Love, forgiveness at heart of ‘Giselle’

  • For the Enterprise
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2008 7:34pm

An array of accomplished artists join Olympic Ballet Theatre Saturday, April 26 in a performance of the classic ballet “Giselle” at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Considered the masterpiece of romantic ballets, this powerful drama about innocence, betrayal, and forgiveness has captivated audiences since 1841.

Inspiring the story of “Giselle” is the beautiful young peasant girl who falls in love with Count Albrecht, a nobleman in disguise. When it is discovered that he is betrothed to Bathilde, daughter of the Prince of Courland, Giselle goes mad and dies of a broken heart. Act II finds Giselle at the graves of the Wilis, where, as the midnight bells toll, Giselle joins the strange apparitions, called from the earth by Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis.

The legend of the Wilis is a Slavic myth that tells of girls who died before their wedding day to rise at midnight and compel any man who crosses their path to dance to death. Myrtha decrees this fate for Albecht, who mourns at Giselle’s tomb, but her gentle spirit appears to save him. Through the power of her love, Giselle dances with Albrecht until daybreak, when the spell of the Wilis is broken and they return to their graves. Forgiveness is Giselle’s final gift to Albrecht.

This production is dedicated to the late John Wilkins, co-founder of Olympic Ballet, for his work in producing the extraordinary sets by Edie Whitsett and gorgeous costumes by Larry Lohman. OBT first presented Giselle in 1993 with principals from the Bolshoi Ballet and accompanied by the Everett Symphony Orchestra. The Bolshoi artists returned in 1994 and performed with OBT’s Orchestra conducted by Allan Dameron, PNB Associate Conductor. “Giselle” was produced again at the Moore Theatre in Seattle in 2001.

For this fourth production, Artistic Director Helen Wilkins invites Beverley Bagg, Ballet Mistress with Ballet B.C. as stager for Act II. Featured artist Marianne Bauer recently performed “Giselle” with South African PACT Ballet and is currently the guest artist with Ballet B.C. in “Peter Pan.” Connor Gnam, an extraordinary young member of Ballet B.C., learns Count Albrecht for the OBT production. Act I is staged by Associate Director Daniel Wilkins, who performed Count Albrecht in 2001. OBT is honored to have Mara Vinson, Principal Dancer with PNB, as Ballet Mistress for the production. This brings an unparalleled experience to the OBT dancers and our audience.

Seating for Giselle is reserved and prices are $30 Adults, $25 Seniors / Students and $20 for Children 10 and under. Tickets can be purchased from Olympic Ballet Theatre by calling 425-774-7570, or TicketMaster (206) 292-ARTS, and through For more information, visit

Talk to us