Giselle

 

Giselle ballet. Libretto by Théophile Gautier after Heinrich Heine.  Music by Adolphe Adam revised by Joseph Horovitz. Choreography by Marius Petipa after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. 2016 production and additional choreography by Sir Peter Wright at the Royal Opera House. Stars Marianela Nuñez (Giselle), Vadim Muntagirov (Count Albrecht), Bennet Gartside (Hilarion), Johannes Stepanek (Wilfred), Elisabeth McGorian (Berthe), Gary Avis (Duke of Courland), Christina Arestis (Bathilde), Jonathan Howells (Leader of the Hunt), Itziar Mendizabal (Myrtha), Olivia Cowley (Moyna), Beatriz Stix-Brunell (Zulme) as well as Yuhui Choe, Alexander Campbell, Francesca Hayward, Luca Acri, Yasmine Naghdi, and Marceline Sambé (Pas de Six). Barry Wordsworth conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Peter Manning). Designs by John Macfarlane; original lighting by Jennifer Tipton re-created by David Finn; staging by Christopher Carr; directed for screen by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A

This is the third Opus Arte publication of a Blu-ray disc of the Peter Wright Giselle by the Royal Opera! The first version came out in 2009 with Cojocaru and Kobborg, and I gave it an A-. Five years later the second version was released (in 2014) with Osipova and Acosta, and I gave that one an A. Now, just three years later we have the third recording with Marianela Nuñez as Giselle and Vadim Muntagirov as Albrecht, both seen in my opening screenshot below. Since this is my third visit to this production, this review will be short, and I will say little about the plot of Giselle. You can learn a lot more about the ballet by reading my earlier reviews of this production from 2009 and 2014.

Nuñez is a great dancer and actress, but she is approaching retirement age. 8 years prior to this she was cast as Myrtha in the 2009 Giselle production!

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Next below Gary Avis as the Duke of Courland with his daughter Bathilde played by Christina Arestis:

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Now we see Bennet Gartside as Hilarion proving that Albrecht is a slumming impostor:

And Giselle learns she is a jilted girl:

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Next below four views of Giselle's mad scene:

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The next two shots show Itziar Mendizabal as Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis:

And here's Giselle defending Albrecht. I mainly include this shot as an example of how old the scenery, props, and costumes are in this show---note the incredibly shabby condition of the sleeves on Giselle's upper arm. This is how they dress the star, who's to appear in a high-definition video!

So if one wants to buy a ROH Giselle, how does one chose between the 3 versions? This is harder than picking between one scoop of vanilla, strawberry, or butter-pecan. Earlier I wrote that I preferred the second version (2014) to the earlier version (2009) on the strength of Osipova's performance. But after viewing all three versions on my new LG OLED 4K TV, I decided to make my calls based not on the stars in the various roles, but on lighting. I now think 2009 version was too dark, the lighting in the 2014 version was too harsh and uneven, and the lighting in the 2017 version is the most adequate and natural of the three films. I give subject 2017 version an A. But if you're interested in a particular dancer or if a version has a bargain price, go for it on that basis.

Here's a clip about the 2017 production: