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Larissa Ponomarenko as Giselle
Photo credit: Gene Schiavone
This is the story of Giselle, a lovely peasant girl with a weak heart and a passion for dancing.
Larissa Ponomarenko as Giselle (Act I)Photo credit: Gene Schiavone
Kathleen Breen Combes as Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis in Giselle (Act II)Photo credit: Gene Schiavone
Giselle begins in the Rhine valley in medieval Germany on a crisp autumn day during the village wine festival. Albrecht of Silesia, a count disguised as a peasant farmer named Loys, comes to court Giselle at the cottage she shares with her mother, Berthe. Giselle, unaware of his true identity, initially resists his advances. He persuades her to trust his pledge of eternal love. Albrecht and Giselle dance and she plucks the petals from a daisy to divine his sincerity. Hilarion, a gamekeeper who is also in love with Giselle, challenges Albrecht to a fight and tries to warn Giselle that there is something suspicious about Albrecht, but she refuses to believe him. Giselle and Albrecht are met by friends and villagers on their way from the vineyards, and all join in a dance until Berthe warns Giselle against exerting herself, afraid that her daughter’s heart will give out. She tells Giselle and the villagers the story of the Wilis, spirits of betrothed young women who have died from grief after being betrayed by unfaithful lovers. Berthe leads a reluctant Giselle indoors, and Albrecht takes his leave.
Horns sound in the distance, signaling the imminent arrival of a hunting party, led by the Duke of Courland and his daughter Bathilde, who is engaged to Albrecht. Bathilde learns that Giselle, too, is engaged, and charmed by the girl, gives her a necklace, unaware that they are betrothed to the same man. Giselle, in gratitude for the gift, asks her friends to join her in dancing a pas de deux to entertain the hunting party. The merriment is brought to a halt by Hilarion who, having investigated Albrecht’s cottage, now brandishes the nobleman’s horn and sword. When Giselle learns the truth of Albrecht’s deception, she is distraught and attempts to kill herself with his sword. She goes mad with despair. Her weak heart gives out and she dies.
Erica Cornejo as Giselle and Nelson Madrigal as Albrecht in Giselle (Act II)
Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor
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