Arranged marriages cause so much grief, but they stubbornly persist—to keep large-scale ownership of assets in the hands of very few families. During the heyday of nobility, this was an even more vexing issue than it is today, as there were fewer wealthy families and the parameters were more strictly enforced, as evident in Shakespeare's 16th century Romeo and Juliet and in this 19th century ballet masterwork.

Maria Mosina as Giselle
Maria Mosina as Giselle
Photo: Mike Watson
Giselle (Maria Mosina on opening night) is a peasant girl—she loves to dance, but has a weak heart—who falls in love with a nobleman, Count Albrecht (Alexei Tyukov). He hides his blue-blood appurtenances (sword, hunting horn) to mask his true identity, so he can be with her. This greatly disturbs Hilarion (Dmitry Treubchanov), a coarse gamekeeper who is also in love with Giselle. He reveals that the Count is pledged to the Duke's daughter, Bathilde (Cara Cooper), leading to Giselle's death from heartbreak, and her subsequent incarnation among the Wilis, spirits of women jilted by their lovers and who died before their weddings. The Wilis, and their merciless queen, Myrtha (Asuka Sasaki), haunt the forest at night, seeking revenge on any man they encounter, forcing their victims to dance until they die of exhaustion. First, Hilarion enters the forest, to leave flowers at Giselle's grave. He is quickly caught up in the Wilis' spell; then, Albrecht enters.

Maria Mosina as Giselle and Alexei Tyukov as Count Albrecht
Maria Mosina as Giselle and
Alexei Tyukov as Count Albrecht
Photo: Mike Watson
Act II, in the Black Forest, is one of the most beautiful sequences in all of ballet. Eighteen Wili, plus the Queen and two attendants, perform a series of exquisite dances, topped of by Giselle and Albrecht's pas de deux, during which Giselle pleads to her queen for Albrecht's life. The poignancy of the pair's dances and the exchange of lilies, will grab your heart.

Mosina, now in her 19th year with the company, never ceases to amaze, as her technique and acting seem to scale new heights each season. Tyukov is a consumate prince, both powerful and sensitive; his artistry and athleticism are riveting.

Artists of the Colorado Ballet as the Wili
Artists of the Colorado Ballet
as the Wili
Photo: Mike Watson
The choreography, based on the original (Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot), revised by Marius Petipa, and stageed by Gil Boggs, Sandra Brown, and Lorita Travaglia, dazzles the eye and offers a number of unique passages.

Adam Flatt and the 50-piece Colorado Ballet Orchestra bring Adolphe Adam's beautiful score to fruition.

The Colorado Ballet's Giselle concludes this weekend with four performances (Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sunday at 2:00 PM). 303-837-8888 or

Bob Bows


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