Elena Tschernischova


Sunday 22. October 2023 19:30 – 21:45 One intermission Main Stage
Subscription 21

Ticket information

Season 2023/2024

Choose a day of the week and your favorite seats and enjoy five performances in one season.

The following performances are included in this subscription:

22. October 2023: GISELLE
10. December 2023: TURANDOT


Season 2024/2025

Choose a day of the week and your favorite seats and enjoy five performances in one season.

The following performances are included in this subscription:

08. September 2024: ROMÉO ET JULIETTE
10. November 2024: BILLY BUDD
01. December 2024: BALLET: THE WINTER’S TALE
30. March 2025: COSÌ FAN TUTTE
25. May 2025: TANNHÄUSER

Cast at
22. October 2023

Herzog Albrecht

Davide Dato

Hilarion, ein Wildhüter

Giorgio Fourés

Berthe, eine Bäuerin, Giselles Mutter

Franziska Wallner-Hollinek

Wilfrid, Albrechts Freund

Jackson Carroll

Der Herzog von Kurland

Igor Milos

Bathilde, seine Tochter, Albrechts Verlobte

Katharina Miffek

Ein Bauernpaar

Anita Manolova

Myrtha, Königin der Wilis

Kiyoka Hashimoto

Musikalische Leitung

Wolfgang Heinz


Adolphe Adam

Choreographie und Inszenierung

Elena Tschernischova


nach Théophile Gautier

About the Production

Short Summary

The poet Heinrich Heine tells the legend of the mysterious Wilis, young women who must die before their wedding day because their love has been betrayed. 

In their dead hearts, an untamed lust for dancing continues to beat. As spirits, they leave their graves at night – and if a living man comes near them at this time, they will dance him to death.



In a village in wine-growing country, Count Albrecht comes on the scene disguised as a country lad, having first hidden his cloak and sword, evidence of his noble heritage, in a hut. He has come to pay court to the country girl Giselle; the two declare their love for each other. 

The gamekeeper Hilarion, who considers he has a claim on Giselle, watches the scene jealously. 

Giselle invites winegrowers passing by to join in a dance, and Albrecht too is drawn into the merriment. Giselle’s mother tries to restrain her daughter and by way of a warning tells her of the fate of the wilis, girls who die before their wedding and are condemned to dance every night. Giselle shrugs off these ominous warnings. 

While out hunting, the Count of Courland and his daughter Bathilde, Albrecht’s fiancé, stop to rest at Giselle’s home. The house is not unfamiliar to the count: an amorous adventure once brought him here, and Giselle’s birth was the outcome of the relationship. The count and Giselle’s mother are the only two people who know of Giselle’s noble background. The count’s legitimate daughter is entranced by Giselle’s charm, and he allows her to give Giselle her chain. 

While the count and Bathilde rest inside the house, the winegrowers celebrate an abundant harvest. Giselle is crowned the queen of the grape harvest. Together with Albrecht, who has kept out of sight of the hunting party, she joins in a dance with another local couple. Hilarion has found Albrecht’s sword and determines to expose his rival publicly. His plan is successful. Bewildered, Bathilde asks her fiancé what brings him here in this disguise; just a whim, Albrecht answers. Giselle then realizes that she has been deceived, that Albrecht’s love was feigned and nothing more than a game. 

Giselle goes out of her mind, she starts to rave and finally sinks lifeless to the ground. Albrecht is badly shaken.

Hilarion seeks out Giselle’s grave in the woods. The midnight hour arrives. Suddenly will o’ the wisps flare around him. Terrified, 

Hilarion flees. Myrtha, the queen of the wilis, appears. With her magic twig she summons the wilis from their graves. Finally, Giselle obeys this magical call. She is received into the circle of the wilis. 

Albrecht too has made his way to Giselle’s grave to mourn her. Time and again Giselle appears to him; however, he is unable to hold her. In the meantime, the wilis have pursued Hilarion, and they compel him to dance until he drops lifeless to the ground. Their next victim is to be Albrecht. Giselle begs Myrtha for mercy, but in vain. The queen of the wilis commands Giselle to dance to lure Albrecht away from the protection of the cross. The ruse works. Albrecht cannot resist Giselle’s dance, and he follows her. His strength is beginning to wane. 

Then the sound of the morning bells is heard, and the rising sun dispels the magical power of the wilis. Giselle disappears, and Albrecht sinks to the ground, heartbroken.

In 1841, Adolphe Adam composed a ballet score on this subject for the Paris Opera Ballet which has become one of the main works of the Romantic period. It can be seen with the Wiener Staatsballett in a version created for Vienna in 1993 by Elena Tschernischova, based on a distinctive and original colour concept:  against a backdrop of grey tones, the dancers stand out in signal colours. The first performance, given by Brigitte Stadler and Vladimir Malakhov with an outstanding ensemble, counts as one of the high points of the Wiener Staatsballett’s more recent history – and with over 80 performances, it is still a »calling card« for the company today.

Impressions of the Choreography

© Wiener Staatsballett/Ashley Taylor
© Wiener Staatsballett/Ashley Taylor
© Wiener Staatsballett/Ashley Taylor
© Wiener Staatsballett/Ashley Taylor


Tickets for our standing room can be purchased online or at the Bundestheater box office from 10 am on the day of the performance. BundestheaterCard holders can book standing room tickets online the day before the performance.

In addition, a fixed contingent of standing room tickets is available for regular evening performances from 80 minutes before the start of the performance at our standing room box office (Operngasse entrance).

Our operas are sung in the original languages - these vary depending on the work.

At each seat, subtitles in different languages can be switched on or off via a separate subtitle screen. In addition to the original language of the opera, you can choose from up to eight languages: German, English, Italian, French, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin).

In the event of a change of performance, you can of course return or exchange your tickets.

As changes to the cast cannot be ruled out due to illnesses or other hindrances of artists, there is no entitlement to a refund of the ticket price or exchange in this case.

Tickets cannot be returned or exchanged if you are not admitted to the auditorium due to being late (even after the interval).

About Your Visit


The cloakrooms are located next the the entrances at the Operngasse. You can find additional cloakrooms on the left and right side of the balcony and the gallery and in the boxes. All cloakrooms are free of charge.

Be on Time

We ask you to be on time when attending the performances.
Entry to the auditorium is not allowed after the performance has started. This also applied after the break.

Food and Drink

Our gastronomy opens at the same time entry is permitted. You can enjoy some snacks and drinks before the performance starts or you can book a table for the break.

Practical Information

You can find more practical information regarding your visit (e.g. Dresscode, barrier-free-access, …) here.


Discounts, Subscriptions, Cycles


The Vienna State Opera offers the following discounts:

  • Under 27
  • Children- & Youth-Tickets
  • BundestheaterCard
  • Ballett-Bonus
  • Ö1-Club
  • Culture Pass »Hunger auf Kunst und Kultur«
  • Disability ID
More info


Choose a week-day and your favorite seat and enjoy five performances.

  • 4x Opera, 1x Ballet
  • spread out over the whole season
  • up to 30 % discount compared to the regular ticket price
More info


Buy multiple performances as a package!

  • big selection of different cycles
  • bundled together by composers, artists or topics
  • spread out over the whole season
  • up to 10 % discount compared to the regular ticket price
More info