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8.550755-56 - ADAM: Giselle (Complete Ballet)
Adolphe Adam (1803 - 1856)
The son of a distinguished piano-teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, Adolphe Adam was born in Paris in 1803. His contemporary popular success depended on a series of compositions for the stage, with much of his later work rendered necessary by the failure of a theatre venture in the revolution of 1848 and the consequent need to pay off heavy debts. These were cleared by the time of his death in 1858. The best known of Adam's eighty works for the stage remains his ballet Giselle or Les Wilis, an archetypal romantic ballet, with ingredients that had already appeared in La Sylphide and were to re-appear in various forms as the century went on.
Giselle is based on a legend according to which the ghosts of unmarried girls return to seek revenge on the living. The Wilis had already been described in a story in Heinrich Heine's De l'Allemagne, although Heine received no credit for Giselle. The immediate inspiration for the ballet came from Théophile Gautier, spurred by his infatuation with the dancer Carlotta Grisi. Elements from Victor Hugo were to be incorporated in a libretto that was realised by the writer Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges in three days, while Adam took a week to sketch the music and three to complete it, making some use of earlier material. The choreography was devised by the Paris Opera ballet-master Jean Coralli, with Giselle's dances choreographed by Carlotta Grisi's teacher and lover Jules Perrot. Designs were by Pierre Ciceri, who had also designed the sets for La Sylphide. The ballet was first produced on 18th June 1841 at the Opèra, the Théâtre de l’Académie royale de musique, when Grisi danced Giselle, Lucien Petipa Albrecht and Adèle Dumilâtre the Queen of the Wilis, Myrthe. Various changes have been made in the ballet since 1841, nof least in a number of versions given in Russia, with an early re-staging there by Perrot with Fanny Elssler, a rival Giselle, and Marius Petipa. The latter later made his own choreographic contribution to the ballet in later productions. The score includes interpolated, scenes by Friedrich Burgmüller, who is best known for the peasant pas de deux in Act I of Giselle.
CD 1 Act I
The grape-pickers return and there is a waltz in which Giselle joins, with Albrecht. Nevertheless Berthe, Giselle's mother, warns her daughter to take care, since she has a weak heart. Giselle and her mother go into their house, while the sound of an approaching hunt is heard. The hunting-party enters, with Bathilde, betrothed to Albrecht, and her father, the Prince of Kurland. Giselle and Berthe otter the nobles refreshment and Bathilde and her father retire into the house to rest. There is dancing to entertain the party. Hilarion, who has found Albrecht's sword and cloak, now tries to convince Giselle that her new lover is a nobleman and not to be trusted. There is a quarrel between the two men and this ends when Hilarion sounds his hunting-horn. Bathilde and her father come out and recognise Albrecht, who greets them, kissing Bathilde's hand. Giselle's dreams are shattered and, out of her mind, she dances madly, finally dying of a broken heart.
CD 2 Act II
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
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