To call Giselle romantic is an understatement, because the ballet not only showcases a love affair between a royal and a commoner, but carries their devotion beyond death. The role, too, is immortal: As Balanchine points out, to dance Giselle is akin to playing Hamlet—it is a means of measuring the great artists who have performed it.

On opening night of the Colorado Ballet's 2006 season, the first under new artistic director Gil Boggs, Maria Mosina displayed her considerable technical and dramatic skills as the lovely peasant girl who dies when she learns that her prince is duty bound to another.

Igor Vassine as Prince Albrecht and Maria Mosina as Giselle
Igor Vassine as Prince Albrecht
and Maria Mosina as Giselle
Photo: Colorado Ballet/Terry Shapiro
Over the years, we have marveled at Mosina's virtuosity, and indeed she is at her best once more, but her inhabitation of Giselle's body, mind, and soul along with Igor Vassine's transcendent Albrecht carries this performance into that rare realm of divine artistic inspiration.

The Russian pair's commitment to Giselle and Albrecht's passion rides on a wave of sublime musical achievement, as Adolphe Adam's lush score—performed in all it's multifaceted grandeur by the 43-piece orchestra, under the able hand of Akira Endo—blossoms into one exquisite dance after another.

Koichi Kubo and Sharon Wehner sparkle in the Peasant Pas de Deux
Koichi Kubo and Sharon Wehner
sparkle in the Peasant Pas de Deux
Photo: Colorado Ballet/Terry Shapiro
Such joy and tenderness is shown in Giselle and Albrecht's initial dances that Hilarion, the village huntsman and gamekeeper who also loves Giselle, is driven to tear them apart by revealing Albrecht's other life. This leads to Mosina's stunning depiction of Giselle's descent into madness and finally death, but not before Sharon Wehner and Koichi Kubo treat us to a scintillating Peasant Pas de Deux, she sprightly, twirling, he athletic, soaring.

The Wilis Arabesque
The Wilis Arabesque
Photo: Colorado Ballet/Terry Shapiro
The 21 Wilis, betrothed maids who have died before their wedding day, led by an elegant Sayaka Karasugi as Myrtha their queen, are so unified in pitch that there is no question of their power to drive young men to dance to death.

Albrecht's pursuit of Giselle beyond the grave culminates in a series of progressively more spiritualized encounters, interrupted only by the Wilis' attempt to drive Albrecht to exhaustion and Giselle's corresponding interventions on his behalf.

Igor Vassine as Albrecht at Giselle's grave
Igor Vassine as Albrecht
at Giselle's grave
Photo: Colorado Ballet/Terry Shapiro
When dawn finally arrives and the Wilis are returned to their graves, we witness one of the most touching and visually striking final scenes in all of ballet, with Albrecht dropping lilies as he backs away from Giselle's grave.

The Colorado Ballet's Giselle runs through October 15th. 303-837-8888 x2, or

Bob Bows


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