Romantic classic ballet tugs at the heartstrings

The  incredibly romantic but utterly heartbreaking Giselle returned to the Regent Theatre on Sunday.

This production, which last toured in New Zealand in 2012 and is a collaboration of Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg, reinforces why Giselle is one of the RNZB's signature ballets.

What starts as a sweet and burgeoning love story turns to misery and heartbreak between a peasant girl and boy (or so she thinks). A love triangle, deception and betrayal ultimately lead Giselle into madness.

This performance was accompanied by the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of conductor Marc Taddei.

Act one is a flirtatious delight. The chemistry between Giselle (Mayu Tanigaito) and guest artist Daniel Gaudiello as Albrecht is tender, but makes for a passionate and stunning partnership. Tanigaito, in a departure from her usual fierce roles, is delicate and graceful in this feminine part. She is simply effortless and exquisite and her footwork impeccable. Gaudiello is everything you would wish for in a leading man: charismatic, passionate and powerful. His jumps, leaps and elevations were incredible.

Paul Matthews is well cast as Hilarion. He plays this character with a jealousy and deviousness that simply makes the audience cheer even more for Albrecht.

The arrival of Albrecht's betrothed, Bathilde, played by the stunning Clytie Campbell, bursts Giselle's bubble and she descends into a downward spiral from which she will not recover.

Act two is the quintessential romantic ballet, with stunning long white tutus and adage.

Queen of the Wilis Myrtha (Laura Saxon Jones) is beautiful, but needs more attitude. The support from Katherine Grange and Bronte Kelly along with the corps of Wilis is controlled with beautiful timing. Nothing like a group of scorned and vengeful women seeking retribution against those who enter their world. The pas de deux in act two between Giselle's not yet bitter spirit and Albrecht brings many a tear to the eye.

This production shows dramatic and emotionally driven classical ballet at its finest.

See the anguish, feel it too. Haunting, aching and tearjerking.

Royal New Zealand Ballet - Giselle
Regent Theatre 
Sunday, August 28

 - by Penny Neilson




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