Monday, June 28, 2010
On this day in 1841 the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique in Paris premiered Adolphe Adam's ballet Giselle, which featured choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot* with a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier - who took as their inspiration a poem by Heinrich Heine called De l'Allemagne. In that first production Carlotta Grisi starred as Giselle, with Lucien Petipa as Albrecht, and Jean Coralli as Hilarion; the scenery was designed by Pierre Ciceri and costumes by Paul Lormier.
The role of Giselle is one of the most sought-after in classical ballet, and has been assayed over the years by such luminaries as Anna Pavlova, Alicia Markova, Karen Kain, Margot Fonteyn, Natalia Makarova, and Gelsey Kirkland; likewise Albrecht has been given life by Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Erik Bruhn, and Sir Anton Dolin among many others. Here we see the roles taken on by Carole Arbo and Kader Belarbi performing the ballet's pas de deux.
*Although a more modern interpretation of its choreography derives from Marius Petipa's revivals of the show in 1884, 1899, 1903 for the Imperial Ballet; Petipa's work would later prove the greatest inspiration to George Balanchine...
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