Carlotta Grisi was an Italian ballet dancer. Born in Visinada, Istria, she was trained at the school of Teatro alla Scala in Milan. She was especially noted for her performance in the role of Giselle. At her 1836 debut in London, Grisi performed with the accomplished danseur Jules Perrot and she next appeared in Paris at the Théâtre de la Renaissance and a year later, toured with Perrot to other parts of Europe. Through Perrots contacts, the worked in Paris, London, Vienna, Munich. Of her two talents, it was her dancing that was acclaimed, by dancing Perrots choreography, which at that time was receiving great attention, she gained notable attention of both the public and the critics. Her greatest role however was that of Giselle, the world première of this two-act ballet was on 28 June 1841 at the Théâtre de lAcadémie Royale de Musique, Paris. The part of Albrecht was danced by Lucien Petipa, with the part of Myrtha and it caused a sensation and inspired its reviewers to proclaim Giselle to be the greatest ballet of its time and a triumphant successor to the Romantic masterwork La Sylphide. As such, it immediately established Grisi as a star in her very first full-length ballet in Paris and her salary grew from 5,000 francs to 12,000 in 1842 and 20,000 by 1844, with additional performance fees on top. It also marked the beginning of a change in her relationship with Jules Perrot, Grisis last performance in the west was in Paul Taglionis Les Métamorphoses. In 1850, she joined Perrot in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he had been appointed balletmaster, the first Giselle in Russia had been danced by Fanny Elssler, and so the initial reaction to Grisis interpretation of the role was not enthusiastic. However, over time the Russians appreciated her talents, Grisi gave birth to her second daughter, Léontine Grisi, and, at the age of 34, settled in Saint-Jean, Geneva to spend at Villa Grisi (also called Villa Saint-Jean, which is no longer extant. The next 46 years of her life in peaceful retirement and she died in this district of the town on 20 May 1899, a month before her 80th birthday. Created the title role of Giselle
Lithograph by an unknown artist of Grisi in the tite role of Adam's Giselle, Paris, 1841.
Saint-Jean, the district of Geneva in which Grisi retired in 1856
Grisi's sepulcral vault in a cemetery near Saint-Jean