On 31 January, the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Kharkiv from Ukraine will visit Ventspils Theatre House “Jūras vārti”

Ventspils residents and visitors will have the opportunity to watch one of the most beautiful and popular works in the history of ballet – the ballet “Giselle”.

According to the organisers, dance and its relationship with youth, love and death is the central theme of the Romantic ballet Giselle. As is well known, mythical images of fairies play a role in it – spirits of deceived virgins found in Slavic folklore, who in revenge can dance the boys they meet at night to death. It was this motif that inspired the ballet libretto by the French Romantic writer, poet and literary critic Théophile Gauthier.

A collaboration between Theophile Gautier, librettist Gilles Henri St Georges, composer Adolphe Charles Adan, choreographers Jean Coralli and Jules Perrault, the ballet Giselle is still widely performed in theatres around the world after its premiere in Paris in 1841.

The ballet’s libretto tells the story of the first love and betrayal of the naive 15-year-old girl Giselle, followed by madness and death, leading to a terrifyingly beautiful afterlife. In the end, however, love triumphs over the doom of death.

The value of the production also lies in its choreography. The role of Giselle is a great challenge and for many dancers the pinnacle of their careers in the classical repertoire. Today, Giselle is most often seen in the version choreographed at the end of the 19th century by Marius Petipa of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. It is this version, with Leonid Lavrov’s revision, that the Kharkiv Ballet presents.

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