After being seen for two nights in September, HBSO’s beautiful ballet production, Giselle, will return to the Saigon Opera House for a single performance on November 9.
The story of a village girl who is loved both by a young aristocrat and a local peasant is a staple of ballet companies all over the world.
It’s in two acts, and the girl, Giselle, dies at the end of Act One. She is then recruited into a band of ghosts, the Wilis – the spirits of young girls who died before they ever had the chance to marry.
They are now the determined foes of all males, and manage to kill Giselle’s peasant admirer, Hilarion, when he comes to visit Giselle’s grave. They have the same fate in mind for her aristocratic lover, Albert, but the spirit of Giselle manages to save him through the power of her undying love.
Giselle will be danced by Do Hoang Khang Ninh, who has appeared many times with the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet as Clara in The Nutcracker. Albert will again be Ho Phi Diep, and Hilarion will be Dam Duc Nhuan.
Giselle has been choreographed along traditional lines by Yuki Hiroshige and Chloe Glemot. Yuki Hiroshige will also appear on stage as the leader of the vengeful Wilis.
Giselle was a great success on its Saigon premiere, and this extra performance will give the HBSO Ballet’s many fans another opportunity to see this highly polished production once again.
The first act features a German country village at harvest time, with Giselle chosen as harvest queen. The second act is dominated by the corps de ballet as the Wilis, with the stage characterized by moonlight and swirling mists.
Seat prices are very reasonable, ranging from VND650,000 down to VND200,000, with a special price for students of VND80,000 on production of a student card.
The music was written by Adolphe Adam, a composer who specialized in ballet scores but is now remembered mainly for Giselle. It now joins Prokofiev’s Cinderella, Delibe’s Coppelia and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker among the prime classical ballets in the HBSO Ballet’s repertoire.
The Nutcracker will be revived, as is now traditional in HCMC, for the Christmas season on December 7, 8 and 9. Both Do Hoang Khang Ninh and Ho Phi Diep will appear again in this much-loved production. Chloe Glemot and Yuki Hiroshige will also take part.
In his A Ballet Called Giselle (1944) book, dance historian Cyril W, Beaumont commented that the music of Giselle is “admirably suited to its purpose. It is danceable, and it has color and mood attuned to the various dramatic situations … As we listen today to these haunting melodies composed over a century ago, we quickly become conscious of their intense nostalgic quality … which whispers of a leisured age now forever past.”
Giselle is one of the great classics of Romantic Era ballet, and its revival for one performance only on November 9 should not be missed. Tickets are expected to sell out very fast.
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