STAGE >Istanbul State Opera Ballet reinterprets ‘Giselle’
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
The Istanbul State Opera Ballet Modern Dance Theater (MDTIst) is celebrating its 7th anniversary with a reinterpretation of the classic ballet “Giselle.” The new version of the ballet, “Jizel,” is choreographed by Aysun Aslan.
Aslan, who is a pioneer in popularizing modern dance by founding Turkey’s first private dance troupe, returns to the stage after a long time away with this new ballet, adapting “Giselle” into a contemporary work of art.
Characters in the original ballet such as Albrecht, Giselle, Hilarion and Myrtha have had their names changed to Alb, Jizel, Hila and Mirta in “Jizel.”
The costume design of the new interpretation has been made by Ayşegül Alev, with stage design by Ferhat Karakaya, light design by Kerem Çetinel and visual design by Yaşar Saraçoğlu. The work made its premiere on April 5 at the Beşiktaş Municipality’s Fulya Art Center.
“When we met in March, MDTIst Art Director Beyhan Murphy made this magnificent offer to me and I accepted it willingly,” said Aslan.
“I first asked Murphy to choose a work and she opted for ‘Giselle.’ This choice made me very happy because it is very important to me personally. I entered the conservatory at the age of eight and took the stage for the first time at 12 with this ballet. The main material of our school was ‘Giselle,’ everyone started and finished the school with this ballet. It is a very hard work but its dramatic structure is very nice and its music is magnificent. We had long talks with Murphy and ended up deciding to name it phonetically, so it became ‘Jizel.’ It is hard to change these classics but the play has been approved. I think it broke the classical expectations of the audience,” she added.
‘I did not change the infrastructure’
Aslan had taken a break from theater work because of her son’s education and returns with this piece.
“I really thank Murphy because I was able to take a very long break. I was thinking that I could not be able to do anything on stage again, but I was wrong,” she said.
“The audience will see a brand new play set in our time. There is a serious difference to ‘Giselle.’ The audience who already know this play will see this difference again. Giselle is a villager, Albrecht is a prince, a count. So this is a very serious class difference. While deceiving Giselle, Albrecht has a fiancée. There is also Hilarion, who loves Giselle. The theme is a general one of love and revenge,” Aslan added.
“I have not changed the infrastructure. In our play, Jizel is not a villager but a low class girl working for a hairdresser. Alb is a child of a mansion. This is a very easy theme because class difference always exist in the world. Love, revenge and cheating are permanent things. Our second part is set in a club, named the Sin Club. ‘Sin’ means ‘grave’ in Turkish, and it is a nice coincidence that this word has different meanings in two languages,” she said.
In the new adaptation of the ballet, Jizel is a young girl who works as a hairdresser with her mother Berte.
She is disturbed by insisted love of Hila in her own neighborhood. The girl falls in love with Alb when she goes to a mansion to work, and they begin to meet secretly. In one these meetings, Alb gives her an engagement ring. When Hila learns about it, he tells Berte, who is sad because she thinks class differences will cause a disaster. But Jizel never gives up on Alb.
One day Hila sees Alb with another girl Batil, but Jizel does not believe him. When she sees the fact in photos, she goes crazy and shoots Alb. After all these, she finds herself in a very different world.
“Jizel” can be seen at the Beşiktaş Municipality Fulya Art Center on April 9 and 26 and on May 2 and 10.