Carlotta Grisi as Giselle the year after the premiere
The Paris Opera Ballet (then the Ballet du Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique) premiered the romantic tragedy Giselle on the 28th of June 1841. The first performance featured Italian ballerina Carlotta Grisi in the title role.
To this day Giselle is considered one of the most important ballets, and the role of Giselle is considered the Hamlet of ballet roles, as it is the most prestigious and dramatic, requiring good technique and superb acting skills.
The story is of a nobleman, Albrecht, who falls in love with a peasant girl, Giselle, and disguises himself as a commoner to be with her. When his real fiancée arrives, Giselle goes mad and dies, becoming one of the ghostly Wilis, spirits destined to spend eternity gaining revenge for their early deaths. Giselle manages to save Albrecht from this fate.
The Duchess of Richmond’s famous ball was held in Brussels on the 15th of June, 1815. The following day thousands would be slaughtered in the Battle of Quatre Bras, and then on the eighteenth Napoleon would finally be defeated at Waterloo.
The ball was essentially one last celebration before the final (successful but bloody) attempts to end Napoleon’s power. *
This image appeared in The War Illustrated on the 12th of June, 1915.
In the picture is the British 10th (Irish) Division at their camp at Basingstoke.
The caption for the picture read:
PRAYERS BEFORE WAR WORK—An impressive Church of England service in the open was held at Basingstoke, in the presence of the officers and men of the 10th Division of Irish troops. This photograph shows the soldier congregation seated on the grass awaiting the sermon. In the background the enormous camp of tents is seen.