[ON STAGE]'Giselle' back for round tutu

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[ON STAGE]'Giselle' back for round tutu

Often referred to as "the Hamlet of ballet," the classical ballet "Giselle" is one of the most popular and poignant from the Romantic era. Composed by the Frenchman Adolphe Adam (1803-1856) in 1841, the ballet has led innumerable aspiring ballerinas to dream of playing the title role.

The dramatic two-act work was a big hit on the peninsula last year when it was staged at the LG Arts Center in a production put on by a Russian dance company. The stage designer of that work, Viacheslav Okunev, was especially well-liked by critics.

Now the ballet is back, to be performed by the Korean National Ballet Company, which recently appointed a new director, Kim Geung-soo. It was Mr. Kim's choice to stage "Giselle" as the troupe's first performance under his guidance, and he also persuaded Mr. Okunev to come back to Seoul to design the sets for this production.

Adam's chef d'ouvre tells the story of a naive peasant girl who falls hopelessly in love with a prince. But when she discovers that Prince Albrecht has been toying with her affections, she becomes possessed with suicidal rage.

Giselle seeks to exact revenge on the man she loves, but fails. Then she loses her mind completely, stabs herself and dies. At that point, the story becomes one of female ghosts existing under a mystical moonlight.

With its evocative set and choreography, "Giselle" creates powerful bursts of imagery representing desire, wrath and madness.

Three of Korea's top ballerinas will play the title role over the production's four-day run. Kim Joo-won, who has played the part before and was recently appointed a cultural ambassador for the World Cup soccer games, will play the lead on April 6 and 8. Kim Ji-young, a former prima ballerina for the Korean National Ballet Company who just joined the Netherlands National Ballet Company, will play the role on April 7 and 9. Yoon Hae-jin, a relatively new figure on the local ballet scene, will perform the role for the April 7 afternoon show.

The part of Prince Albrecht will be played by Lee Won-kuk on April 6 and 8, Jang Un-kyu on April 9 and the April 7 afternoon show, and Kim Bo-youn on the April 7 evening show.

Tickets cost from 50,000 won ($37) to 100,000 won. Students are entitled to 50 percent discounts. For information, call 02-587-6181.

by Park Soo-mee

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