Today I propose a list of timeless classical ballet performances which not only stand the test of time (some of them are maybe 200 years old) but are still a fan favorite among ballet lovers because if there are countless lists of timeless movies and TV shows that you must watch at least once in your life, then there must be some ballet shows that you have to watch. You cannot call yourself a cinephile if you haven’t watched Groundhog Day, The Godfather, or Casablanca. And you cannot call yourself a TV-show fan if you haven’t given Friends or The Sopranos a chance.
Giselle, the classical ballet about fairies
With music composed by Adolphe Adam and inspired by a Slavic fairytale, this ballet was first staged in 1887 (so around 135 years old today). It has only two acts in which the story between Giselle, a peasant girl, and count Albrecht who had fallen in love with her unfolds.
However, Hans also loves out main character and tries to drive away Albrecht (dressed as a peasant) so that the young girl love him. His efforts are in vain, and the young girl declares his love for Albrecht to her friends and mother, the latter of them is against it.
The count’s family stops at our heroine’s house, but the son is missing (not wanting for his trickery to be discovered he hides, but Hans finds his royal clothes and steals them).
Hans reveals his secret and the young girl finds that the boy she had fallen in love with is already engaged. Her heart can’t take that much sadness and she passes away in Albrecht’s arms ending the first act.
In the second act Hans and Albrecht both go to the cemetery. Here Myrtha, the Queen of Wills (the girls who died before getting married) awakens Giselle and her wills haunt both men to take their lives because they ended one. Hans throws himself in the lake, but the dead girl dances with Albrecht to save him. When the morning comes their love saves both of them, Albrecht from dying and the girl from becoming a Wills.
The ballets by Tchaikovsky, the ballet performances that cannot be topped
All three ballet performances by the great Tchaikovsky deserve to be included in our list. The beautiful love stories, the choreography, and music, the gorgeous sets, everything shows the timeless character of classical ballet and this era.
Coppélia, the classical ballet for children
Maybe not as famous as the previous ballet performances, Coppélia is a perfect story for children with beautiful music composed by Leo Delibes and three acts (and it is almost 152 years old).
Coppélia is the most beautiful doll from the shop and attracted the attention of Swanilda and Franz, an engaged couple. Her fiancée falls in love with the girl from the window not realizing that she is a doll. Swanilda sees Franz’s courting of the doll and is mad, especially considering that the next day is their wedding.
At night the toymaker loses his key which is found by Swanilda who is determined to discover if her fiancée cheats on her. When the toymaker returns, Swanilda hides and sees how her fiancée wants to meet the beautiful girl at the window (Coppélia). The toymaker drugs Franz to steal his soul and give it to the doll to make her a real girl. Swanilda changes places with the doll and pretends that she is alive after the toymaker gives her “Franz’s soul”.
After Franz awakes, he apologizes to Swanilda and they throw the doll on the window.
At their wedding, the toymaker brings the broken doll and asks the mayor for a solution. The two lovers apologize and the toymaker is a forgiving man and gifts them a doll.