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Giselle

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Dutch National Opera and BalletWaterlooplein 22, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
February 21, 26, 27, 29, March 01 14:00, 03, 05, 08 14:00 (at 20:15 unless shown)

Giselle is both one of the most romantic works in the classical ballet repertoire as well as among the most demanding, calling for the soloists to cultivate a profound dramatic and emotional empathy with the characters.

Giselle is one of the earliest ballets and still popular around the globe. With its lively, colourful opening act, gripping Mad Scene and ensuing unearthly pure White Act, the ballet has become a fixture in the romantic-classical repertoire. Since its première in 1841, the story of love, deception, betrayal and forgiveness has given rise to countless interpretations. Dutch National Ballet has previously staged versions by the Russian Natalia Orlovskaja and British Sir Peter Wright. In 2009 it got its ‘own’ production, created by Rachel Beaujean and Ricardo Bustamante, which has captured the hearts of ballet enthusiasts from China to Colombia.

In their adaptation, Beaujean and Bustamante ‘revitalised’ the scenes to make them more engaging and meaningful for twenty-first century audiences, while still honouring the ballet's tradition. The same applies to the stunning set and costume designs by Toer van Schayk. Above all, Beaujean and Bustamante seek to emphasise the narrative emotion and intensity, because: ‘When done right, Giselle goes more than skin-deep.’

Giselle tells the story of a duke who falls in love with an innocent peasant girl and, by concealing his true identity, deceives her and ultimately dooms them both. As a tale about an impossible love, the themes in Giselle are as current as ever, and so, too, is the artistic eloquence of this new production. Beaujean: ‘The choreography, the composition of the dances, is phenomenal. Giselle never gets old. It is like the Night Watch – timeless.’

Rachel Beaujean co-created Giselle with Ricardo Bustamante following her earlier adaptations of Les Sylphides and Paquita. This is her first full-length production. As a dancer with Dutch National Ballet for twenty years, Beaujean made her reputation as Hans van Manen's muse. After her dance career she became the company’s ballet master, and in 2003 was appointed head of the artistic staff. At her fortieth anniversary with the company (a first in the Dutch dance world!) in 2017 Beaujean was promoted to ‘first lady’ of Dutch National Ballet as its associate artistic director, and was also made an Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau.

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