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Classic tale of love and deceit beautifully performed

Giselle, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Nov 2 only. A classic tale of love and deceit was told beautifully by a company aiming to bring the best of Russian ballet to UK audiences. Russian State Ballet and Opera Company is performing three different ballets in Coventry, one of them Giselle. The performance opened in a wood populated by peasants, where Giselle was wooed by stranger Albrecht, despite the gamekeeper, another suitor, trying to warn her off. Their love was celebrated by her many friends through a series of large and charming ensemble dances, and by some breathtaking solos from the group’s principal dancers. The dancers’ peasant costumes were all sweetly pretty, and a contrast to the extravagant, bejewelled look of the local nobles’ hunting party which visited looking for a rest. Giselle was fascinated with the lady of the group, but then tragedy struck after it was revealed Albrecht was really a noble betrothed to her. The second act was performed under dimmed lights, as the “Wilis”, women who died before their wedding, rose from graves to entice men to dance to their deaths. The stage filled with wedding-dress clad dancers, and the gamekeeper was the first to be caught in their swirling white circle. When a remorseful Albrecht visited Giselle’s grave she rose to dance with him, and the Wilis drove him into frenzied, spectacular feats of dance, but in the end Giselle’s love triumphed. Marina Nomyrova in the lead role was superb, moving from an unsure maid, to a distraught, betrayed woman, and then a ghost, with impressive pointe work and arabesques that showed she deserved the lead role. At times it felt like the stage was too small for the up to 30 dancers in action, but it was an assured performance, backed by an impressive orchestra.

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