Boston Ballet Review: Giselle September 28, 2019 | Citizens Bank Opera House – Boston, MA, USA
Boston Ballet‘s season opener Giselle is not only a theatrical and artistic delight, but a lesson in the values of classical ballet tradition. As much as contemporary ballet choreographers of today are stretching predefined boundaries and creating new voices to be heard, it is also important that the vocabulary of the classical greats Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, Marius Petipa is not lost in translation.
Former Ballerina and present company Ballet Mistress Larissa Ponomarenko has imparted her decades of experience to the current cast of company dancers in her adaptation of this iconic romantic ballet.
The brilliant star of the show is Seo Hye Han and not simply because she portrays the title character. Han’s talent stretches beyond her technical aptitude to the expressiveness of her hands, the sweet subtle tilts of her head, and the way she has of making the viewers feel emotionally invested in her fictional journey.
Based on audience reaction, Han’s execution of the iconic series of entrechat quatres and passé relevés in the second act was a memorable moment; it was wonderful to hear applause in appreciation of the quick and precise footwork – no fouettés needed to impress. Most notable is the lack of tension in her arms throughout the entire ballet, so much so that even watching her from only the waist up has the power to take your breath away.
Junxiong Zhao and Irlan Silva are extremely compatible male counterparts to Han as Count Albrecht and Hilarion, respectively. The chemistry between Zhao and Han is magical; they are endearing without exaggeration. And in his solo moments, Zhao’s character interpretation with his clean bravura dancing make for a perfect combination. What a shame that we don’t see Silva dance until Act II as the strength in his jumps is as compelling as his acting.
Curious casting was that of Paulina Waski as Myrtha. If it were not for the tiara on her head, distinguishing her as the Queen of them all (the Wilis, that is) would have been a challenge. Regal emanation came gradually as the act progressed, but the lack of establishment of her essence at the beginning made it feel like a little too late.
Moyna and Zulme – danced by Chisako Oga and Nina Matiashvili, respectively – were well-suited. Matiashvili was especially commanding of the stage; perhaps a Myrtha in the making?
Although the Boston Ballet’s run of Giselle is over, if this production is any indication of what’s in store for the rest of the season, we are all in for a treat.
Cherilyn's lifelong passion for ballet has opened the door to the next chapter of her journey. Her strong foundation includes training at the School of American Ballet, being a featured dancer with Hartford Ballet and Carolina Ballet, and being co-director/owner of City Ballet Raleigh. She was granted the Affiliate Teacher Award after successfully completing the ABT National Training Curriculum®. A professional career in the industry along with extensive global travel provide her with a unique set of experiences to draw upon as a journalist and audience member. Cherilyn is excited to be sharing her insight about ballet around the world.