Classic ballet Giselle comes to Montana
Posted on 17 May 2018
Bozeman performance June 14-15
One of the world's classic ballets is coming to Montana.
Mathilde Froustey, San Francisco Ballet principal dancer, and a Paris Opera Ballet soloist, will perform the title role in Giselle June 14-15 in Bozeman.
Nikita Kusurgahev, a former Bolshoi Ballet soloist, performs the role of Hans, Giselle’s rejected lover who is thrown to his death by the villainous Wilis. Dancers from Raison D'être Dance in Bozeman and Billings School of Classical Ballet also join Yellowstone Ballet Company in the production, which will be performed at Willson Auditorium in Bozeman on Thursday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. and Friday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Giselle, which debuted in Paris in 1841, is a wrenchingly poignant tale of unrequited love, remorse, and forgiveness. It is set in a German village where Giselle, a village girl, falls in love with the nobleman, Albrecht, who has disguised himself as a peasant. Albrecht engages himself to Giselle although he is already betrothed to the princess Bathilde. Hans, the village gamekeeper, exposes Albrecht’s true identity and Bathilde claims her fiancé in front of the distraught Giselle.
Giselle goes mad with disbelief; her heart fails, and she dies.
Act II of the ballet draws from German folklore as it involves the Wilis, female discarnates or ghosts from Slavonic mythology, believed to punish faithless men by dancing with them until they die of exhaustion. Myrta, queen of the Wilis, welcomes Giselle from her grave, then commands her to join the Wilis in dancing both Hans and Albrecht to death.
While the Wilis succeed with Hans, Albrecht, who expresses his remorse, begs forgiveness from Giselle, and she shows her forgiveness by dancing with him until dawn breaks and the Wilis disperse—freeing Albrecht and her own soul from the grips of the Wilis.
Yellowstone Ballet Company Artistic Director, Kathleen Rakela, says, “The role of Giselle is one of the most prized roles in ballet. To perform Giselle, a ballerina must have impeccable technique, outstanding grace, and great dramatic skills. Giselle is to a ballerina what portraying Hamlet is to an actor. The role puts huge demands on the ballerina, both as a dancer and as an actor. During the ballet, Giselle moves from innocent maiden in love, to a woman driven mad from the loss of that love, to an ethereal spirit in a world beyond death. It is a rare treat to have such a classic performed on the Wilson Auditorium stage in Bozeman, Montana with a dancer of the caliber of Mathilde Froustey.”
Besides winning gold at the Varna International Ballet Competition, the oldest and the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world, Mathilde has received numerous awards and international recognition including: an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for her performances of Giselle with Tiit Helimets during the San Francisco Ballet 2015 Repertory Season; a Danza & Danza’s best foreign dancer award in 2013; and the Ballet2000 dance prize in 2007.
She has also danced Giselle with Kremlin Ballet at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia, in September 2016 and performed at Paris Ballet in Hanoi, Vietnam; with Compañía Nacional de Danz in Madrid; at the International Ballet Gala XX in Dortmund, Germany; and in Paris Opera Ballet’s Don Quixote in Tokyo.
The French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported, "How can one overlook Mathilde Froustey, this charming and refined brunette, this stunning actress who dances like she breathes.”
“She lights up the stage,” says Helgi Tomasson, artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet. “What I love about her dancing is her joy. She feels music, and as an audience member, you connect with her.”
Tickets are on sale at Eckroth Music in Bozeman and online at www.yellowstoneballet.info. Tickets are $25, $38, $52, and $75 and will be available at the door for an additional $2.