Giselle Ballet in Two Acts by Adolf Adam

Тwo acted ballet by Adolf Adam

Libretto by Theophilus Gaultier and Vernois de Saint-Georges
Choreography by Jean Corally, Jules Perot and Marius Petipa
Edited by Leonid Lavrovsky

Directing and Directing - Prof. PETER LUKANOV
Decor and Costume Consultant - TSVETANKA PETKOVA-STOYNOVA



Giselle, a village girl

Albert, a prince dressed as a peasant

Myrtle, the queen of the wilis

Hilarion, forester

Wilfred, an armorer of Albert

Willis couple

Duke, father of Bathilda

Bathilda, fiance of Albert

Bertha, Giselle's mother

Giselle's friends, Hans's companions, Duke's courtiers, hunters, peasants, wilis.


History of creation

            The idea for writing the ballet Giselle is by the French writer Theophilus Gauthier. It gives rise to an ancient poetic tradition, which he encounters in Heinrich Heine's book "Germany": "In some parts of Austria, there is a legend of Slavic origin. This show is about dancing ghosts known as villas. (Villas or villas are fantastic evil and revengeful creatures. In Bulgarian folk poetry, villas correspond somewhat to the so-called self-willed or self-made villas. However, they are not always cruel and insidious.) The villas are fiancees who died before their wedding. The poor young creatures did not find rest in the grave, because in life they did not satisfy their desire to dance. Therefore, they leave their graves in the middle of the night, gather in groups along the highways and wait for passers-by. Woe and woe to the boy they meet! He is dragged into a lush, continuous dance, without rest until he falls dead from exhaustion ... "

            Conquered by the idea, Gauthier recruited the accomplished opera and ballet playwright Vernois de Saint-Georges, with whom they wrote the libretto. They offer it to Adolf Adam. The composer has just finished his latest ballet, "The Gannet of Love," and its premiere is already scheduled. The libretto fills Adam with such admiration and creative enthusiasm that he promptly proposes to the director of the Paris Grand Opera, Prieur, to postpone the premiere of Gan's The Beautiful, instead of installing Giselle. He was obliged to write the music as quickly as possible and really only two months later, in March 1841, Giselle graduated.

            The choreography is done by Jules Perot, a talented ballet dancer, and dancer, with his wife, the brilliant ballet dancer Carlotta Grizzie, in the lead role. The preparation goes too dramatically. Grizzlie begins an affair with his partner Lucien Petipa (Marius Petipa's older brother), who will play the role of Prince Albert, and the deeply upset Jules Perot leaves the theater. (A year later, he will stage Giselle in London with great success.) Completing the production in Paris is taken over by Opera Ballet Director Jean Coralli. The image of Myrtle is entrusted to Adel Dumlinatra. On the premiere night - June 28, 1841 - the opera "The Magical Shooter" by Weber is also performed. After Paris, Giselle triumphs in London, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Milan, New York, all over the world, continuously.

            Many choreographers make their own versions, significantly deviating from the original, some placing the ballet in three acts. Most, however, adhere to Pero - Coralli's choreography.

            Under the influence of Giselle and with the hope of such success, quite a fairy-tale ballet is being written, but few of them remain on stage for long. Even Giacomo Puccini's first opera, Vilissi, completed many years after the creation of Giselle - in 1883 - has a similar plot.

            After Carlotta Grizzi, the most emblematic ballet artists recreate the image of Giselle - Maria Talloni, Fanny Elsler, Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Galina Ulanova, Margo Fontaine, Raisa Struchkova, Maya Plisetskaya…

            In Bulgaria, Giselle was set up relatively late - on December 19, 1947, at the Sofia National Opera. The choreography is by Anastas Petrov, set design and costumes are by Neva and Nikola Tusuzovi, conducted by Konstantin Iliev; In the main roles are presented the first forces of ballet: Lily Beron dances in the role of Giselle, Ivan Deshev is Albert, Valya Verbeva - Myrtle. He plays one night with Ravel's Bolero.


First action

            Grapevine in a small, sunlit village near the forest. Simple, sincere and warm-hearted people live here. The young Prince Albert is captivated by the beauty of the country girl Giselle. Dressed as a peasant so as not to betray his noble origin, he wants to meet her. In vain, his armor-bearer Wilfred tries to make him understand - Alfred is completely conquered by the lovely girl. Giselle also falls in love with the handsome stranger. The two share their feelings. Forest ranger Hans, who has been sighing over Giselle for a long time, warns the girl that Albert will bring her only misery, trying to convince her that the chosen one is not, in fact, a simple peasant, but a disguised prince who actually fools her. Giselle believes that Hans does so only out of jealousy, and Alfred chases the forester. Bertha begs her daughter not to dance as much as she has a weak heart, but Giselle does not want to hear either: she is happy! She is intoxicated by the sun, by the blue sky, by the song of birds, and above all by pure and genuine love. She loves and believes that she is loved too! From the woods come the sounds of a hunting horn. The Duke arrives with his retinue and a group of hunters; with them is his daughter Bathilda, Albert's fiancee. Savvy villagers welcome the tallest guests. Embarrassed by this unexpected encounter is only Albert, who hastens to hide before being noticed. Giselle's dances elicit universal delight, and Batilda presents her with a gold necklace. Guests leave to rest. Giselle continues to dance with her girlfriends. Albert returns to his beloved. Hans appears abruptly, pushing Albert away from Giselle. The roughness of the forester causes widespread indignation. Then Hans, enraged by the jealousy, who sneaked into the home that the princely prince inhabits in the village and picks up a silver sword with a noble emblem found there, exposing him to all his noble origins. Confusion ensues. Hans blows his hunting horn. Giselle is shocked by the treachery and pretense of her lover. Did Alfred lie to her? The trumpet call attracts the Duke and his entourage. The prince's strange attire is astonishing to them. Giselle turns with a questioning look to Batilda, who arrogantly shows her engagement ring. Realizing the bitter truth, the girl throws the gold necklace at the feet of her rival. At that moment, her whole pure and naive world, all her hopes and dreams, collapses. Her sick heart cannot withstand the terrible blow, and she falls dead.


Second action

            Midnight. In the moonlit lawn near the village cemetery, ghostly cloaks, these evil and vengeful creatures appear. Dressed in wide white shirts, with flower-topped hair, the willows pick up their whirlwind dance. Impressed by the remorse and grief, Hans came to Giselle's grave. Suddenly, the shadows beyond, however, instill frantic terror in his soul, and the forester escapes. The moonlight floods the lawn and a mystery emerges from the shadows - the queen of the wilis. She gathers her sisters near Giselle's grave. At Myrtle's will, the ghostly girl rises from her grave and engages in a crazy dance. Approaching footsteps are heard. The wilis interrupt their dance and hide. The echoes of the deep night are the bewildered and torn Albert. He is also ruined and cannot forget Giselle's death. Giselle's vision emerges before the broken prince. He immediately descends towards her, but she melts into the darkness. Out of excitement, Albert runs after her. On the lawn rushes the pursued by the Wilisses Hans. On Myrtle's orders, they circle around the boy in a sinister overtaking roundabout, without even allowing him to stop for a moment until he, without a drop of strength, falls, breathless, to the ground. The fate of the forester now threatens Albert as well. He tries to tear himself away but is caught and forced to dance with the ominous fleeces. Doom also threatens the prince. The evil Myrtle forces Giselle to join the dance. The girl begins to dance with Albert, the only forces whom only his love for Giselle and her love for him inspire. The dance continues for a long time. In the distance, the church bell hits four times. The last stars fade into the sky. It's dawn. The Willises are losing their power. Myrtle slowly recedes to the grave, sways and disappears. Albert is saved. Love has overcome death. But Giselle is also doomed: she leans in the hand of her prince and reconciles herself to her grave. They will never meet again in this world. Albert, grief-stricken, tears a rose from Giselle's grave. She, the lovely maiden, the beloved, will forever remain living in his memory - as an eternal regret for lost love, stronger than death itself.