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Vienna Festival ballet present

Vienna Festival Ballet

proudly presents



The ultimate romantic ballet, Giselle is a tale of innocence, love, betrayal and madness. With music by one of the 19th century’s best composers, Adolphe Adam, and choreography by the late Nicholas Beriosoff, VFB’s traditional staging of this 1841 masterpiece moves from the sunny optimism of Giselle’s idyllic village life to an ethereal world of mystery and menace.

Giselle, a peasant girl, has fallen in love with Count Albrecht, who has told her he is a villager named Loys. Her discovery of his true identity has devastating consequences.

With its irresistible combination of a heart-breaking story and exquisite choreography, Giselle is the perfect way to discover classical ballet.


Running Time: 2hrs 10 mins (including interval)


"‘The entire show was captivating from start to finish."

- Welwyn Hatfield Times


"A truly spellbinding performance!"

- Burnley Express


"talented array of young artistes"

- Oxford Times


Four Stars

- WhatsOnStage





Ticket Info

Tickets: £21.00 Adult, £19.00 Concession, £15.00 Child Under 14.

Cast & Credits


Peter Mallek

Artistic Director
Peter, founder and Artistic Director of the Vienna Festival Ballet, began his illustrious career at the age of fourteen when he joined the corps de ballet at the Vienna State Opera. Since this early beginning, Peter has worked tirelessly, firstly as a performer and subsequently as Artistic Director, bringing ballet to delight audiences all over Europe and the rest of the world.

Gill Mallek

Executive Director

Gill began her ballet training at just five years of age in Camberley, Surrey, and went on to train at Elmhurst Ballet School. She first joined the Vienna Festival Ballet in 1981, where she danced all of the soloist roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Giselle and Coppélia. During this time, she met Peter and they subsequently married in 1986.

Gill is now involved in running the company as Executive Director and Marketing Manager.

Emily Hufton

Ballet Mistress

Originally form Oxford, Emily started her early training at the age of three. After winning a scholarship, she continued to train at Elmhurst Ballet School, where she also had the opportunity to work with the English National Ballet on several occasions.

Emily joined the Vienna Festival Ballet in 2007 and by 2012 became the Ballet Mistress.


“Giselle, Vienna Festival Ballet”

This classic was first performed in Paris in 1841 and is one of the more traditional ballets, truly capturing the headily romantic drama and beauty of the form. The choreography has changed little over the decades and we’re treated to a fabulous array of set pieces. The Vienna Festival Ballet’s touring production of Giselle features a pared back set to allow maximum stage space for the breath-taking scope and range of dances.

If you’re not familiar with ballet, you’ll need to park your cynicism at home to enjoy it as the story is relayed through mimes that may appear contrived. You’ll also be hard pushed to follow the story fully if you haven’t already read a synopsis of it before watching the show. However, I don’t think either of these points detract from the feast for your eyes and ears on offer here.

Rachel Victoria Hernon is captivating as Giselle and utterly convincing as she dances energetically through the tragic story of this young ingenue. She is full of innocence and eager youth when she falls in love then evokes the fragile intensity of despair when she discovers she has been betrayed as Albrecht is betrothed to another. She falls dead on the stage before the curtain falls at the end of the first act, priming us for the change in mood to come. We are transported from the vibrant, fun filled exuberance of the village in Act 1 to the mysterious world of the deadly woods in Act 2.

Dean Rushton’s tall athletic Albrecht makes such a striking visual contrast with the petite Giselle and yet the pair move in synchronised unison through a demanding sequence of dances. The group dances are also performed with vigour although the timing isn’t consistently perfect. This reminds us how demanding this ballet is and makes us more admiring when it works well.

Esperanza Carmona and Nicola White’s gorgeous costumes are almost characters in their own right. The pretty peasant dresses swirl colourfully as the ballerinas cavort through the harvest festival celebrations. In deliberately stark contrast, the ghostly white wedding dresses of the vengeful Wilis are hauntingly elegant. Their tulle skirts float like mysterious clouds in the dark forest gloom.

The music by Adolphe Adam is suitably melodramatic for this folkloric tale where the enduring power of love overcomes the supernatural forces of death. We are buoyed by this final thought at the end of this lovely ballet.


4 Stars

Vanessa Lenton -


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