Recorded live at the Teatro degli Arcimboldi Milan 14 April 2004La Scala's 2004 Swan Lake brings together two world stars of classical ballet in the lead roles Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolle in this traditional production of Tchaikovsky's fairy story. The production comes from the Teatro degli Arcimboldi La Scala's temporary home at the time.There is certainly scope for various interpretations of the swan myth which goes back to antiquity when Jupiter took the shape of a swan and seduced Leda the wife of the king of the Spartans. The Milan production does not deny the psychological subtexts - the transformation of the girl Odette into a swan by being taken under Rothbart's huge wings in the prologue sets of black and white in the white acts and the most varied and colourful costumes in the merry ball scenes. The world of Prince Siegfried before the intrusion of Rothbart is characterised by Arcadian like pastel-colours and when Siegfried successfully fights him to free Odette from the spell the staging creates a most impressive lake scenery with roaring waters which acts as a transforming experience for Siegfried as well as Odette.Directed by Florence Clerc from Paris and Frederic Olivieri Artistic Director with the La Scala Ballet the Milan staging combines the best of both worlds in ballet: Russian classical school with the history of choreographic adaptation in the West. The filming underlines both aspects - in the expressive and soulful moments of the ballet the camera draws close to the dancers while it zooms out for the outstandingly symmetrical dancing of the swan scenes which the ballet has become so famous for.
An opera in 3 acts.
Prokofiev's last ballet and based on a fairy tale from the Urals thus mixing classical dance with folk choreography. This production was performed at the Maryinsky Theatre St Petersburg in 1991. With leading ballerinas Anna Polikarpova and Aleksandr Gulyaev. Choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich.
Don Quichotte, composed by Ludwig Minkus for the Bolshoi in 1869, was relatively unknown in the West until Nureyev's new choreography--which naturally gave him centre stage as Basile--was introduced at the Vienna State Opera in 1966. A later production in 1981 forms the basis for this 2002 success by the Paris Opera. Don Quichotte is in some ways a misnomer for the ballet. Rather than being the dominant character, here the beloved hero of Cervantes' original novel and tilter at windmills is a catalyst for the troublesome events which beset the love story of Basile and Kitri. The dream in which the knight encounters the queen of the dryads becomes a glittering fault in the narrative. But there is no doubting the fluid delights of the pas de deux between Basile (Manual Legris) and Kitri (the enchanting Aurélie Dupont), always literally several steps ahead of their would-be romance spoilers, which rather overshadow the pathos of Jean-Marie Didière's Quichotte. Nureyev's triumph, though, remains the teeming ensemble dances that reaffirm the close marriage between Minkus's score and the unfolding drama, here immeasurably enhanced by Alexandre Beliaev's Goya-esque designs. Ermanno Florio's musical direction keeps the pace light and busy. On the DVD: Don Quichotte is presented in 16:9 video aspect ratio with a choice of stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS (by far the best) soundtracks: the quality is all you'd expect of a standard modern television broadcast, although the subtleties of the theatrical lighting don't always shine through. Extras are limited to previews of other TDK releases. --Piers Ford
The Glory of the Kirov assembles footage from a variety of Russian sources--some of it, including moments from the early careers of famous defectors such as Nureyev and Baryshnikov, was previously suppressed and thought lost. The Kirov Ballet and Opera of St. Petersburg, and their earlier incarnation as the Maryinsky, have always been the Bolshoi's principal Russian rival and an impressive nursery of talent. This profile includes silent footage of the Ballet Russe's Tamara Karsavina doing her barre exercises as well as a classic extract from Ulanova's White Swan pas de deux in the 1940s. The 1960s are heavily represented here with extracts from Glazunov's Raymonda and Khatchaturian's Spartacus as well as even more famous repertory such as Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and Petipa's choreography for Le Corsaire. There are also two versions of Fokine's Dying Swan, one from Olga Moiseyeva and a performance from Makarova whose sublimity almost makes us forget the tasteless arrangement of the Saint-Saens score for strings and Hollywood choir. This disc encapsulates the greatness of Russian ballet in its Soviet period as well as some of its lapses of taste. --Roz Kaveney
On this exceptional DVD you'll find beautiful and popular ballet dancing performed in the grand classical style by renowned dancers that are rated internationally. The ballerinas principals and corps de ballet that are featured are without exception outstanding.
Pugny / Lacotte: The Pharoah's Daughter
Recorded live at The Victorian Arts Centre by the Australian Ballet Company this ballet tells the story of Princess Aurora who is put to sleep for one hundred years by the wicked Fairy Carabosse.
The multi-award-winning dance film Amelia (2002) directed and choreographed by Edouard Lock and performed by the acclaimed dance company La La La Human Steps explores the use of point technique using extended intertwining solos complex partnering sequences and extreme speed to generate powerful performances with unexpected moments of tender emotion and serenity.Lock uses intricate choreography for both camera and dancers creating amazing and constantly shifting points of view. Trademark performances brilliant and relentless combined with the delicate sensual lighting of AndreTurpin and the minimalist environment of a giant wooden box with rounded forms that seems to have no exit create a disturbingly exquisite and moving experience.The original score written by David Lang for violin cello piano and voice combines evocative minimalism with lyrics from five of Lou Reed's most famous works created in the 60s for the Velvet Underground.
The all-male dance company entertain with a number of familiar works performed in their unique style and filmed live at La Maison De La Danse Lyon. The programme includes: 'Swan Lake - Act II' 'The Dying Swan' 'Raymonda's Wedding' 'Go For Barocco' and 'Le Corsaire (Pas De Deux)'.
The original choreography by Philippe Taglioni had changed ballet forever. It introduced constitutional features of Romantic Ballet as we know it. These include dance en pointe and the tutu which most certainly owe their omnipresence in ballet to the success of the 1832 staging of La Sylphide in Paris. Everything about the event combined to transform the ballet into a magical spectacle: the libretto inspired by romantic literature the bucolic exoticism of the village wedding festivities the dramatic realism of the Sylvan forest the eerie halo of the gas lights the aerial flights of the dancers the long diaphanous tulle costumes and the ballerina's variations en pointes. Through this work ballet master Philippe Taglioni managed to achieve a magical fusion between mime and artistic dance in a light and flowing style that gave birth to the first white act in the history of ballet.
A performance by the Paris National Opera Company choreographed by John Neumeier. Recorded at the Opera National De Paris in March 2005.
Laszlo Seregi's SpartacusSpartacus is a gladiator who incites his fellow slaves to revolt against their Roman oppressors.
The Glory of the Bolshoi is a feature-length anthology of rare archive films showcasing the Bolshoi Ballet's greatest dancers and some very fine performances. Spanning almost a century, there are 19 selections, either complete dances or extracts. There is no commentary or documentary content, simply a succession of great ballet. Everything here is a highlight, from a pas de deux by Ekaterina Geltzer and Vasili Tikhomirov to music by Schubert which dates, extraordinarily, from 1913, through to a series of chapters showing the development of Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev, including their debut together at the age of 13. At 20 minutes the longest sequence is also different to anything else on the DVD, offering the opportunity to contrast two performances of Khachaturian's Spartacus, from 1968 with Vasiliev, and from 1984 with Natalia Bessmertnova as Phrygia. Apart from this sequence a chronological presentation of the material would surely have made more sense than the apparently random order of much of the disc, but otherwise this is a superb compilation of great historic value. A companion title, The Glory of the Kirov is also available. On the DVD: The Glory of the Bolshoi plays for 90 minutes, with almost exactly half the material in colour. While inevitably of variable quality, the 4:3 ratio picture is overall of a very high standard. The sound varies between mono and stereo and, apart from unavoidable patches of distortion, is more than acceptable. There is a Web link and booklet notes, but no special features--a disappointment on an excellent programme crying out for a commentary track to place everything in context. --Gary S. Dalkin
Coppélia is Delibes fairy-tale ballet of 1870, here presented in a production based on the Royal Ballet's 1954 version with designs by Osbert Lancaster and choreography by the company's founder Ninette de Valois. In a small European town Dr Coppélius (Luke Heydon) makes life-sized mechanical dolls. The whimsical tale unfolds as Swanilda (Leanne Benjamin) suspects that her fiancée Franz (Carlos Acosta) is falling in love with the enigmatic Coppélia (Leana Palmer). Everything is suitably magical, from the beautiful sets and costumes to the gorgeously melodic score. There is a sense of romantic playfulness throughout, and of course almost two hours of wonderful dancing, making this a treat to place beside Swan Lake and Giselle. Given live on 19 February 2000, this was the first live full-length ballet from Royal Opera House to be broadcast since 1968.On the DVD: Fortunately the DVD proves an object lesson in how to present ballet on the digital format. There is an introduction by Deborah Dull, principal ballerina with the Royal Ballet, a short but interesting profile of designer Osbert Lancaster, and a nine-minute film "Covent Garden Tales--The Ballet Moves" which gives a look behind the scenes at the Royal Ballet's new home. For a live production, the 16:9 anamorphically enhanced widescreen picture is simply superb, with excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. With even the special features delivered with 16:9 anamorphic enhancement this is a high-quality production in every respect. Encoded for regions two and four. --Gary S Dalkin
Spartacus (Australian Ballet)
Recorded live at The Sydney Opera House this timeless ballet tells the story of Dr. Coppelius who tries to bring to life his beautiful doll Coppelia.
Adam: Giselle (Smith The Elizabethan Melbourne Orchestra)
Opera named Der Vogelhandler by Carl Zeller.
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