Russian National Ballet Theatre brings “Giselle” to the Chicago suburbs
Life is a puzzle, love is a puzzle, and even death is a puzzle. Some parts of the puzzles that people have to deal with can be traumatic and include deception, cheating, hurt feelings and even a broken heart. However, the human soul can also experience such feelings as devotion, compassion, forgiveness and sacrifice. The ballet “Giselle” by distinguished French composer Adolphe Adam reflects it all.
North Central College, one of the most reputable colleges in the Chicago area, is proud to present a beautiful production of “Giselle” by the Russian National Ballet Theatre, which came all the way from Moscow to share the talent of its ballet dancers with the American public. The performance will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 in historic Pfeiffer Hall, which is part of North Central College and is located in walking distance from downtown Naperville.
Russian National Ballet Theatre is one of the best private classical ballet companies in Russia. It includes over fifty experienced and talented dancers. Many of them have been with the company since its inception in Moscow in the late 1980s. At that time, many Soviet dancers and choreographers started their own dance companies that combined the timeless traditions of classical Russian Ballet and new dance experiences from around the world. One such organization was the Russian National Ballet Theatre.
The legendary Bolshoi Theater principal dancer Elena Radchenko became the founder of the Russian National Ballet Theatre, and in 1994 by Presidential decree she was selected to be the first permanent artistic director of the company. Since then, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is one of the leading Russian ballet companies and is greatly appreciated and valued all around the world. In addition to their extensive tour history, in January 2017 the company embarked upon a four-month coast-to-coast tour of the United States. The company’s “Giselle” production in Naperville is part of that big tour.
It’s not the first time for the Russian National Ballet Theatre dancers to perform on the stage of Pfeiffer Hall. In May 2015 the Russian National Ballet Theater wowed the public with its brilliant performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”. Pfeiffer Hall is a venue that is more than eighty five years old, and during the decades of its existence it has been a great attraction not only for famous musicians, dancers and performers, but also for world-renowned speakers such as Robert Frost, Martin Luther King Jr., Henry Kissinger, Cornel West and Barack Obama. However, this great historic stage is not the easiest for the ballet dancers.
From their last performance at Pfeiffer Hall, the Russian National Ballet Theatre dancers remember that the stage at this location is a little bit too small, which makes it hard to give ballet performances on it. However, the desire of these dancers to share their talent and the legendary Russian ballet dancing traditions is so high, that they know how to overcome difficulties and still to present an excellent performance. These dancers are so talented and adaptable, that nobody in the audience will ever know that the performers had to face some difficulties. It is their job to dance with a high level of professionalism and mastership on any stage in the world and make their audience happy, and how they achieve it is their professional secret.
Another professional secret is how they make the legendary “Giselle” production unforgettable. With touching and sincere music by popular French composer Adolphe Adam, a brilliant libretto by talented Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier, and fantastic choreography by legendary Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa, this ballet has been performed numerous times around the world in different interpretations. The Russian National Ballet Theatre will present one of the best versions of this masterpiece as it will demonstrate the unique stage version by its founder and artistic director Elena Radchenko.
“Giselle”, a full length ballet in two acts, is considered to be a so-called supernatural ballet production and is one of the oldest ballets of the Romantic era still performed. The music to this ballet was written in 1841 in a very short time – just in about two months. Adolphe Adam, a popular ballet and opera music writer of his time, composed the music to this ballet in the smooth, song-like style of the day called cantilena. Using several leitmotifs, which are short musical phrases associated with certain characters and events, he was able to colorfully demonstrate the personalities of the main characters.
This production brings to life the story of a shy peasant girl named Giselle whose beauty and charm attracted not only the forester Hilarion, but also Duke Albrécht. The young nobleman dressed as a villager and pretended that his name was Loys in order to woo the innocent Giselle despite his betrothal to Bathilde, a young noble woman. Poor Giselle believed him and fell in love, but later the news about his real identity and the engagement with another woman upset her so much that it literally broke her heart and killed her. After her death, Giselle transformed into a Wili, one of the ghosts of women betrayed before their wedding day. Unlike the other Wilis, who haunted the forest at night to seek revenge on any man they encountered and who forced their victims to dance until they died of exhaustion, Giselle forgave Albrécht and eventually saved him from death.
The pieces of these puzzles of life, love, death and forgiveness came together and turned into a beautiful story in the form of a touching ballet performance. “Giselle”, one of the most important and popular ballets in human history, might be considered supernatural with its Wilis swirling on the stage, but it definitely teaches us a real life lesson. Forgiveness and true love can result in the salvation even of a lost and errant soul. Nothing in this life has only one color, and tragedy often walks hand-in-hand with victory and happiness. One just has to know how to put all the pieces of the puzzles together.
What: Ballet “Giselle” presented by the Russian National Ballet Theatre
Where: Pfeiffer Hall, part of North Central College
Address: 310 E. Benton, Naperville, IL 60540
When: Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 8:00pm to 10:00pm
Pricing: $40, $30, $25
Phone: North Central College Box Office 630-637-SHOW (7469)
Organizations in this Story
30 N Brainard St
Naperville, IL 60540