"Giselle" Dazzles at American Ballet Theater

Hee Seo in Giselle. Photo: Gene Schiavone

The new season at American Ballet Theater opened strongly with its very first performance on the evening of Monday, May 14th, a marvelous presentation of the beloved Giselle —one of the oldest surviving ballets—set to the immortal, melodious score by Adolphe Adam, with a libretto by the esteemed French writer, Théophile Gautier, after a retelling of a Slavic legend by the great German poet, Heinrich Heine. The ravishing choreography is after that of Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa and the current staging is by the company’s director, Kevin McKenzie, with unusually attractive scenography by Gianni Quaranta, appealing costumes by Anna Anni, and effective lighting by Jennifer Tipton.
This performance featured an outstanding cast, impressively led by the lovely Hee Seo, supremely touching in the title role, confidently partnered by the remarkable Roberto Bolle as the dashing Count Albrecht. Rounding out the principals was the extraordinary Gillian Murphy in an unforgettable turn as Myrta, the magnificent queen of the supernaturalwilis.
The secondary cast was also brilliant, including the dynamic Thomas Forster as Hilarion, the village huntsman that unrequitedly loves the heroine—he was thrilling in the concluding act, where he meets his tragic end. Skylar Brandt and Joseph Gorak—two jewels of the company—were delightful in the extended peasantpas de deuxin the first act. Also exquisite were Katherine Williams as Moyna and Zhong-Jing Fang as Zulma, while th ecorps de ballet were in superb form. I excitedly anticipate the remainder of the season.