Agathe Poupeney / OnP

Ballet

Giselle

Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot

Palais Garnier

from 02 May to 01 June 2024

2h10 with 1 interval

Giselle

Palais Garnier - from 02 May to 01 June 2024

Synopsis

Listen to the synopsis

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Diaphanous tutus, pointe shoes, white gauze, tulle: Giselle marks the pinnacle of romanticism. In a bucolic landscape, a young girl dies of love and is transformed into a spirit that haunts the forest. Taken in by the Wilis, she enters an ethereal world where dance is the language of the soul. Her lover Albrecht, distraught, pursues this ghost at the risk of his life.

The ballerinas, with their aerial presence, defy him just as they do gravity. The mist-shrouded set reveals spectral visions enhanced by Adolphe Adam’s bewitching score.

Premiered at the Royal Academy of Music on 28 June 1841, the ballet travelled to Russia and disappeared from the repertoire before its return to France in 1910. Today, in Patrice Bart and Eugène Polyakov’s version, faithful to the original choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, the ballet continues to offer us its magic.

Duration : 2h10 with 1 interval

  • Opening

  • First Part 55 min

  • Intermission 20 min

  • Second Part 55 min

  • End

Show acts and characters

CHARACTERS

Giselle: A young peasant girl. She falls in love with Loys, who turns out to be Duke Albrecht. Consumed by madness, she dies of a broken heart at the end of Act I.
Albrecht: Duke of Silesia. Already betrothed to Princess Bathilde, he seduces Giselle during the harvest season.
Myrtha: Queen of the Wilis, spirits of young maidens who have died before their wedding day. At night, they lure men into a deadly dance.
Hilarion: The village gamekeeper who is in love with Giselle. He reveals Albrecht’s true identity then dies, punished by the Wilis.

Act 1:
A village in the midst of celebrations
Giselle, a pretty village girl, has fallen in love with a handsome young man who comes from elsewhere. She knows nothing about him. He says his name is Loys. However, Hilarion the gamekeeper, whose shrewdness is made all the sharper by jealousy, suspects that he is a nobleman. Everyone is swept up in the dance. Waltz

Giselle’s mother worries that her daughter’s fragile health will not withstand her passion for dancing and, recounting the fate of the wretched Wilis – maidens who having died before their wedding day are condemned to dance every night until dawn – fears a similar end for her daughter. Giselle laughs off her mother’s concerns and continues dancing with the handsome young man. She is crowned queen of the festivities.

The Peasants’ pas de deux (also known as “the Harversters’ pas-de-deux”)

The Prince of Courland happens to pass through the village with his entourage. He stops in front of Giselle’s house and asks for something to drink. His daughter, Princess Bathilde, is engaged to Albrecht, Duke of Silesia, who is none other than… the young man whom Hilarion has just unmasked, having discovered the coat of arms on the sword of his rival. Giselle – shocked by the revelation – loses her mind and dies.

Act 2:
The forest at midnight: a tombstone topped with a cross.
Several white shades suddenly streak furtively by, then return. Who are these ethereal creatures? They are the Wilis, the souls of young maidens abandoned by faithless lovers. They reap their revenge luring young men to their death by night in the world of shadows. Myrtha, their queen, gathers them together to welcome a new companion into their midst: Giselle appears, shrouded in a deathly pale veil.

Dance of the Wilis

Albrecht arrives to place flowers on Giselle’s grave. He sees the ghostly-white vision of his beloved floating above him and tries to catch hold of her, but the apparition continually escapes his grasp. Finally, it flees. Entranced, he follows her. The foolhardy Hilarion arrives and the Wilis lead him into a feverish yet fatal dance: he is their first victim of the night. Albrecht is set to suffer the same fate.

Giselle implores Myrtha and the other Wilis to show clemency but they remain inflexible. Condemned to dance until exhaustion, Albrecht finds support in Giselle’s love: momentarily united, they dance desperately. Soon, the first light of day forces the ghosts to flee. Giselle, in turn disappears, leaving Albrecht to real life.

Artists

Ballet en deux actes (1841)

Creative team

Cast

  • Monday 29 April 2024 at 19:30
  • Thursday 02 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Saturday 04 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Sunday 05 May 2024 at 14:30
  • Monday 06 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Wednesday 08 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Friday 10 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Monday 13 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Tuesday 14 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Wednesday 15 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Thursday 16 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Friday 17 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Saturday 18 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Tuesday 21 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Wednesday 22 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Thursday 23 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Friday 24 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Saturday 25 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Monday 27 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Tuesday 28 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Wednesday 29 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Thursday 30 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Friday 31 May 2024 at 19:30
  • Saturday 01 June 2024 at 19:30

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

Latest update 20 May 2024, cast is likely to change.

The Étoiles, the Premières Danseuses, the Premiers Danseurs and the Paris Opera Corps de Ballet
Marianela Núñez, Principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, will be performing the role of Giselle on May 25th and 27th, 2024.

The Paris Opera Orchestra

Media

[TRAILER] GISELLE by Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot
[TRAILER] GISELLE by Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot
  • Myriam Ould-Braham bids farewell to the stage

    Myriam Ould-Braham bids farewell to the stage

    Watch the video

  • Podcast Giselle with France Musique

    Podcast Giselle with France Musique

    Listen the podcast

  • Giselle, romantic and sincere

    Giselle, romantic and sincere

    Watch the video

  • Romantic Tutus in Giselle

    Romantic Tutus in Giselle

    Read the article

Myriam Ould-Braham bids farewell to the stage

Watch the video

In rehearsal for Giselle

6:28 min

Myriam Ould-Braham bids farewell to the stage

By Antony Desvaux

On the occasion of her farewell to the stage, Myriam Ould-Braham performs the title role in Giselle. The Étoile dancer rehearses this great classical ballet by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot with her partner Paul Marque.

She looks back on her career and the evolution of her personality, from her first dance lessons to her latest role at the Palais Garnier.

Finally, she talks about her preparation, both physical and mental, as well as her emotions and questions in the run-up to this event.

© Agathe Poupeney / OnP

Podcast Giselle with France Musique

Listen the podcast

Dance! Sing! Tales of Opera and Ballet

Podcast Giselle with France Musique

By Jean-Baptiste Urbain

"Dance! Sing! 7 minutes at the Paris Opera" offers original incursions into the season thanks to broadcasts produced by France Musique and the Paris Opera.

For each opera or ballet production, Charlotte Landru-Chandès (opera) and Jean-Baptiste Urbain (dance), present the works and artists you are going to discover when you attend performances in our theatres.

© Agathe Poupeney / OnP

Giselle, romantic and sincere

Watch the video

Secrets of interpretation

8:46 min

Giselle, romantic and sincere

By Aliénor Courtin

To mark the revival of Giselle after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, encounter with dancer Étoile Dorothée Gilbert, production manager Cédric Cortès and guest répétitrice Monique Loudières. This landmark production from the Paris Opera Ballet's repertoire continues to astound with its romantic-style choreography, theatrical techniques and multi-faceted interpretive skills.

© Christophe Pelé / OnP

Romantic Tutus in Giselle

Read the article

A production remembered

06 min

Romantic Tutus in Giselle

By Anne-Marie Legrand

The story is well-known: Giselle discovers that the man she loves is in reality a prince betrothed to another woman. Devastated by grief, the young peasant girl succumbs to madness and dies. She joins the Wilis, young brides to be who have died before their nuptials and who condemn men to dance themselves to death. If this ballet, first performed in 1841, has lost nothing of its fascination over the centuries, it is particularly thanks to those bewitching winged creatures, the Wilis, dressed in tulle and on points. Anne-Marie Legrand, in charge of the Soft Dressmaking Workshop at the Palais Garnier, confides the secrets of the making of the emblematic tutus from the “white act” of Giselle.

The Soft Dressmaking Workshop (in French Atelier Flou, “flou” meaning blurred or indistinct) is dedicated to the conception of the female costumes, unlike the Tailoring Workshop, which makes the male costumes. Why these names? I couldn’t give you the exact reason. To my mind, when you look at a male costume made by the Tailoring Workshop, you notice that it has a more structured look, with fabric cut on a flat surface. For the female costumes, however, a large part of the work is done on the tailor's dummy because a pattern is not enough to work from. The fabrics are all-important and each one requires a particular approach. We have to be very reactive in our work, moulding and sculpting the fabric, particularly for the drapes. I think that’s where the term “flou” comes from, because we sculpt diaphanous fabric for women whose curves can be infinitely varied and subtle.

As head of the Soft Dressmaking Workshop, I prepare the models of the costumes. The decorators arrive at the workshops with designs that I make up in three dimensions. The designs are more or less flexible, depending on the decorators. I have to reconcile the vision of the artistic team with what we can do and especially with the constraints and particularities of dance costumes, which is our speciality. We make suggestions to the decorator and eventually the design is finalised. Then, I create a pattern which I pass on to my two workshop assistants who do the cutting out. Then they pass on the job to the nine dressmakers. We also use temporary staff when the workload is really heavy. At the moment, we’re working on a revival of the ballet Giselle as well as on two new productions so there are twenty-seven of us in the workshop!   

Hannah O’Neill dans le rôle de Myrtha (Giselle, 2016)
Hannah O’Neill dans le rôle de Myrtha (Giselle, 2016) © Svetlana Loboff / OnP

The costumes for Giselle are redone regularly for several reasons. Firstly, because it’s a ballet that occupies an important place in the company’s repertoire and which is often performed, in particular on foreign tours. The costumes get a lot of wear and are stocked in containers: the dancers barely have time to take them off before they are packed away, sometimes still slightly damp. Silk yellows very quickly so we have no choice but to renew the costumes.

Once the skirts and bodices have been cut out, the dressmakers get them ready for fitting. There are always two fitting sessions. At the first, the costume is not finished. Between the first and second fitting it takes five days' work to carry out the considerable job of pleating the organdy silk used for the Wilis. After the second fitting, we make the final adjustments to the bodice before we assemble it with the skirt. It is painstaking work, all done by hand, in order to fit it perfectly to the dancer's body.

There are various sorts of skirts and tutus. The type used in Giselle is what we call a “romantic tutu”. At the end of the 18th century, with grand ballets like La Sylphide, the long skirt with several underskirts became the emblematic costume of the ballerinas. It is also known as the “Degas tutu” in reference to the painter Edgar Degas, who often took dancers as a subject for his paintings. But at the dawn of the 20th century, the tutu was shortened, became rigid and began to be worn above the hips: the pancake tutu or English tutu was now the order of the day. This is the tutu used in Swan Lake, for example, and therefore the emblematic ballerina’s costume in the collective unconscious today.

Making the bodice and the tutu requires a considerable amount of work. One single tutu in Giselle takes 23 metres of tulle, cut into seven layers placed one on top of another. We use different types of tulle with different characteristics for each layer: first comes a stiffer tulle to structure the skirt then come layers of increasingly fine, supple tulle. The layers are gathered, pinned and stitched by hand, one by one, onto a yoke. Then we do what we call “points de bagage” : large, loose stitches that keep the layers together during performance. To make a complete costume, it takes at least sixty hours.

In the second act of Giselle, the dancers all wear romantic tutus and points, which is why it is called the “white act”. It’s the most enchanting and it’s when the plot moves into the realms of the supernatural. We are in the kingdom of the Wilis, ghosts of young women who died before their weddings. I think the tutus make an essential contribution to this unearthly atmosphere. Their whiteness seems to reflect the light of the moon, - it’s extremely beautiful. And the “unreal dance” with which they ensnare men would really lose something of its hypnotic power without the effects created by the fabric. The diaphanous quality of the tutu gives the Wilis' movements an ethereal and floating quality. In spite of the twenty metres of fabric, on stage it appears infinitely light. The romantic tutu has become an integral part of the ballet Giselle.


interviewed by Milena Mc Closkey

  • [EXTRAIT] GISELLE - Grand pas de deux, coda (Marc Moreau, Bleuenn Battistoni)
  • [EXTRAIT] GISELLE - Variation de Giselle (Bleuenn Battistoni)
  • [EXTRAIT] GISELLE - Les Wilis
  • [EXTRAIT] GISELLE - Variation de Myrtha (Clara Mousseigne)
  • Dessine-moi Giselle | 1 minute pour comprendre l'intrigue

Press

  • A lavishly danced romantic choreography.

    Le Figaro, 2019
  • At the Palais Garnier, an ardent company takes «Giselle» to the top.

    Le Monde, 2019
  • There is a "Giselle" miracle: you never tire of this ultimate romantic ballet.

    Les Échos, 2016
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Giselle


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At the Palais Garnier, buy €10 tickets for seats in the 6th category (very limited visibility, two tickets maximum per person) on the day of the performance at the Box offices.

In both our venues, discounted tickets are sold at the box offices from 30 minutes before the show:

  • €25 tickets for under-28s, unemployed people (with documentary proof less than 3 months old) and senior citizens over 65 with non-taxable income (proof of tax exemption for the current year required)
  • €40 tickets for senior citizens over 65

Get samples of the operas and ballets at the Paris Opera gift shops: programmes, books, recordings, and also stationery, jewellery, shirts, homeware and honey from Paris Opera.

Palais Garnier
  • Every day from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until performances end
  • Get in from Place de l’Opéra or from within the theatre’s public areas
  • For more information: +33 1 53 43 03 97

Palais Garnier

Place de l'Opéra

75009 Paris

Public transport

Underground Opéra (lignes 3, 7 et 8), Chaussée d’Antin (lignes 7 et 9), Madeleine (lignes 8 et 14), Auber (RER A)

Bus 20, 21, 27, 29, 32, 45, 52, 66, 68, 95, N15, N16

Calculate my route
Car park

Q-Park Edouard VII16 16, rue Bruno Coquatrix 75009 Paris

Book your parking spot
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text
super alt text

Imagined as benchmark, richly illustrated booklets, the programmes can be bought online, at the box offices, in our shops, and in the theatres hall on the evening of the performance.

BUY THE PROGRAM
  • Cloakrooms

    Free cloakrooms are at your disposal. The comprehensive list of prohibited items is available here.

  • Bars

    Reservation of drinks and light refreshments for the intervals is possible online up to 24 hours prior to your visit, or at the bars before each performance.

  • Restaurant

    CoCo is open every day from 12:00 pm to 2:00 am. More information on coco-paris.com or at +33 1 42 68 86 80 (reservations).

  • Parking

    You can park your car at the Q-Park Edouard VII. It is located at Rue Bruno Coquatrix 75009 Paris (in front of 23 Rue de Caumartin).

    BOOK YOUR PARKING PLACE.

At the Palais Garnier, buy €10 tickets for seats in the 6th category (very limited visibility, two tickets maximum per person) on the day of the performance at the Box offices.

In both our venues, discounted tickets are sold at the box offices from 30 minutes before the show:

  • €25 tickets for under-28s, unemployed people (with documentary proof less than 3 months old) and senior citizens over 65 with non-taxable income (proof of tax exemption for the current year required)
  • €40 tickets for senior citizens over 65

Get samples of the operas and ballets at the Paris Opera gift shops: programmes, books, recordings, and also stationery, jewellery, shirts, homeware and honey from Paris Opera.

Palais Garnier
  • Every day from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until performances end
  • Get in from Place de l’Opéra or from within the theatre’s public areas
  • For more information: +33 1 53 43 03 97

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3 min

Giselle

Giselle Quiz - Loves me, loves me not

When Giselle discovers that the dashing young man she loves is already betrothed to Princess Bathilde, she goes mad. Bathilde… Maybe one of Batman’s relatives? Anyway, the last scene of the first act ends with the death of Giselle. Follow me, I’ll explain it to you, step by step.

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