Ballet phantastique in two acts – 1841 / 1974

Choreography Peter Wright after Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, Marius Petipa · Composer Adolphe Adam

Thursday, 05. October 2017
07:30 pm – 09:45 pm

Duration est. 2 hours 15 minutes

Open ticket sales

Please be aware that we had to temporarily extend our orchestra pit. Therefore your view on the stage might be limited and the distribution of price categories in the stalls are subject to change.

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Peter Wright
Adolphe Adam
Prop Design
Peter Farmer
Robertas Šervenikas

Natalia Osipova
Albrecht, Herzog in Franken
Sergei Polunin
Javier Amo
Berthe, Giselles Mutter
Séverine Ferrolier
Herzog von Kurland
Norbert Graf
Bathilde, seine Tochter
Giorgia Sacher
Wilfried, Albrechts Vertrauter
Dustin Klein
Zoltán Manó Beke
Prisca Zeisel
Shuai Li
Kristina Lind
Pas de six Solo-Dame
Elizaveta Kruteleva
Pas de six Solo-Herr
Alejandro Virelles Gonzalez
  • Soloists and corps de ballet of the Bavarian State Ballet
  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester

Cast for all dates

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Giselle is widely considered the epitome of Romantic ballet. Handed down to us in Marius Petipa’s St. Petersburg version, the ballet is romantically set in a wine-growing village. Equally romantic is the tragic story of heartbroken Giselle, who falls in love with Count Albrecht after he wins her heart while disguised as a country boy.

Jealous, Hilarion unmasks his deception, and Giselle loses her sanity and dies. She is denied the solace of eternal sleep, however: every midnight she rises from the grave together with the Wilis, ghosts of brides who died before their wedding day. The hunting steward Hilarion, who visits Giselle’s grave every night to mourn, is ensnared by her magic and driven to his demise. Count Albrecht, too, is marked for death by the ghastly phantom women, but through Giselle’s love, which extends beyond the confines of death, his life is saved. She dances with him until the early morning hours, when the power of the Wilis vanishes.

In addition to the Romantic storyline and the music’s irresistible charm, Giselle represents one of the most demanding ballerina roles of them all. The protagonist can fully explore the whole range of her technique and acting abilities, from


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1. Act

Duke Albrecht leaves his castle for a village where he hides his sword and his cloak in a hut so as to conceal his noble origins. He has fallen in love with Giselle, a young peasant girl who believes he too is of peasant stock and that his name is Loys.

Giselle’s mother Berthe hopes that her daughter will marry the forester Hilarion who loves her with all his heart. Hilarion interposes himself between Loys and Giselle, reminding Giselle that she is betrothed to him and warning her against Loys. Giselle however trusts Loys (Albrecht) and refuses to listen to Hilarion’s reproaches although she knows that her mother too dislikes Loys. Giselle goes off happily to the harvest festival.

Far off in the distance hunting horns can be heard. Wilfried, Albrecht’s trusted friend, hurries to the scene and warns the Duke of the approaching hunt. Hilarion observes them both and once they have left he enters the hut in which the sword and cloak had been concealed and thus discovers Loys’ aristocratic origins. The hunt appears, led by the Duke of Kurland and his daughter Bathilde who is so delighted by the beauty of the peasant girl that she gives her a necklace. Berthe invites the guests into the house. The Duke of Kurland hangs his hunting horn in the doorway. Hilarion compares the arms on the Dukes’s horn with those on the sword of Loys and thus discovers his secret. At the height of the harvest festival Hilarion reveals to all those present that Loys is really Duke Albrecht in disguise. At first Giselle refuses to believe Hilarion but when Bathilde introduces Albrecht as her fiancé Giselle suffers a shock, with the balance of her mind disturbed she relives her love for Albrecht once again, takes his sword and kills herself.

2. Act

Hilarion is keeping vigil over Giselle’s grave situated in unconsecrated ground in the forest near a lake. It is midnight, the hour of the Wilis, that is the ghosts of those young maidens who have been jilted by their betrothed and who have died before their wedding. Now they take their revenge on all the men who stray into their nocturnal sphere by forcing them to dance until death. Myrtha, their Queen, appears and summons the Wilis. Giselle is then called forth from her grave to be initiated as a new Wili. Albrecht enters the clearing, places flowers on Giselle’s grave and sees her in a vision. The Wilis pursue Hilarion and force him to dance until he is exhausted. Hilarion throws himself into a lake and drowns. Albrecht is to be the next victim. Giselle attempts to bring him into the area protected by the cross on her grave but Myrtha’s power is greater. Albrecht is compelled to dance. Giselle wants to come to his assistance but gradually Albrecht’s strength begins to fail. Just as he believes he is lost, day begins to dawn. The nocturnal power of the Wilis wanes; the ghosts of the young maidens disappear. Albrecht has been saved. Giselle bids him farewell and he is left alone, deeply moved.

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Sir Peter Wright, Choreograph und Ballettdirektor, ist einer der wichtigsten Namen im Kontext des Handlungsballetts der letzten 50 Jahre, und seine Fassungen des Nussknacker und der Giselle traten einen Siegeszug durch die Repertoires der Welt an. Sir Peter Wright erlebte sein Debüt als professioneller Tänzer mit den Ballets Jooss, als diese wegen der Verfolgung durch das Naziregime in England während des Zweiten Weltkriegs im Exil arbeiteten. 

In den 1950er Jahren arbeitete er dann mit mehreren Tanzcompagnien zusammen, darunter Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet. Für diese Companie kreierte er dann auch sein erstes Ballett A Blue Rose, im Jahre 1957. 1959 wurde er zum Ballettmeister an der Sadler's Wells Opera ernannt und betätigte sich nebenbei als Lehrer an der Royal Ballet School. Im Jahr 1961 ging er als Lehrer und Ballettmeister nach Stuttgart, wo John Cranko gerade seine Compagnie aufgebaut hatte. Er choreographierte mehrere Ballette, darunter The Mirror Walkers, Namouna, Design for Dancers und Quintet und produzierte mit dem Stuttgarter Ballett 1966 auch seine erste Produktion von Giselle. Später erarbeitete er noch weitere Versionen von Giselle für das Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet und viele andere internationale Compagnien, wie das Ballett der Bayerischen Staatsoper (1974), wo seine Version auch heute noch Teil des Repertoires des Bayerischen Staatsballetts ist. Seine anderen Interpretationen der Klassiker sind Dornröschen (1976 Premiere in München, im Repertoire bis 1996), Coppelia, Schwanensee (1984-1988 in München) und Der Nussknacker, welche alle regelmäßig in Ballettcompagnien auf der ganzen Welt aufgeführt werden. In den 1960er Jahren etablierte Sir Peter Wright sich auch als erfolgreicher Produzent von Fernsehballetten und choreographierte verschiedene West-End-Musicals und Revuen. 1969 kehrte er als Stellvertretender Direktor ans Royal Ballet zurück. 1977 wurde er zum Direktor von Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet ernannt und brachte im Jahre 1990 die Compagnie nach Birmingham, wo sie zum Birmingham Royal Ballet avancierte.

Bei seiner Pensionierung im Juli 1999 wurde er zum Ehrendirektor des Birmingham Royal Ballet ernannt. Er erhielt sehr viele Auszeichnungen für sein Werk und seine Arbeit für das englische Ballett, u.a. den Evening Standard Award 1981. Er wurde 1993 zum Ritter geschlagen und im Jahr 1994 mit der Ehrendoktorwürde der University of Birmingham ausgezeichnet. Seine Autobiographie "Wrights and Wrongs" erschien 2016.

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