Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake performed by Opera National de Paris and directed by Gerard Mortier.
The awesome technique and strength of the Bolshoi Ballet is shown to great effect in Yuri Grigorvich's legendary Spartacus; the epic story of a Thracian slave's fight for freedom. Grigorvich's choreography fills the huge Bolshoi stage with dynamic scenes of tension and conflict. This 1984 performance was directed for video by Preben Montell and stars two of the greatest artists of the Bolshoi Ballet of recent years. Irek Mukhamedov brings his stunning technique to the role of Spartacus and Natalya Bessmertnova gives a deeply moving performance as his wife Phrygia.
Stravinsky: Pulcinella (Neville Marriner)
Natalia Makarova is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest ballerinas of our age. The content of this television spectacular was chosen to show off the astonishing range and artistry of this uniquely gifted dancer. Some of Makarova's most acclaimed interpretations are featured in this recording alongside dances created especially for her. Highlights include her portrayal of Natalya Petrovna in Ashton's A Month in the Country and Juliet in MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet as well as extracts from Carmen Manon Les Sylphides and the musicals On Your Toes and Begin the Beguine. She is partnered by Anthony Dowell Denys Ganio Tim Flavin Gary Chryst and the Norman Maen Dancers. The dance programme is linked by Makarova and her charming personality fascinating life and love of dance shine through to create an intriguing visual biography of one of the greatest female dancers of our time. The music for Natasha was specially recorded by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth.
This release offers two short ballets by Stravinsky, The Firebird from 1909-10 and Pulcinella written a decade later, the former based on three Russian fairytales. This 1982 production by the Royal Danish Ballet was choreographed by Glen Tetley, for whom "The Firebird is a symbol of our innermost dreams and longing for freedom and true love". His interpretation has a dreamlike atmosphere, the designs echoing Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bete, the languorous, sensual dance evoking an understated fairytale eroticism in parallel with the shimmering score. Pulcinella comes from Stravinsky's neo-classical period and is inspired by the Italian commedia dell'arte of the 17th and 18th centuries. The story, an almost slapstick series of romantic confusions and complications amid the streets of Naples, is brought to life in this 1988 Scapino Ballet production with an enchanting mixture of dance and mime. The design is boldly colourful and Nils Christe's choreography filled with character and playful good humour. The music comes from an enthusiastic LSO under Claudio Abbado, with vocal soloists of the calibre of John Shirley-Quirk. The two works make an attractive programme. On the DVD: Other than a trailer for other Arthaus DVDs there are no special features. Reflecting the age of the material, the sound is unremarkable PCM stereo and the picture conventional 4:3. There is some audio distortion on Pulcinella, particularly on the vocal parts. The image has rich, vibrant colours and is reasonably detailed, but is also grainy and shows compression artefacts. Firebird has a smoother image, largely due to the focus being soft. The booklet contains useful notes and a full scene breakdown. The disc is encoded for regions 2 and 5. --Gary S. Dalkin
A compilation of the ballet from Russia. Includes the complete 'The Nutcracker' 'The Firebird' 'Petrushka' 'Scheherazade' and shorter ballet extracts.
The second part of this three-part ballet film contains a most unusual event a one of a kind sequence in which two of the world's greatest ballerinas Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya dance together in a memorable performance of scenes from Boris Asafiev's ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai. This is the only filmed record of these two great dancers performing together and it provides a unique opportunity to compare their different styles.The first part of this film features Galina Ulanova in an abridged version of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Utilizing dazzling visual effects this production takes full advantage of the artistic qualities of the cinema rather than merely recording the event.The great Georgian dancer Vakhtang Chabukiani is featured in the third part of this film in scenes from Boris Asafiev's homage to the French Revolution The Flames of Paris.
Natalia Makarova one of the most important interpreters of the classical ballet repertoire in the twentieth century has also had great success as a producer.Makarova's staging of Swan Lake is based on the original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with additional choreography by the late Sir Frederick Ashton.Evelyn Hart and Peter Schaufuss are stunning as Princess Odette and Prince Siegfried in this studio recording. Leanne Benjamin is a treat a one of the 'pas de quatres'.Makarova's innovative interpretation presents the work as a story of perfect and eternal love.The stage design by Gunther Schneider-Siemssen does not use scenery to communicate changes of place and mood but back projections (blue laser to indicate water for example) which are extremely effective for creating a mysterious magical atmosphere.
GiselleAdolphe AdamBalletto in 2 atti di Theophile Gautier e Vernoy de Saint-Georges Coreografie di Giovanni Coralli e Jules Perrot Versionme di M.L.LavrovskijCorpo di Ballo del Teatro dell' Opera di Roma Orchestra del Teatro dell' Opera di Roma
Professional ballet dancer Michelle Lungberg instructs the class . In Tinkerbell Dance Studio: Ballet the class starts at the barre (you can use a chair instead). Once Michelle introduces 1st through 5th positions she moves on to Plies Tondus Degajes Rondejambs Passes and Piques. After that the class stretches and moves to centre: Next Michelle continues with Tondus Degajes Pas De Bourres Balences and jumps. The program ends with the proper way to bow like a professional ballerina! This fun beginner ballet class is packed with all the basics and great music too!
Not only did 1999 mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Johann Strauss Sr., but the centenary of the passing of his son, Johann Strauss, "The Waltz King". To commemorate, on the evening of May 29, 1999 in Vienna's grand Heldenplatz almost 8,000 people gathered for a gala concert. This Wiener Philharmoniker performance was conducted by Zubin Meta (who had previously conducted the The Three Tenors, one of whom, José Carreras is here joined by soprano Andrea Rost for two duets from Strauss operettas). At 103 minutes this DVD offers 19 selections, but either there was an interval after just six pieces, or considering how rapidly it gets dark between "Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka" and the "Overture" from Die Fledermaus, there has been some cutting. Given such a great orchestra and the wonderful setting, it would have been nice to see people dancing to what is after all, real dance music. Despite the static nature of the event, the music is still uplifting, moving even the staid Vienna audience to clap along by the finale of the rousing "Radetzky March".On the DVD: Other than some useful booklet notes there are no special features, and unlike most other Arthaus titles the sound is offered only in stereo Dolby Digital and PCM stereo. This is presumably due to the difficulties associated with outdoor acoustics and live recording which nearly prevented the concert going ahead. The anamorphically enhanced picture generally makes the most of the spectacular location, having a clarity in the close-ups such that it is virtually possible to count the hairs on the musicians heads.--Gary S. Dalkin
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.
Narcissus features three of Norman McLaren's finest works. Narcissus: In Narcissus Norman McLaren's balletic interpretation of the Greek myth dancers enact the tragedy of the beautiful youth who condemns himself to a trapped existence through excessive self-love. Visually stunning the film is a compendium of McLaren techniques developed over a lifetime of experimentation. Film dance and music are skillfully merged to celebrate the ancient myth and its timeless significance
This 1994 French TV presentation of Delibes' Coppelia reflects choreographer Maguy Marin's commitment to total theatre, seeking to find a fresh and exciting way of making ballet a rewarding experience on the home screen. One of the problems of filmed live ballet is the video presentation often fails to capture the experience of being in the theatre, something this dynamic production shot on location and in the studio circumvents in a highly visual way. Relocating Hoffman's tale of Doctor Coppelia's automaton and troubled young love to contemporary run-down urban France, the opening folk-dances are set around a hard-court game of football which unequivocally evokes the opening of West Side Story (1961). Throughout classical dance blends with modern, jazz, mine and physical theatre, while the adapted story offers a critique of the modern obsession with visual icons and the power of illusory fantasy over reality. Romantic, witty and filled with a surreal imaginative poetry in a lineage descended from the films of Jean (La Belle et la Bete) Cocteau and Michael (The Red Shoes, Peeping Tom) Powell, this is a Coppelia for anyone who enjoyed Mats Ek's Sleeping Beauty (1999). Purists be warned, Marin dispenses with half the score, making her version last just 60 minutes. On the DVD: The 1.77-1 anamorphically enhanced widescreen picture is excellent, benefiting greatly from being lit and shot like a feature film rather than the video of live ballet productions. The PCM stereo sound is equally good, making this widescreen presentation technically superior to other TV classical music releases from the same date. There is a 12-minute interview with Marin (in French with English subtitles) in which she outlines her background, her idea of theatre, and explains her conception of the film and explores why she cut so much of the original ballet. Also included are trailers of four other Arthaus releases and a multi-language 24-page booklet with full credits and notes on Delibes, Marin, Nagano and the performance. --Gary S Dalkin
One of the most exciting choreographers on the modern dance scene today Hans van Manen's work is characterised by a supreme musicality and striking versatility. The scene for Hans van Manen's BLACK CAKE is a society party. Elegantly-dressed couples dance with each other and his choreography reveals a whole range of undercurrents in the relationships between the men and the women. Both humour and aggression are found in CONCERTANTE which generates an explosive tension in a succession of encounters between four male and four female dancers.
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.
This mixed bill of ballets danced by one of the world's greatest ballet companies was recorded live from the War Memorial Opera House San Francisco in 1985 and includes complete short ballets in addition to extracts from full length works. Airs choreographed by Paul Taylor was his first work for American Ballet Theatre and features music by Handel. It was featured in Mikhail Baryshnikov's highly successful first season as Artistic Director. This is followed by Jardin aux Lilas with music by Chausson choreographed by Anthony Taylor. The Grand pas de deux from Act III Swan Lake choreography by Marius Petipa is danced by American Ballet Theatre stars Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones. Then follows the Balcony Pas de deux from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan featuring the great Natalia Makarova and Kevin McKenzie. The last work is Great Galloping Gottschalk which was created by Lynn Taylor-Corbett for American Ballet Theatre in 1982.
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