Giselle ★★★★★ London Coliseum | January 11 - 21, 2024

Mary Skeaping's choreography for Giselle was first introduced to the public in 1971, but like the ballet itself, her work is quite timeless. Skeaping thoughtfully manages to capture the extraordinary beauty and poignancy of this quintessential example of the genre. From the idyllic pastoral of the first act to the haunting menace of the second, we are wafted along through Giselle's story of love, betrayal and sacrifice. Katja Khaniukova as the doomed peasant girl and Aitor Arrieta as Albrecht, the cavalier prince, completely enthrall the audience with some bold leaps and astounding pointe work. Their delightful flirtation at the wine festival is beautifully transmuted into the murky, spectral reconciliation that takes place in the forest graveyard. Always a highlight of the piece is the work of the corps de ballet as the Wilis, or ghosts of jilted lovers. In this particular production, it did not disappoint, rising to the highest standard. Special kudos also to Alison McWhinney who creates a wonderfully imperious Myrtha. Her incomprehension at Giselle's protection of her faithless beau is beautifully delineated. David Walker’s sets expertly establish the tone as we move from a golden, festive autumn to the darkness of a moonlit glade, and they are skillfully complemented by David Mohr’s clever lighting. We also appreciated Conductor Gavin Sutherland's lush pacing of the music which extracted the maximum of emotional resonance from Adolphe Adam's score. This is a production that only improves with time.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo © Laurent Liotardo

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