala orchestra is one of the two best in the world. It's very nice to hear Adam's lovely score performed on such a high level.
The only recorded performances of Giselle I know that are on the same level as this one are the ABT one with Makarova and Baryshnikov (the best dancing, and an uncut performance) and the Kirov, which, besides the expected superb dancing, is a wonderful old production complete with flying Willis (also uncut).
Beware of the Fracci/Bruhn performance -- the cuts are brutal and the TV style direction is so tacky it is close to sickening.
For a Giselle that truly reflects the chaste and delicate nature of the work -- get this wonderful LaScala performance."
This La Scala "Giselle" is truly divine.....
J. Lizzi | 01/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"..beautifully danced, handsomely costumed...supremely romantic..
there is not much more one could want from "Giselle". All the
principals are excellent...and both Albrecht and Hilarion are
warm interesting men. Giselle is love's young dream...and Act II
has enough ladies in white dresses dancing on their toes in the
moonlight to fill everyone's dreams. If you want ONE lovely ballet to enjoy at home...this is it...the divertisements are
charming and it is well worth many watchings. I hope that you
enjoy it as much as I have."