ACT I: Giselle, a peasant girl with a
weak heart, is courted by Loys, who is
actuallly Albrecht, Duke of Silesia,
disguised as a peasant. Hilarion, a
woodsman, is in love with Giselle, but
she rejects him. Hilarion is suspicious of his rival, Loys. Giselle is crowned queen of the harvest by the vintagers. Giselle’s mother scolds Giselle for dancing, afraid she will fall ill. She tells the story of the Wilis, young women who died before their wedding day & must spend eternity dancing. This, she fears, will be Giselle’s fate. A hunting party arrives, led by the Duke of Courland & his daughter, Bathilde. She asks Giselle of her love life, & they discover they are both engaged. Bathilde gives a necklace to Giselle, who then dances for Bathilde. The Duke & his daughter go to Giselle’s cottage to rest. After more harvest revelry, Hilarion confronts Loys. Albrecht is exposed as a nobleman engaged to Bathilde! Giselle is distraught & sinks into madness. She
throws herself onto Albrecht’s sword,
collapses & dies.
ACT II: Hilarion grieves at Giselle’s
grave, but leaves as he sees The Wilis.
Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, summons
her subjects to initiate Giselle. Albrecht
comes to mourn Giselle. She appears
before him, & he runs off in pursuit.
Meanwhile, Hilarion has been found by
the Wilis. They make him dance until he
is exhausted, then throw him into the
lake to die. Albrecht is found, & Myrtha
commands that he, too, must die. Myrtha orders Giselle to dance, & Albrecht is soon drawn to her. Giselle pleads for his life, but she cannot sway Myrtha. Albrecht continues to dance until he collapses. The darkness is broken by the dawn, banishing the Wilis. Giselle is free of the Wilis & returns to her grave, where Albrecht weeps, overcome by his love for her & by her forgiveness.
Berthe, Giselle’s mother
Michael Quimen Sanchez
Prince of Courland
Peasant Pas de Deux
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