Royal Opera House
Thursday, 1st February 2018
Giselle – 02/01/2018
Giselle: Marianela Nunez
Albrecht: Vadim Muntagirov
Myrtha: Tierney Heap
Hilarion: Bennet Gartside
pd6: Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, Calvin Richardson, Elizabeth Harrod, Joseph Sissens
Moyna: Anna Rose O’Sullivan
Zulme: Beatriz Stix-Brunell
It was all about Marianela yesterday night as she graced the ROH stage celebrating her amazing 20 years with the Royal Ballet in a night of pure artistry and great emotions.
I feel so blessed to be able to see her dancing so often – it’s wonderful to witness her brilliant career, and I feel beyond happy to have been there to celebrate her two decades milestone.
Her dancing never ceases to astonish me, so so moving in everything she does – and this Giselle was no exception: the House was vibrant and thrilled by the importance of the evening, and erupted in ovation when Marianela entered the stage bringing it to life.
As always, everyone dancing was so involved with her, as if she brought something more, something vital, in addition to her role. I reckon the joy of dancing alongside her is not comparable with anything else, and one can clearly see how the company is loyal to her.
She sparkled throughout the first act, killing interpretations and solos with her usual grace and infectious smile, involving everyone around.
Her acting, her technique, her musicality – it was all so emotional as she mastered the role of the lovestruck young peasant in the first act, deceived by Prince Albrecht. Her dancing never fails to thrill, indeed, it sparkled joy and happiness throughout the whole act – a delight to watch and to follow through the narrative path of the ballet. It’s really a kind of magic, as she’s always able to convey such emotional pitches to her characters, in particular to Giselle: her acting was so vivid and radiant, so purely innocent and full of love, making it all deeply touching when discovering Albrecht’s duplicity. In the mad scene Marianela made the heartbreak so real pulling out her best acting breaking the audience’s hearts as she stabbed herself to death after losing her reason in an absolute peak of drama.
By her side, Vadim was a great Albrecht, princely disguising himself pretending to be a peasant: he truly has the finest technique and it was good to see him back on the House’s stage in such great form!
The pas de six – brought on stage by Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, Calvin Richardson, Elizabeth Harrod, Joseph Sissens – was awesome, and Yasmine dazzled bright in her gracious solo in a delight of flawless phrasing and loveliness all round. As per usual, the corps were at their best shining bright in amazing ensembles and pitch perfect village scenes, with great performances and interpretations – such as Bennet Gartside’s jealously realistic Hilarion, Olivia Cowley’s snobby disgusted Bathilde and Elizabeth McGorian’s heart-achingly desperate Berthe.
And the second act was even greater! Appearing in the haunted atmosphere, the vengeful Wilis were, as per usual, nothing but astonishing. Dancing as one, they backboned the act with compelling elegance and artistry, led by a fierce Tierney Heap as Myrtha. Indeed, she was excellent in her authority and imperious role.
Alongside her, Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Beatriz Stix-Brunell were great as Moyna and Zulme.
Coming back to the stage as a ghost, Marianela is not the joyous village girl anymore, dramatically turning her dancing in a powerful, melancholic and heartbreaking rollercoaster of emotions. Even without talking about her sublime technique (that adagio was one of the best thing ever seen), her performance was something incredible – she outstandingly mastered the whole act, poignantly conveying the grieving ghost, whose love had transcended death. I’ll never forget the trapped and dramatic expression of her face whilst holding a perfect developpé, stopping time for a bunch of seconds – her transparency is one of the thing I love best about her dancing.
Vadim’s solo was terrific, and so were his outstanding entrechats, as he danced through the night, as Myrtha commanded. His gradual lost of energy was credible, and Marianela’s efforts to support him were touching. Eventually, once in daylight, her disappearance and Vadim’s heartbroken desperation were simply real.
Ok, it is a truth universally acknowledged that I can’t go through a Marianela show without bursting into tears, but this one… it’s been one of the best performance ever seen, and such an important night to be remembered!
I cried a lot, she’s just Giselle: this role, parted between joyful and doomed, is the best embodiment of Marianela incontestable greatness – no other ballerina could have conveyed better the pure essence of this character, and what an abundance of emotions at the much-deserved flower shower at the curtain call!
She was clearly overjoyed, and Kevin’s speech was touching, as he told us all of her wonderfully brilliant artistry, inspiring the world and enlightening the House since 1998. The company were there for her, and it’s been nice to see all the lovely messages they posted their heartfelt greetings on social medias.
I’m so very looking forward to seeing what this milestone year has in store for Marianela: from her Hermione in Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale (in two weeks time) and Manon in April to her debut as Marguerite and Odette/Odile in Liam Scarlett’s new Swan Lake.
It’s been a very special evening all round (even though I think Marianela deserves such a flower shower at every performance) and I am so happy to have been there celebrating, we’re so lucky to have her here at the ROH!
And an enormous thank you to the star herself – thank you Marianela for everything, you’re such an amazing artist and human being. I have to say, I was nearly dying when I saw your lovely BBC interview!