By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
It’s taken more than 150 years, but “Giselle” will finally make its Tupelo debut on Saturday.
“It’s kind of like ‘Swan Lake’ because it’s such a big production,” said Sharon Long, artistic director of Tupelo Ballet, “and it uses so many male dancers.”
Several dancers connected to Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah, will take part in the production, which also will feature longtime Tupelo Ballet collaborator Anthony Neumann. Carolyn Judson with Texas Ballet Theater will play the role of Giselle.
“The first act is a village scene,” Long said. “The second act is set in a cemetery.”
There are some dark elements in “Giselle,” but the story starts happily. Giselle and Albrecht flirt, and their relationship grows – or so it seems to Giselle.
“He’s a womanizer. He’s a liar. He has a
fiancé,” Long said. “She dies of a broken heart.”
At the cemetery, the Wilis (pronounced “Willies”) are female spirits who were jilted before their wedding days. They rise from their graves at night and seek revenge on men by dancing them to death.
The supernatural characters summon Giselle from her grave, and Albrecht shows up in the cemetery. Giselle has a choice to make between revenge and forgiveness.
“It’s not scary,” Long said. “All of the Wilis are in long, white costumes. It’s really very pretty.”
The ballet was first performed June 28, 1841, in Paris, so the Tupelo debut will take place 168 years later. Such longevity is a tribute to the enduring popularity of “Giselle.”
“It’s right up there with ‘The Nutcracker,’ ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Swan Lake,’” Long said. “It’s a show for true ballet lovers, young and old.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal .com.
What: Tupelo Ballet’s “Giselle”
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Tupelo Civic Auditorium
Tickets: $10 to $20, Visa and Master Card accepted.