Print Shortlink


(Adolphe Charles Adam)

This ballet was composed by Adolphe Adam with the libretto by Theophile Gautier and Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and made its debut at the Ballet of the Academie Royal de Musique on 28th June 1841.

Giselle is a young village girl who is in love with a man she calls Loys.  Unbeknownst to her, he is really called Albrecht and is a disguised nobleman betrothed to the daughter of the Duke.  When Giselle discovers his secret she dies of a broken heart after having gone insane.  Her love for Albrecht does not die though and she saves him from black magic and evil vampires who are ghosts of girls that have died before they married their betrothed.  Giselle’s intervention allows him to survive until the morning and the two of them admit and give their love to each other even though they will always be apart and she returns to the grave.

The role of Giselle is possibly one of the most important and demanding for a ballerina and the part, which was written for Carlotta Grisi, has been danced by Anna Pavlova along with many others prima ballerinas.  In 1987 the conductor Richard Bonynge recorded the complete version in its original unedited version from 1841.

London Symphony Orchestra recordings
Sony 42450 (CD: Giselle)
Conductor – Michael Tilson Thomas

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden recordings
London 417 505 (2 CD set  – Giselle)
Conductor – Richard Bonynge

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Recordings
Naxos 8.550755 (2 CD set – Giselle)
Conductor – Andrew Mogrelia

Naxos 8.554062 (CD – French Ballet Favourites)
Conductor – A. Mogrelia 

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Recordings
Decca 0289 473 171-28 (2 CD set – Essential Ballet – 37 Masterpieces)
Conductor – Herbert von Karajan

Decca 0289 475 7507 (CD – Adam: Giselle)
Conductor – Herbert von Karajan