On this day: the premiere of Giselle in 1841

Carlotta Grisi as the first Act I Giselle (1842)

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.



On this day: Northern Ireland’s parliament opened in 1921

On the 22nd of June, 1921, Robinson and Cleaver Department Store in Belfast was photographed decorated for the State Opening of the first Northern Ireland parliament.


Ulster_Welcomes_Her_King_&_Queen_Robinson and Cleaver Department Store in Belfast, decorated for the State Opening of the first Northern Ireland parliament. June 22, 1921.

200 years since the Battle of Waterloo

There will be a million or more history blogs running pieces on the two-hundredth anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat. In fact, some have been blogging about it all year.

I won’t go into details here, but here’s a depiction of the battle, which took place on the 18th of June, 1815, by Irish painter William Sadler II (1782–1839). *

The Battle of Waterloo by Irish painter William Sadler II (1782–1839)