Helgi Tomasson’s production of Adolphe Adam’s GISELLE continues at San Francisco Ballet through Sunday afternoon, February 2. Tomasson’s choreography (after Marius Petipa, Jules Perrot, and Jean Coralli) retains the traditional heartfelt poignancy and boosts the virtuosity of this amazing company. I attended the Wednesday, January 29th performance featuring Lorena Feijóo in the title role, Vitor Luiz as Albrecht, Rubén Martín Cíntas as Hilarion, and Simone Messmer as Myrtha.
Lorena Feijóo is Giselle. She is the Holy Rule of Giselle. Her every step, gesture, and reaction is inseparable from the spirit of the story, its music and choreography. In the arms of Vitor Luiz, Feijóo blooms into the radiant fair maiden who surrenders her heart totally to the charming but two-timing cad. At the Opening Night Gala, the pair was a sensation in Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella). Far from the wondrous storybook tonality of Giselle, the sophisticated flair of Alberto Iglesias’ music and the carnal and intuitive forces behind Yuri Possokhov’s choreography provided the dancers a fascinating scenario in which to combine fiery communion and muscular symmetry. By contrast, Giselle is shimmering poetry and penetrating grace. Vitor Luiz was picture-perfect throughout his virtuosic dancing and completely forgivable in his contrition at Giselle’s grave. The performances never dissolved into sentimentality, but remained buoyant and enticing.
Rubén Martín Cíntas brings elegance and integrity to the supporting role of Hilarion. As the well-intentioned steadfast suitor who has the approval of Berthe, Giselle’s mother (Katita Waldo), Rubén is heroic in exposing Albrecht’s selfish deceptions and ultimately tragic as he is danced to his death by the unrelenting Wilis.
As Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, Simone Messmer offers the perfect balance in breathtaking technique, absolute authority, an icy beauty and uncompromising vengefulness. She was beautifully supported by her ghostly assistants, Koto Ishihara and Julia Rowe. And the twenty-four Wilis who comprised this exquisite coven of eternal man-haters was a dream come true.
Tonight’s performance begins at 8:00 PM and will be conducted by Ming Luke. Maria Kochetkova will appear as Giselle, Taras Domitro as Albrecht, Pascal Molat as Hilarion, and Frances Chung as Myrtha. Martin West will lead the orchestra on Friday, January 31st at 8:00 PM with Mathilde Froustey in the the title role. Albrecht is danced by Tiit Helimets, Hilarion by Pascal Molat, and Simone Messmer appears as Myrtha. Saturday’s 2:00 matinee will be conducted by Martin West with Yuan Yuan Tan as Giselle, Davit Karapetyan as Albrecht, Ruben Martin Cintas as Hilarion, and Jennifer Stahl as Myrtha. Saturday evening’s performance begins at 8:00 PM and will again be conducted by Martin West. Maria Kochetkova appears as Giselle, Taras Domitro as Albrecht, James Sofranko as Hilarion, and Sofiane Sylve as Myrtha. The final performance at 2:00 PM, Sunday, February 2nd will be conducted by Nicolette Fraillon. Sarah Van Patten will dance Giselle, Luke Ingham is Albrecht, Pascal Molat is Hilarion, and Frances Chung appears as Myrtha.
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