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Ballet Review: Giselle, ou Les Wilis - Mikhailovsky Ballet at London Coliseum ✭✭✭✭


Giselle, ou Les Wilis 
 Mikhailovsky Ballet
London Coliseum
Review by Philippa Stubbs

Giselle is one of the world’s most famous ballets. Act One tells the tragic love story of a young peasant girl, Giselle, who falls in love with a Count who is engaged to another. As the story unwinds, Act Two is a moonlit scene filled with the spirits or ‘wilis’ who are the brides who have died before their wedding day. Despite their attempts to lead the Duke to his death, Giselle overpowers their force with her undying love and forgiveness for her lover.

During Act One, the stage is set in the splendour of Autumn, complete with rustic cottages and fallen leaves scattered in places. In stark contrast, Act Two is bathed in moonlight and haze, creating an eerie atmosphere where the Wilis roam, dressed in glowing white that glows in the shadows.

The emotion and wealth of feelings provided by Adolphe Adams’ musical score was represented perfectly through the ballet’s choreography, with meaningful performances by both the principals and Corps de Ballet.

Polina Seminova danced the demanding role as Giselle with impeccable technique and control. She must be complimented for the way she portrays the different facades of her character as she transforms from hysterity to ethereal beauty. In parallel, Denis Matvienko danced as the Count with strength and nobility, supporting Seminova effortlessly during their Pas de Deux.

The effectiveness of this ballet’s performance lies in its romantic and original production. It keeps the contrast between reality and fantasy at the forefront and the emotional performances by the dancers add the pièce de résistance.

4 stars ✭✭✭✭

London Coliseum

Friday 29 March, 7.30pm Principals – Olesya Novikova, Leonid Sarafanov
Conductor – Valery Ovsyanikov

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