As the curtain lifts on a magical set of delicately fashioned foliage and quaint peasant houses, you are immediately transported to the fairytale-like land in which betrayed girls die of broken hearts and their treacherous lovers are subjected to the wrath of the wraithlike Wilis.
Prima Ballerina Irina Kolesnikova dances the role of Giselle with such effortless grace that it is as if Jules Perrot choreographed the role for her and not Carlotta Grisi. Every expression, every light step and every dizzying pirouette seems to be nothing more than the natural expression of her soul.
Although it was, at times, difficult to tear one?s eyes away from the enchanting Irina, the rest of the company deserves equal commendation. Dmitriy Akulinin, who danced the role of Count Albrecht, complimented Irina perfectly with his strong, controlled performance.
Dymchik Saykeev captured the spirit of the discarded lover in his performance of Hilarion the Woodsman and his frenetic dance with the Wilis was energetic, agonised and at the same time strangely tragic.
As Queen of the Wilis, Yulia Petrova put in an impressive performance with some outstanding footwork ? angry and relentless this ethereal queen had a steely and demanding presence.Sabina Yapparova and Andrey Yakhnuk danced the Peasant Pas de Deux with elegance and technical proficiency. However, principals alone do not make a ballet and the corps de ballet are to be praised for their significant contribution to a polished and immaculate production.
In addition to the world-class ballet performance, the audience is treated to a moving rendition of Adolphe Adam?s score by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra under the expert guidance of St Petersburg concertmaster Vadim Nikitin.
The St Petersburg Ballet Company will perform 'Giselle' at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town until 1 April. This will be followed by a run of 'Swan Lake' from 3 to 8 April. The company will then move on to Grahamstown where they will perform 'Swan Lake' from 19 April. Port Elizabeth will be treated to performances of 'Swan Lake' from 21 April, before the company moves on to Durban where they will be performing both ballets from 25 April.
Tickets for Giselle and Swan Lake can be booked through Computicket on 083 915 8000 and on line www.computicket.com.