RWB’s 76th season opens with the beautiful and haunting production of Giselle. Hailed as one of the greatest of all ballets and a supreme achievement of the Romantic era, it has captivated audiences worldwide since its premiere in Paris in 1841.
A broken heart and shattered dreams drive the virtuous village girl Giselle to her untimely death. In the moonlit forest, she joins the spirit world of the Wilis – vengeful spirits of abandoned brides. When Giselle’s remorseful lover Albrecht visits her grave, only her undying love can save him from the Wilis’ bewitching, deathly dance.
Giselle is often referred to as the Hamlet of ballet with the title role as one of the most challenging due to the complexity of its character. It requires exceptional technical and dramatic skills from the graceful sweet movements of the first act through the dramatic climax of madness to the ghostly, weightless movements of the second act.
Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s traditional production will take you on a breathtaking journey of Giselle’s heart-wrenching tale of love, contrition and forgiveness.
Experience a new generation of dancers in Giselle, an epic ballet that has captivated audiences over its 170 year history. Featuring the special participation of RWB’s former prima ballerina, Evelyn Hart behind the scenes and on stage.
Get the most out of your tickets! Arrive early and you’ll be treated to pre-show chats. Join in our White Out, and enjoy intermission musicians:
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Featured Creative Team
Peter Wright, after Jules Perrot, Jean Coralli and Marius Petipa
Scenery & Costume Design
Jo-Ann Sundermeier as Giselle (30, 2, 4)
Yayoi Ban as Giselle (1, 3)
Liang Xing as Albrecht (30, 2, 4)
Dmitri Dovgoselets as Albrecht (1, 3)
Egor Zdor as Hilarion (30, 2, 4)
Thiago Dos Santos as Hilarion (1, 3)
Evelyn Hart as Berthe (all shows)
Sarah Po Ting Yeung as Bathilde (30, 2, 4)
Sarah Davey as Bathilde (1, 3)
Steven Schipper, Artistic Director, RMTC as The Duke (all shows)
Tristan Dobrowney as Wilfred (30, 2, 4)
Liam Caines as Wilfred (1, 3)
Sarah Davey, Kostyantyn Keshyshev, Alanna McAdie, Yosuke Mino, Chenxin Liu, Luzemberg Santana as Peasant Pas de Six (30, 2, 4)
Elizabeth Lamont, Josh Reynolds, Yoshiko Kamikusa, Stephan Possin, Manami Tsubai, Ryan Vetter as Peasant Pas de Six (1, 3)
Thiago Dos Santos, Tyler Carver, Philippe Larouche, Liam Caines, Stephan Possin, Yue Shi as Peasant Men (30, 2, 4)
Egor Zdor, Tyler Carver, Philippe Larouche, Tristan Dobrowney, Liam Sato, Luzemberg Santana as Peasant Men (1, 3)
Students from the RWB Professional Division as The Hunt (all shows)
Sophia Lee as Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis (30, 2, 4)
Sarah Davey as Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis (1, 3)
Elizabeth Lamont as Moyna (30, 2, 4)
Alanna McAdie as Moyna (1, 3)
Sarah Davey as Zulme (30, 2, 4)
Chenxin Liu as Zulme (1, 3)
Anna O’Callaghan, Manami Tsubai, Chenxin Liu, Yoshiko Kamikusa, Katie Bonnell, Jaimi Deleau, Amy Young, Jessie Petrie, Saeka Shirai, Julia J as Wilis (30, 2, 4)
All casting is subject to change
ACT I - A RHINELAND VILLAGE
Count Albrecht loves Giselle, a peasant girl, though she knows him only as a villager named Loys. Giselle’s mother, Berthe, hopes that her daughter will marry Hilarion, a forester devoted to Giselle, and warns her against Loys. But Giselle disregards Hilarion, and joins with her beloved in the celebrations that mark the end of the grape-harvest. When Albrecht’s squire secretly warns his master of the approach of a hunting party, Hilarion observes them and manages to break into Loys’ cottage, seeking to learn the secret of Loys’ identity. The hunting party arrives, led by the Duke of Courland and his daughter Bathilde, Albrecht’s future bride, who are staying at Albrecht’s castle.
They seek rest in Berthe’s cottage and Bathilde, charmed by Giselle, gives her a necklace. The Duke orders a hunting horn to be left so that his courtiers may be summoned in due course and this provides Hilarion with proof of Loys’ identity as he compares the crests on the horn and on a sword he has found in Loys’ cottage. Just as Giselle is crowned Queen of the Vintage, Hilarion reveals the truth about Loys. When Bathilde returns and claims Albrecht as her fiancé, the shock unseats Giselle’s reason. In her madness she relives her love for Loys and seizing his sword, she kills herself.
ACT II - GISELLE’S GRAVE IN THE FOREST
As midnight sounds, Hilarion keeps vigil by Giselle’s grave, which lies in unhallowed ground by a forest lake. This is the time when the Wilis materialize - ghosts of young girls who have been jilted and have died before their wedding day; now they avenge themselves by dancing to death any man whom they happen upon during the hours of darkness. Myrtha, their Queen, summons her Wilis; and next Giselle is called from her grave to be initiated into their rites. When Albrecht enters, bringing flowers for Giselle’s tomb, Giselle appears to him. The Wilis pursue Hilarion, whom they drive to his death, and then fall vengefully upon Count Albrecht.
Myrtha condemns him to dance until he dies, and though Giselle urges him to the safety of the cross on her grave, Myrtha commands Giselle to dance and lure Albrecht from the cross. Giselle tries to sustain him, but as the night wears on, his dancing becomes more and more exhausted. Just as his death seems imminent, dawn breaks. Daylight destroys the Wilis’ power and the ghostly dancers fade away; Giselle, too, melts away, leaving Albrecht sorrowing and alone.