I was lucky enough to see all 4 performances and am so enthralled! So many debuts, so many beautiful details. I just returned home from Ottawa, so will start writing my reviews tomorrow. However, here's a teaser. The different danseurs performing the major male roles each brought a unique characterization to the plot. I started to picture them talking to each other according to my interpretation of their embodiment of their part. Here is a roundtable with 3 Counts and 3 Hilarions, presented as a play:
Cast of characters:
Count Marcelo (his Hilarion: Isaac Stappas; his Bathilde: Kristi Boone): I am unable to speak. She meant everything to me. I want to crawl into her grave with her!
Count Jose (his Hilarion: Gennadi Saveliev; his Bathilde: Luciana Paris on the 26th, Kristi Boone on the 28th): This is life. Sometimes everything goes right and life is beautiful. Sometimes really bad things happen. You accept your fate. Take it like a man.
Count David (his Hilarion: Jared Matthews: his Bathilde: Maria Bystrova): But I’m just a boy! This wasn’t supposed to happen! One minute, we were having such a great time, the next…..!
Hilarion Saveliev (Jose’s rival): No one loved her more than I did. She was my life, the object of my dreams. I thought about her day and night. I saw nothing but my Giselle! I wanted to grow old with her! And now she’s gone!
Hilarion Stappas (Marcelo’s rival): Old! Don’t talk about old! First, you must make something of yourself. Look at all HE has just by being born: he’s a nobleman! He’s rich! He’s set for a life of comfort and luxury while I’m carrying around dead rodents looking for the next animal to kill. He has a sword just for fun and did you see his enormous cape? On top of that, he’s gorgeous and suave, has machismo to burn, and he’s even taller than I am! Why should he have her, too? It’s so unfair.
Hilarion Matthews (David’s rival): We’re both about the same age, the Count and I. He’s basically a good guy, but Giselle was supposed to be my girlfriend. I couldn’t let the game go on, his charade. I had to nip it in the bud. It had to get serious or I knew I would lose her.
Count David (wide-eyed): Bu-, bu-, but I’m just a kid! What game? We were dancing and flirting, like all kids do. Giselle’s a real sweetie. I didn’t mean anyone any harm. Have any of you seen my fiancée? She’s twice my age! I was just her boy-toy. She doesn’t love me. I thought for sure she’d let me have Giselle on the side. I was only marrying her because my parents were making me do it! Why couldn’t things just stay the same?
Count Marcelo (quietly and seriously): Giselle and I were deeply in love. We couldn’t help it. Bathilde and I were once in love, too, but then along came this slip of a country girl and completely won my heart. I didn’t expect it, it just happened and when it did, I would’ve followed her anywhere. I was going to have a good talk with Bathilde to break our engagement, damn the consequences. No one was going to deny me my love. I can’t live without her! What am I to do?
Count Jose: I understand, I truly do. She had that effect on me, too. Beguiling she was. Such a pure love we had, so simple. My Bathilde is a great lady, but, after being with Giselle I discovered I don’t need a Countess. I needed Giselle. She would have made me happy all my life. Ah, but it was not to be.
Hilarion Stappas: Look here, man. You plan your fate, get it? You make it happen the way you want. It takes work. I had a wonderful plan and it was developing just as I envisioned it: I would reveal the Count’s deception and I would get the girl. Then together we would build a life of success and fortune. That little country house would soon be history. We would live in a manor and Giselle’s mother would look after our children because both of us would have to work if we were going to rise in stature. I’d have my own sword! And Giselle wouldn’t have to sew her own dresses anymore. Our marriage would be like a business venture, but dammit! that’s all over now. Giselle’s dying wasn’t part of my plan!
Hilarion Matthews: Why, you callous, bitter man! Giselle could never have lived that kind of life. For one thing, her mother wouldn’t have let her, with her heart problems. She would have made sure she got her rest. And what children? With her heart, having kids could have killed her. You didn’t love her – you just wanted to use her to help build some kind of empire and have a bunch of children to show everyone what a man you are!
I loved her for what she was, simple, caring and sweet. A life in the country suited both of us just fine. We would have been happy to the end of our days, if HE hadn’t come along. Why did he have to stop by our village? With his fine horse, he could have trotted on to the next one and found someone else to dally with. No, he had to turn the head of my Giselle! He could’ve had anyone he wanted. I’m starting to get really mad!
Count David: Sorry, man. I didn’t know. I fell for her, though. Who wouldn't? She's something else. I was in (puppy) love!
Hilarion Gennadi: You children! What do you know about love, about life? You’re still green behind the ears! You think it’s your birthright to always be looking for pleasure, for fun, for a cozy life. Get real. Life is hard and then you die. If you can find someone to share your journey then you will at least have love to see you through the hard times, for there will be hard times, mark my words. I found the great love of my life. I knew I would never love another like I loved her. I loved just looking at her, watching her as she danced. I loved everything she did and everything she said. It is my sorrow now that will accompany me on the journey through life.
Count Marcelo: Yes, it is so for me, too.