Sunday, March 16, 2008

give me the wilis

All photos in this post are from the Joffrey Ballet blog.
Yes, I'm still here.

I've been kind of morose/moody/introspective/raging/empty/full/exhausted/planning/dejected/
renewed/thoughtful/frustrated all at the same time. And I haven't been blogging at all. I haven't even been talking much.

But that's a post for another day.

Today I want to talk about ballet. On Thursday, I was browsing through Ticketmaster online, and Giselle came up in my search. The only performances were this weekend, just three days. I thought about it, came back to the website, thought about it some more. Something kept pulling me back, something that told me I needed to see this. I didn't even tell anyone I was going - I wanted top secret, private, head-clearing Lisa time. So I sprung for the really good seats, just 4 rows back, and hauled myself downtown through the annoying twisted maze of construction to the Detroit Opera House.


It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. It was just beautiful. The costumes, the set, the music, and of course, the dancing. It had all my favorite things: autumn, a rustic village, a harvest dance, a graveyard, fog, and vengeful screwed-over ghosts. It was only missing beer.

The first act was all harvesty oranges and yellows and reds, and the second act was all whites and blues. It was mesmerizing and otherworldly. I never wanted it to end. When it was over, I wanted to run onstage and ask them to do it again. And really, if they were going to perform it another night, I would have gone back - I loved it that much. I was meant to see it. And I am totally ready to become a "Wili" and roam the graveyards at night, dancing through the fog and flitting through the forest. I wonder if I can change careers at this point. Do the Wilis have an insurance plan?

I'm gonna guess there's not an opening for a klutzy 38 year-old with bad feet and Lyme disease. But one can dream.

Here's a synopsis of the ballet:

Act I - A rustic village

Giselle, a weak-hearted young girl who is adored by her native villagers, lives with her watchful mother, Berthe. Hilarion, the village gamekeeper, is desperately in love with Giselle. Prince Albrecht, a nobleman who is already engaged to a noblewoman named Bathilde, is bored and lonely with his everyday existence. Captivated by Giselle's frail beauty and innocence, Albrecht disguises himself as a peasant named Loys. After purchasing the cottage adjacent to Berthe's, he proceeds to shower Giselle with his affections. Hilarion, filled with suspicion and jealousy, becomes enraged when Giselle falls madly in love with Albrecht and believes that they are engaged.

Berthe has a vision that her daughter will one day become a Wili, a jilted maiden who dies before her wedding night. The Wilis emerge between midnight and dawn to vengefully trap any man who enters their domain by forcing him to dance to his death.

Hilarion exposes Albrecht's disguise and proclaims that he is already betrothed to Bathilde. Overwhelmingly distraught and horrified, Giselle dies of a broken heart.

Act II - A forest clearing

Hilarion is discovered just before midnight keeping vigil by Giselle's tomb. As midnight approaches, the Wilis appear with their leader, Queen Myrta. This is the night Giselle is to be initiated as a Wili.

Albrecht, laden with feelings of guilt and remorse, visits Giselle's grave. He sees a vision of Giselle and follows it into the forest. At this point, Myrta discovers Hilarion in the forest and orders the Wilis to dance around him until he dies from exhaustion. She then discovers Albrecht and demands that he share the same fate as Hilarion but is unable to permeate the invisible bond of love that Giselle has for him.

At dawn, when the Wilis lose their power and must retreat to their dwelling place, Albrecht is saved and Giselle forgives him. Giselle returns with the Wilis and recognizes that now she will be one of them for the rest of time.


Genevieve said...

The ballet! I've always wanted to see one. We tried to get tickets for 'Swan lake' but failed. :(

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! I wish I'd been there to see it. I would have loved to have gotten lost in those moments...I feel down right envy. I'm glad it gave you some escape. As it is, I haven't been able to travel ANYWHERE, except the service center at my dealership. I've managed to spend $1700 in 6 weeks. Please, kill me.
talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

ummmm... i believe i've already seen you dancing through graveyards past midnight, several times in fact. so i guess you already are a wili; we both are. :-)