THE Royal New Zealand Ballet will stage its new production of "Giselle" on April 12 and 13 at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.
"Giselle," first performed in Paris in 1841, is a hallmark of Romantic ballet with technically challenging choreography. The score is by French composer Adophe Adam (1803-1856).
"Giselle" tells the story of a young peasant girl Giselle, wooed by a nobleman Duke Albrecht, who disguises himself as a peasant. After she learns he has deceived her and is engaged to another, she dies of a broken heart. She is turned into a Wilis, the vengeful spirits of women who have died because of their lovers' betrayal. The Wilis clan take revenge on men they encounter at night by forcing them to dance with them until they die. Duke Albrecht is condemned to dance, but Giselle saves him and returns to her grave in peace.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet's dramatic, traditional-style production features a more concise staging than is usual. It is co-produced and choreographed by Ethan Stiefel, the artistic director of the troupe, and the Royal Ballet's acclaimed principal Johan Kobborg.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet was founded in 1953 by the Royal Danish Ballet's Poul Gnatt. This is the company's 60th anniversary and the visit to Shanghai will be their third after "Cinderella" in 2007 and the modern ballet "Trinity" in 2009.
Stiefel was the principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre from 1997 to 2012. He and Kobborg have both danced the role of Duke Albrecht many times and wanted to bring the ballet to the stage from their own perspective, while staying true to the original.