Giselle Inspires Tallinn, or A Journey from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century

On February 22, Giselle was performed at Nordea, a concert hall in Tallinn that is considered to be the best state-of-the-art music venue in Scandinavia. The dancers' daily classical barre classes, in turn, were held at the Tallinna Filharmoonia, the historical 15th-century building of the Tallinn Philharmonic Society, located in the city's Old Town.

The Leonid Yacobson ballet Company was invited to perform in Tallinn after a successful contribution to the 10th anniversary Birgitta festival.  On August 10, 2014, the festival guests had gathered at an old convent on the Baltic shore, where they got a chance to see the famous Spartacus ballet, with choreography by Leonid Yacobson and music by Aram Khachaturian.

On February 22, the morning dancing class was held in a most unusual classroom: the 15th-century building of the Tallinn Philharmonic Society, located in the Pikk street in the city's Old Town. Especially for the dancers from the Leonid Yacobson Theatre, barre handrails had been  installed in the famous Olav Hall, which has been a popular concert venue since the 1420s, with a seating capacity of 100 to 150 people, and is currently also used for banquets and weddings. The Tallinna Filharmoonia also has a Grand Hall, dating back from 1530. With a seating capacity of 200 to 250 people, this hall is often used for high-level receptions for state officials. These walls have seen several Estonian presidents, the king of Belgium, and the queens of Great Britain and the Netherlands, among other dignitaries.

The Tallinna Filharmoonia boasts an enchanting interior, with a real fireplace, oak staircases, antique carved doors and armchairs, and stained-glass panels that have been commissioned to present-day young Estonian artists. This spectacular building now hosts several classical, Medieval, chamber, jazz, and modern music concerts every week, and also serves as a venue for literature recitals, movie nights, lectures, and creative meetings. What is more, the Tallinna Filharmoonia performs the function of a youth community centre, housing several hobby clubs and providing young people with an opportunity to continue an aeons-long tradition of evening dances.

Later in the afternoon and evening on February 22, the dancers from the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Company rehearsed and performed the classical ballet Giselle (as scheduled for their Estonian tour) at the Nordea Concert Hall — an innovative high-tech world-class complex, located in the Estonia Boulevard in the very heart of Tallinn.

This astonishingly designed multi-purpose transformable venue has a seating capacity of up to 1800 people, and boasts unmatched acoustics, high quality sound equipment, and cosy, ergonomic dressing rooms. It regularly hosts ballets, operas, musicals, classical and pop music concerts, drama performances, recitals, conferences, and family events. This hall has welcomed the best creative teams and world-famous performers.

The February 22 performance was preceded by an official address by Edgar Savisaar, the Mayor of Tallinn. He greeted the guests warmly in Russian and Estonian and shared a few facts about the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre, and its history and tours. 'Today, we have a unique opportunity to see a life performance of the legendary Russian ballet, and to welcome one of the country's greatest theatre companies as our guests,' said Mr. Savisaar.

Giselle, a world-famous romantic creation, with a plot in the fantasy genre and music by Adolphe Adam, has been preserved in Marius Petipa's version, with original choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot.

After the performance was over, the Estonian audience, which is generally not known for open displays of emotion, could not resist giving the dancers a prolonged standing ovation, and did not let them leave the stage for quite a while. Many of the guests were more than happy to share their thoughts of the ballet, leaving their kind feedback, expressions of gratitude, and wishes of well-being in the theatre's comment book:

'Many thanks for the privilege of listening to Adam's majestic music and enjoying the performance by Alla Bocharova, Filipp Stepin, and Andrey Gudyma!'
'The dancers are incredible. Watching them was an immense pleasure'.
'Just fantastic! The dancers were like ethereal creatures, fluttering, light as air. A true rest for the soul! And the costumes are astoundingly beautiful! Many, many thanks!!! Please, come again!'
'Such a rare pleasure these days — getting in touch with true art: clear lines, complete harmony, soaring dances, inspiration... Many thanks — and the best of luck to you!'