A new version by the Compañía Nacional de Danza A Giselle viewed through the lens of Spanish romanticism and inspired by the poems of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer.
- World premiere: Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid (Spain), December 9th 2020
In 1841, the Ópera de París held the premier of the ballet Giselle, in which the poet Théophile Gautier is inspired by the German legends of Heinrich Heine, creating romantic myths that would come to mark the history of dance: innocent peasant girls in love, grape harvest fiestas, handsome seductive princes, apparitions of the ghostly spirits of the woods …
The previous year, Gautier had visited Spain. Subsequently, his book, Le voyage en Espagne, spurred the romantic fashion among European travellers to experience the country, its society sets and traditions and its folkloric dances.
In 1863, the Spanish poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer retired to the Veruela Monastery, in the Moncayo mountains and, there, surrounded by woodland and nature, he wrote his rhymes of forlorn love and legends of sad fates.
For this new version offered by the Compañía Nacional de Danza our wish was to envisage a Giselle viewed through the lens of Spanish romanticism: inspired by Bécquer’s poetry, we will dance the story of this maiden in love with the handsome foreign traveller whom she will love even beyond death.
Without dropping any of the elements that have placed this piece among the summits of classical ballet, our Giselle also includes Spanish traditions and the bolera school of dance. And in the woods, inhabited by the Willis—those spirits of maidens who died befote marriage—the wind’s voices whisper Bécquer’s verses.
The end of Giselle sees the forces of love and the forces of dance beat both death and darkness. That is the hope that guides us throughout the performance.
Joaquín de Luz
Borja Ortiz de Gondra
Borja Ortiz de Gondra
(Bilbao, 1965) After studying stage management at Madrid’s Real Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático, he moved to Paris, where he worked as director’s assistant at a series of key public French theatres. Years later, on returning to Spain, he consolidated his name as playwright, winning prizes such as the Marqués de Bradomín, Calderón de la Barca and Lope de Vega, among awards.
His first play premiered in 1999 at the Centro Dramático Nacional. Since then, his work has been constant, regularly putting on plays in Spain and Latin America. Some of those works have been translated into, Czech, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Rumanian, including: Duda razonable, Memento mori, El barbero de Picasso and Dedos (black vaudeville).
He is currently living between Madrid and New York and, furthermore, has become a reputed name in screenplay adaptation and translation, whether it be from Spanish classics (e.g. El burlador de Sevilla, for the Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico) or from the great Anglo-Saxon and Francophile writers (e.g. Eugene O’Neill, Joe Orton, Martin Crimp, Michel Azama and Fabrice Murgia, among others).
Also worthy of mention is his work teaching playwriting at Madrid’s Sala Cuarta Pared, where many latter-day authors have honed their art.
His more recent playwriting scripts fall within the field of autofiction: Los Gondra (una historia vasca)” won the 2018 Max Award for Best Theatrical Author, on the heels of the 2017 Lope de Vega prize for Los otros Gondra.
Alter finalising his piano studies at the Peabody Conservatory of John Hopkins University, he became the first Spaniard to receive the «Bruno Walter» scholarship for orchestra conducting. With this, he studied at the Juilliard School of Music with such conductors as the maestros Otto Werner Mueller, Charles Dutoit and Yuri Temirkanov.
In 2002, he founded the City of Gijón Symphony Orchestra and, in 2013, the Barbieri Symphony Orchestra; he himself acting as artistic director and principal conductor in both cases. He has over a dozen published albums, recorded for labels such as NAXOS and Warner Music Spain, among others.
His career has led him to conduct orchestras such as the Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceo, the Comunidad Valenciana Orchestra and the Madrid Symphony Orchestra, to name but a few. On the international scene, he has also worked with such orchestras as the New Amsterdam Symphony, the Cluj Philharmonic Orchestra, the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sibiu Philharmonic Orchestra and the City of Lima Symphony Orchestra.
He has also performed in such renowned opera theatres as the Palau de Les Arts (Valencia), Teatro Campoamor (Oviedo), Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela and Teatro Real, Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceo and Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza. He is, additionally, the first Spanish conductor to make his debut in the orchestra pit of Moscow’s prestigious Helikon Theater.
The 2017-2018 season marked further career steps, debuting in the concert programmes of such Spanish orchestras as the RTVE Orchestra of Madrid, the Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra, the Galicia Symphony Orchestra and the Ópera de Tenerife. That season also saw him conducting at the Valencia Orchestra and, furthermore, he was invited back both to the Helikon Theater in Moscow and to the Teatro Campoamor.
His up-and-coming engagements include new productions at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. Other events include his return to both Bogota’s Teatro Colón and the Gran Teatro del Liceo, and he will be conducting concerts in Madrid and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. He will also make another debut; this time in the Festival Les Chorégies d’Orange.
In the period 2015-2019, he was Director of Music at Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela. He is also a founding member and vice-president of the Spanish Association of Orchestra Conductors (Asociación Española de Directores de Orquesta – AESDO).
Born in Bilbao. Degree in Fine Arts from Universidad del País Vasco, with specialisation in design and sculpture. Certificate in set design from Barcelona’s Escuela de Arte Dramático. Her first contact with the world of theatre was through her years of dancing, leading her to delve into the process of stage set creation. This multidiscipline profession enabled her to combine and apply all the various subjects she had studied up to that point.
She lived in Barcelona for five years, combining her stage set design studies with collaborative work on shows by figures such as Fabia Puigserver, José Sanchís Sinisterra, Sergi Belbel, John Strasberg, Joan Olle and the comic group Els Comediants.
In 1991, she met José Luis Gómez, who invited her to work with him in Madrid on the play Amor de Don Perlimplin y Belisa en su jardín, by Federico García Lorca. In 1992, now in Madrid, she kick-started an intense career. She joined the theatre company Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico, where she worked as assistant for three years. In 1994, she was invited by Adolfo Marsillach to the Grand Théâtre de Genève (Switzerland), where she worked on her first opera: Bizet’s Carmen. On returning to Spain, she set out on a new path working on numerous productions at the Teatro de la Zarzuela.
In the period 1997-2002, she was appointed as Artistic Coordinator at Madrid’s Teatro Real, working on over 70 opera and dance productions in parallel with her work at the Fundación Teatro Lírico.
She has been nominated several times for the Max Award for the Performing Arts, for the Adriá Gual prize and the Gaudí prize. She was winner of: the Premio Ercilla de Teatro as Newcomer for her stage set work 1996-97; the 2010 Premio Gran Vía de Teatro Musical for 40 El Musical; the 2013 Premio el Público BroadwayWorld Spain and the 2017 Premio Feten, among others.
Rosa García Andújar
She has been a stage costume designer since 1989, after graduating with a degree in Performing Arts (RESAD 1988, under Stage and Costume Design teacher, Francisco Nieva).
Teacher training (Degree in Education, 1985) and artistic training (dance, drawing, painting, film directing). She won scholarships from the Ministry of Culture (Certificate in Confection de Costumes de Théâtre por GRETA des Arts Appliquées – Ministère de la Culture, Paris) and a combined grant from the Foreign Ministry and Academia de San Fernando (The History of Stage Costume, Rome).
She has collaborated with professional greats, most notably as costume designer for F. Nieva, starting in 1992. Her costumes for opera, dance, musicals and plays have taken on life in productions at Teatro Español, Teatro Nacional de Cataluña, Teatro Real (including the wardrobe for the reopening of the opera La Vida Breve), Teatro de la Zarzuela, Ballet Nacional de España, Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico, Centro Dramático Nacional, Centro Andaluz de Teatro, Centro Nacional de Nuevas Tendencias Escénicas, Expo Sevilla 92, Expo Zaragoza 08, Staatstheater Darmstad, Staatstheater Braunchsweig and Staatstheater Koblenz, among other venues.
Her work has won a number of prizes, not only as costume designer but also for her drawings and film directing.
BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre from the University of Kent, in Canterbury, specialising in acting and directing. He works as video creator, stage manager, lighting designer, graphic designer and producer.
He received the Ceres Youth Award at the Mérida Festival for his entrepreneurial aptitudes.
As video creator, he has collaborated in the following operas: La Traviata, Sanson et Dalila, Maruxa, María Moliner, by A. Parera Fons; Don Giovanni, Othello, La voix humaine and Salomé, directed by Paco Azorín and Fuenteovejuna by J. Muñiz and directed by Miguel del Arco.
Among his video creations in theatre, the following productions stand out: De Federico hacia Lorca directed by Miguel del Arco; La autora de Las Meninas, by Ernesto Caballero; Escuadra hacia la muerte and Julio César directed by Paco Azorína and Nadie verá este video (Nobody Will See This Video), directed by Carme Portaceli.
He has been working as stage manager for Diana Navarro’s two latest works, Inesperado and Resiliencia. In recent years, he has designed the stage sets of the OCNE, together with the maestro David Afkham, in Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional.
Critics have highlighted his dramaturgic, aesthetic and creative aptitudes.
“En las largas noches
del helado invierno,
cuando las maderas
crujir hace el viento
y azota los vidrios
el fuerte aguacero,
de la pobre niña
a veces me acuerdo.
Allí cae la lluvia
con un son eterno:
allí la combate
el soplo del cierzo.
Del húmedo muro
tendida en el hueco,
¡acaso de frío
se hielan sus huesos!”
Extracto Rima LXXIII, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
“Allí donde el murmullo de la vida,
temblando a morir va,
como la ola que a la playa viene,
silenciosa a expirar;
allí donde el sepulcro que se cierra
abre una eternidad,
todo cuanto los dos hemos callado
allí lo hemos de hablar.
Extracto Poemas del Alma, Rima XXXVII, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
¡Yo, que a tus ojos en mi agonía
los ojos vuelvo noche y día;
yo, que incansable corro y demente
tras una sombra, tras la hija ardiente
de una visión!
Extracto Poemas del Alma, Rima XV, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
Dime, ¿es que el viento en sus giros
se queja, o que tus suspiros
me hablan de amor al pasar?
Dime, ¿es que ciego deliro,
o que un beso en un suspiro
me envía tu corazón?”
Extractos Poemas del Alma, Rima XXVIII, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
“Si al resonar confuso a tus espaldas vago rumor,
crees que por tu nombre te ha llamado lejana voz,
sabe que entre las sombras que te cercan te llamo yo.
Si se turba medroso en la alta noche tu corazón,
al sentir en tus labios un aliento abrasador,
sabe que, aunque invisible, al lado tuyo respiro yo.”
Extracto Poemas del Alma, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer
In a village near Moncayo lives an extraordinarily beautiful peasant maiden called Giselle, who, above all else, loves to dance. One autumn day, she is spotted dancing, from afar, by a group of foreign travellers. Albrecht, a man among that group, is immediately besotted. He conspires with his friend Wilfred to disguise himself as a villager and mingle among the villagers in an attempt to court her. Smitten by her suitor, Giselle begins to ignore her beloved Hilarión, who becomes suspicious of this newcomer’s true identity.
Giselle and Albrecht dance together and, as their mutual attraction grows, the whole village joins in. But Giselle’s mother suddenly rebukes her: her daughter’s health is delicate and the exertions of dance could turn her into a Wili—the night-time spirits of those maidens who died virgins and haunt the woods after midnight.
The rest of the travelling party arrives at the village and, while the villagers ply them with drink, Giselle makes friends with Bathilde, Albrecht’s fiancée, without either of them knowing they are in love with the same man.
The grape harvest festival starts and Giselle is voted queen of the fete. With her mother’s permission, she dances for all gathered. Hilarión, furious at the coquettishness he sees between Giselle and Albrecht, discovers the newcomer’s real identity and ends up revealing it.
Bathilde demands Albrecht come clean and he declares that Giselle is nothing more than a playful distraction to him. He embraces Bathilde and they continue their journey without looking back; thus, he denies himself the love that has swollen in his breast.
In the face of Albrecht’s betrayal, Giselle spins into madness and dances herself to death.
In the woods, next to Giselle’s grave, a party of mourners, broken with grief, pay their final farewell to the young maiden before leaving the site.
Night falls and, Hilarión enters, breaking the silence, to leave a humble bunch of wild flowers on the grave. He is startled by the sudden appearance of Myrtha, the queen of the Wilis. She orders her Wilis to carry out a cruel act of vengeance: to force him to dance until he falls dead of exhaustion.
Shortly, Albrecht comes through the woods. Despairing at his failure to realise in time who he truly loved, he has come to visit Giselle’s grave. Moved by this gesture, Giselle makes herself visible and tries to save Albrecht from the Wilis vengeful spell. She dances with him throughout that long tortuous night, breathing life into him and helping him survive until dawn.
With sunrise, the Wilis are forced to scurry back to their shadows. Giselle must also withdraw, but in the knowledge that her love has created an eternal link with Albrecht; she saved him but at the price that he will never be able to forget her. And, year after year, until he is an old man, Albrecht will return to Giselle’s resting place, hearing over and again in his head, the beautiful words of the maiden who loved him beyond the grave.
Choreography:Joaquín De Luz (after the original by Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli)
Music:Adolphe-Charles Adam (musical version: Joaquín De Luz and Oliver Díaz)
Musical Direction:Oliver Díaz
Booklet :Borja Ortiz de Gondra and Joaquín De Luz (from the original by Jules Henry Vernoy and Theóphile Gautier)
Dramaturgy:Borja Ortiz de Gondra
Set Design :Ana Garay
Costume Design :Rosa García Andújar
Lighting Design and Video Creation:Pedro CHamizo
Assistant to Set Designer:Isi López-Puget
Assistant to Costume Designer:Lucía Celis
Wardrobe:D'Inzillo Suite Mode
Atrezzo:Carlos del Tronco
Phonographic Recording Production:Fernando Arias (Aria Classica)
This is a performance with the possibility of live audio-description:Script by David Ojeda