GISELLE (3-30-07)

By Lawrence Budmen

Miami City Ballet’s revival of the 19th century classic Giselle was sheer enchantment for the senses. Edward Villella’s adaptation of the traditional choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot formed an eye filling spectacle, danced with sensitivity and just the right proportion of Gallic elegance. If there was any doubt that Jennifer Kronenberg is now the company’s prima ballerina, her remarkable performance on March 30 (the production’s opening night at the Carnival Center’s Ziff Opera House) was the stuff of which balletic legends are made. 

With Gianni Quaranta’s grandiose sets and Anna Anni’s opulent costumes as a backdrop and conductor Juan Francisco La Manna’s spirited reading of Adolphe Adam’s score, Kronenberg was nothing short of magical. She displayed endless agility and exquisite pointe work. Her depiction of the heroine’s tragedy was deeply moving. As the Willis in Act II, Kronenberg’s sylph like movements were sublimely ethereal, marked by quintessential French lightness and grace. Her Giselle was a classic portrayal in every sense. In a role once championed by Fonteyn, Alonso, and Besmertnova among others, Kronenberg could more than hold her own. She was truly memorable.

As the tragic hero Albrecht, Carlos Guerra was a splendid dancer noble. His partnering (with Kronenberg) was superb. A strong stage presence, Guerra displayed brilliance aplenty in the pyrotechnics of his solos. As the villainous Hilarion, Jeremy Cox created a vivid portrait of evil and jealousy. The gifted Renato Penteado made the role of the Duke’s squire into more than a mere cameo. 

The Miami City Ballet female corps was nothing short of miraculous. The intricate patterns of the Willis’ dances were performed with spirit, stunning precision, and elegance. Andrea Spiridonakos was an imperious Myrtha, dancing with assured technique and commanding bravura. 

The Florida Classical Orchestra brought stylish flair to the chiseled beauties of Adam’s waltz rhythms. Iris Van Eck’s cello solo soared with the beauty of incandescence. 

This production of Giselle was romantic ballet at its best. In a landmark first season at the Carnival Center, Miami City Ballet’s concluding exclamation point was an evening of world class dance.

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