Giselle Rouge - revisited - Apr 6th, 2017
Wiener Staatsballet: April 6th, 2017, "Giselle rouge" - revisited.
When I heard that Robert Gabdullin was in the revival of „Giselle rouge” as “the partner” (Serge Lifar), I felt very tempted to watch this show again. Adding to my curiosity was the “new cast”: Nina Poláková as “the ballerina” (Olga Alexandrovna Spessivtseva), James Stephens as “the friend” (Serge Lifar’s lover) and the fact that on April 6th Vladimir Shishov would be playing the police inspector (Olga’s mad, sexual, insane love affair).
But I had decided not to concentrate only on the main characters (like during the last times I was in the audience watching this wonderful piece) but on the corps-de-ballet. I always have the feeling that Boris Eifman’s work is constructed through “bridges” – those lead us from one “group scene” to the next letting the main characters play “in between” – but never letting us forget that the whole environment around those is the explanation of their behavior. Their “Alibi” to put it plainly. Think of hos “Ana Karenina” for example…
Of course I could not do “just” that – I mean, not concentrate on the main characters. There was a lot of emotion and art’s “finesse” going on the stage of the Volksoper last night.
First of all it must be said that Andreas Schüller conducting skills are much more than you can expect at this house. Brilliant. “Giselle rouge” covers a wide range from Tchaikowsky to Adam, from Schnittke to Bizet and than from popular music (Yes, sir that’s my baby) back to Tchaikowsky and Adam back again… amazing!
Kamil Pavelka gave us a god portrait of the “teacher” – not so dramatic like Peci’s portrayal but extremely human, believable, honest. I liked this understatement. Daring and very effect full. James Stephen’s “friend” was good and correct. Somehow a little bit tense for me. I admire this dancer’s clean technique and long arms and legs, which will surely be a kind of asset in his future life.
Robert Gabdullin gave another “reading” of “Serge Lifar”: not so affected like the ones I had seen before. He made us believe in Serge’s “duality”, “ambiguity” and (in his way) “honest” feelings for Olga. He was also a man of flesh and blood. Needless to say that Mr. Gabdullin’s presence on stage is growing stronger and stronger every day. An artist. Sensibility is the key word.
Vladimir Shishov feeling “at home” in his role as the “Inspector”. Impressive. This was the first time I have seen him in this role. And it was extremely threatening. I felt afraid sometimes… Just after a few seconds on stage – in his first intense “meeting” with Olga –he lifts her and holds her with one arm two and half meters above the stage. At this he showed her (and us) who was “the boss ‘round here”. Mr. Shishov’s presence on stage has always been a great one. He usually dominates the whole house. But this police inspector is surely a “notch above”. Not only a perfect partner but exploding within himself in a craze of feelings. Applause.
Nina Poláková’s Olga is a very special creation. Miss Poláková, a prima ballerina at the height of her career, presented the audience with such a fine performance and this is not easy to put into words… I am not discussing technique – this “tool” she is in complete command of – but about the emotional aspects of an artist’s performance. In an awesome way she gave an extremely pin-pointed performance. Growing up, being abused, leaving her country and an abusive relationship, finding no love, falling into despair, becoming mad…
For the first time ever I was really touched when she was put into the straight jacket in order to leave the stage during “Giselle”. The once “beautiful Olga” turns into the “mad Olga”. An amazing performance. I like to honour talent. Tonight – I almost never do this anymore – I had to wait for Miss Poláková and salute her. And congratulate her for waking so many emotions! Such an emotional portrait!
But I do not wish to finish this critic before mentioning the corps-de-ballet. As I have written before – I have paid much more attention to those bridges and began more and fascinated by them. All group scenes are fantastic – and require sometimes quite quick costume changes. I congratulate the corps-de-ballet for such an exquisite, finely rehearsed, precise performance… Bravo Elena Bottaro, Gala Jovanovic, Eszter Ledán, Anita Manolova, Laura Nistor, Alaia Rogers, Francesco Costa, Marat Davletshin (great posture), Marian Furnica, Igor Milos, Dumitru Tiran, Jaimy van Overeem to name just a few… the other names you will find on the picture below.