Momoko Hirata as Giselle. Picture: Bella Kotak


Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Hippodrome


Delve into a Rhineland village ripe with joy and celebration to mark the end of the grape harvest beneath a waterfall and an unlikely pairing of a peasant girl and a Count for the opening scenes of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Giselle at Birmingham Hippodrome this week.

This version of Giselle was first performed at the Hippodrome 20 years ago and former BRB’s director David Bintley collaborated with Galina Samsova to add additional choreography and restore the music performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Giselle is back as Bintley’s first partnership with the company since his departure in the summer.

Count Albrecht, Cesar Morales, disguised himself as a villager to win the heart of Giselle, Momoko Hirata, who despite her mother’s better judgement falls in love with Loys, as he is known to her. Berthe, Giselle’s concerned mother, is performed by Marion Tait CBE, acting director at BRB with tremendous stage presence and emotion, but her hopes that Giselle will marry forester Hilarion, Kit Holder, are thwarted despite Berthe’s best efforts.

When the hunting party arrives led by the Duke of Courland, Jonathan Payn and atop a magnificent white horse the Duke’s daughter, Daria Stanciulescu (Ablrecht’s future bride), seeks rest in Berthe’s cottage before the truth of Loy’s identity is revealed. Miki Mizutani and Tzu-Chao Chou perform a wonderfully upbeat Harvest pas de deux before Hilarion uncovers the secrets that shock Giselle into thrusting a sword into her side to end her suffering and broken heart.

The second Act sees the set design by Hayden Griffin atmospherically transformed into Giselle’s grave in the forest amongst the ruins of a gothic cathedral at midnight. The mesmerising Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, Samara Downs, summons her flying Wilis, the ghosts of young girls who were jilted and died before their wedding days. The ghosts avenge themselves by dancing to death any man they find during the hours of darkness. The ghosts dance beneath white veils creating the eerie atmosphere with foreboding and menace.

Myrtha tries to initiate Giselle into vengeance as Albrect is danced to near death by the scorned and revengeful ghosts. Stunning performance by Moyna, Yaoquian Shang and Zulme, Yijing Zhang in this romantic classic. Outstanding footwork by Momoko Hirata and faultless balance by Samara Downs.

Exquisitely performed this classical romantic ballet brings a real horse onto the stage and features flying ghosts in this powerful haunting tragedy.

See Giselle at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday September 28th, to book tickets go online at or call 0844 33850000.

Emma Trimble



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