Belfast Grand Opera House
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Sadler's Wells, London
The Lowry, Salford
Theatre Royal Plymouth
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Ashton Double bill
First Steps: a child's Swan Lake
Free pre-performance talks
Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare Triple bill
The Taming of the Shrew
Variations Triple bill (Birmingham)
Variations Triple bill (tour)
Giselle story guide
click here for a child friendly story guide.
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A Rhineland village
Count Albrecht loves Giselle, a peasant girl, though she knows him only as a villager named Loys. Giselle's mother, Berthe, hopes that her daughter will marry Hilarion, a forester who is devoted to Giselle, and warns her against Loys. But Giselle disregards Hilarion, and joins with her beloved in the celebrations that mark the end of the grape harvest.
When Albrecht's squire secretly warns his master of the approach of a hunting party, Hilarion observes them and managers to break into Loys's cottage, seeking to learn the secret of Loys's identity. The hunting party arrives, led by the Duke of Courland and his daughter Bathilde, Albrecht's future bride, who are staying at Albrecht's castle. They seek rest in Berthe's cottage and Bathilde, charmed by Giselle, gives her a necklace. The Duke orders a hunting horn to be left so that his courtiers may be summoned in due course, and this provides Hilarion with proof of Loys's identity as he compares the crests on the horn and on a sword he has found in Loys's cottage.
Just as Giselle is crowned Queen of the Vintage, Hilarion reveals the truth about Loys. When Bathilde returns and claims Albrecht as her fiancÚ, the shock is too much for Giselle and she loses her reason. In her madness she re-lives her love for Loys and, seizing his sword, she kills herself.