Two companies, one ‘Giselle’

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Two companies, one ‘Giselle’


A dancer performs as Giselle in a Korea National Ballet production in 2002. The KNB will stage the work again next month in conjunction with the Paris Opera Ballet. Provided by the Korea National Ballet

After a nine-year hiatus, the Korea National Ballet is once again presenting “Giselle,” one of ballet’s most admired works, from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27 at the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul.

The production is being produced in collaboration with the Paris Opera Ballet, the world’s oldest national troupe. The two companies will stage the original 19th century French choreography together for the first time in Korea. Patrice Bart, the French company’s associate artistic director and ballet master, is helping to reconstruct the choreography. The French troupe was founded in the late 17th century under royal patronage.

The KNB last performed the Russian version of the work nine years ago.

“Having seen ‘Giselle’ by the Paris Opera Ballet in Japan, I made up my mind to bring the French company’s version - which has the longest history - to Korea,” KNB artistic director Choi Tae-ji said in a press conference last Tuesday.


The two-act ballet, which premiered in Paris in June 1841, tells the story of a peasant girl named Giselle who dies prematurely after being dumped by a nobleman named Albrecht. She then turns into a ghost and comes back to protect her lover from the vengeance of a group of evil female spirits called the Wilis.

“‘Giselle’ is a masterpiece of the romantic ballet. It’s a French ballet created by French people,” said Bart. “Back in the 19th century, France was heavily influenced by mysticism, superstition and fantasy and ‘Giselle’ embodies those characteristics. The work also accurately depicts the social hierarchy that divided people into the rich and the poor. Giselle was caught in between the two.”

The KNB has made a sizeable investment to bring the production to Korea. In addition to the choreography, other key elements of the performance - from the set to the costumes, lighting and music - will be imported from France.

The costumes were designed by renowned Italian costume designer Luisa Spinatelli and created by Italy’s Brancato Costumi Teatrali, an atelier that has built costumes for such theaters as La Scala.

Spinatelli’s paintings will also serve as the backdrop of the play.

Marzio Conti, an Italian conductor with the National Orchestra of Andorra, will be taking the podium.


Choi Tae-ji, artistic director of the Korea National Ballet, left, and Patrice Bart, associate artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet, speak at a press conference last Tuesday at the Korea Press Center in Seoul. Provided by the Korea National Ballet

The work will feature four different dancers as Giselle over the four-day performance period: the KNB’s two principal dancers Kim Joo-won and Kim Ji-young; the Paris Opera Ballet’s star Laetitia Pujol; and the KNB’s Lee Eun-won, a fledgling ballerina who was chosen for her excellence immediately after she started with the troupe.

Pujol and her partner Mathieu Gnio, another Paris Opera Ballet principal, will dance on the last day.

*“Giselle” will run from Feb. 24 until Feb. 27 at the Seoul Arts Center Opera House. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, at 3 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range from 5,000 won ($4.46) to 100,000 won. Go to Nambu Bus Terminal Station, line No. 3, exit 5. For details, call (02) 580-1300 or visit

By Seo Ji-eun []

Related Korean Article [연합]

"'지젤', 프랑스 발레의 정수 보여줄 것"
바르 佛파리오페라발레단 부예술감독 기자회견

"'지젤'은 낭만 발레의 걸작이자 프랑스 발레의 정수를 담고 있다고 해도 과언이 아닙니다. 이번 공연에서 19세기 낭만주의를 반영한 프랑스적 발레를 완벽하게 구현해낼 것입니다."

프랑스 파리오페라발레단의 부예술감독이자 상임안무가인 파트리스 바르(66)는 18일 국립발레단이 프레스센터에서 연 기자간담회에 참석해 다음 달 국내 무대에 선보이는 발레 '지젤'을 이렇게 소개했다.

'지젤'은 장 코랄리와 쥘 페로의 안무로 1841년 파리오페라극장(가르니에 극장)에서 초연된 고전 발레 작품이다. 낭만 발레의 대명사이자, 고전 발레 작품 중 '백조의 호수'와 함께 대중들에게 가장 많이 알려진 작품이기도 하다.

국립발레단은 2002년 러시아 버전의 '지젤'을 공연한 적이 있지만 프랑스 버전의 '지젤'은 이번이 국내 초연이다.

원작은 파리오페라발레단 안무가들에 의해 계속해서 변형돼 왔으며, 이번에 국립발레단이 공연하는 작품은 현 파리오페라발레단의 상임안무가인 파트리스 바르가 다듬은 버전이다. …
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