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Sleeping Beauty, w/ Sylve, Dutch National Ballet


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#1 art076

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 02:43 PM

Anybody know what this is?:

Tchaikovsky – THE SLEEPING BEAUTY Sofiane Sylve, Gael Lambiotte; Ermanno Florio, Dutch National Ballet, Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, 2004 (Opus Arte)
Link

It's being released by Opus Arte, but its not clear exactly when the release date is (the Opus Arte web site lists, on their upcoming releases page, 1/10/2004, which has clearly passed). Amazon.co.uk lists October 4, and yet another website lists "sometime in November." It is not on Amazon.com (for the U.S.). ALso according to Opus Arte, it is a production by Sir Peter Wright, and clocks in at a whopping 180 minutes with 4 bonus features, including one on Sylve herself.

Anybody know anything about this production? E.g. when it was recorded, the quality of the Dutch National Ballet's production overall, etc. I think the main interest for American fans is with Sofianne Sylve as Aurora, now that she's dancing with New York City Ballet.

Any idea when it'll be released in the United States, much less released at all?

#2 perky

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 03:36 PM

A tape of Sofiane as Aurora! :wub: Somebody pick me up off the floor!

#3 Herman Stevens

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 01:00 AM

I recommend you get it. Sofiane danced in Amsterdam for ten years, and though she increasingly was a star principal, it was not like the rest of the company stood / danced in her shadow. In other words, there is lots of great dancing to be seen on this dvd.

Gael Lambiotte is a wonderful prince, and I often think back on his Act II. (Lambiotte danced briefly in Boston, but came back to Amsterdam.)

This was Sofiane's last set of performances with the Dutch company (though she might do some guesting in the future), and her Aurora was simply amazing. I suspect Marc would say it's not completely idiomatic: Sofiane's Act I Aurora goes from Shy to "I Can't Believe Everybody Loves Me" very fast. In the big Act I diagonal after the Rose Adagio proper she's as much a Beast as a Beauty, really devouring the stage. I haven't been able to watch the old Lezhnina / Kirov video ever since. It's just too cute. (In fairness I should say that Lezhnina was very young at the time of the Kirov shoot; I have seen more substantial Lezhnina Auroras here in Amsterdam.)

The one thing with the Peter Wright production is Lilac don't do no dancing. Lilac's Waltz in the Prologue is taken by what Arlene Croce dubbed the Fairy of Surplus, in this case Britt Juleen (from Florida originally) who is a wonderful dancer - though my recollection is she wasn't at her best in this part.

One more thing: the orchestra and Florio are great. You'll find they blow the NYCB band out of the water. Better players, better preparation.

The extra features include Sofiane in wintry Manhattan, and in her Amsterdam apartment, preparing the final move, and a substantial segment about the mime in this production - I forget whether it's Wright himself talking about it or somebody else.

For those who are getting this disc, I'd love to hear your reports.

#4 mussel

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 11:39 AM

It's being released by Opus Arte, but its not clear exactly when the release date is (the Opus Arte web site lists, on their upcoming releases page, 1/10/2004, which has clearly passed)......

1/10/2004 in Britain means Oct 1, 2004 in the US. They have a different dating format, it switches the month and day around. So the release date is 10/1/04.

I hope the DVD will be released in the US and I'd be the first one on line.

Herman, where did you get yours? Do you know the region code and TV system (NTSC, PAL, Secam..) on your DVD?

#5 Herman Stevens

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 12:54 PM

Hi Mussel,

I don't have a copy of the dvd yet.

However, the dvd is part of a deal with Dutch public TV (and possibly French and Swiss TV, too), and I saw part of the December 25, 2004 broadcast, before our Xmas social activities got started. This is why I think I know about some of the extra features - and I checked with the company today, and yes, it's Peter Wright himself who's talking about mime on the dvd. Same as on TV, only a little more extensive, probably.

How I know about the character of the performance is because Sofiane danced Beauty three times in the December 2004 run, and I saw two of 'em in the theatre, plus half of the live TV broadcast (which was Sofiane's third and last performance in this run). Plus a bunch of rehearsals. I have to confess I thought the second was the best, but that one was taped, too, and perhaps footage was mixed for the dvd.

#6 art076

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 09:21 PM

1/10/2004 in Britain means Oct 1, 2004 in the US.  They have a different dating format, it switches the month and day around.  So the release date is 10/1/04.

Doh! Slipped my mind that it was a British company...makes perfect sense now. Usually I'm more prepared for it when I have to type "co.uk" in the address bar, but I arrived perfectly save and sound with a ".com".

It is a Region 0 encoded, though in PAL format, so technically you could play it on your computer system in the United States. You couldn't play it on your TV if you only have an NTSC-format DVD player, though, since it won't read the PAL format correctly.

But then again, you'd also have to convert the 24.99 GBP price into American dollars, plus add overseas shipping - might not look that pretty anymore once you get it here...

#7 Herman Stevens

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 01:07 AM

But then again, you'd also have to convert the 24.99 GBP price into American dollars, plus add overseas shipping - might not look that pretty anymore once you get it here...

The dancing and the music will be just as pretty a year later when you don't even remember what the amount paid turned out to be.

I would much rather have everything for free, too, but my guess is some 250 persons directly worked at this dvd, either dancing, playing the music, doing technical things in the theatre and the film studio, so maybe it's not all that expensive.

#8 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 10:13 AM

In any case it's great news that this performance will be released on DVD. The production is worth seeing and so is the company. Yes, Herman, I find Sofiane Sylve much too athletic for the role :wub: , but I suspect many will like her no-nonsense I-can-do-anything approach.

I agree that Lezhnina's more recent Aurora's in Amsterdam were a major improvement on her early filmed performance we have with the Kirov, so I can only regret that she wasn't filmed instead of Sylve... It would have been great to have one of the great Aurora's of our time in the beginning and near the end of her career.

#9 Herman Stevens

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 03:08 AM

I have been watching this Sleeping Beauty dvd for about a week now, and I have to say it's one of the best shot big ballet videos I have - right up there with the Royal Ballet Coppélia in the way the action is presented.

Sleeping Beauty is obviously a monster to capture with those typical Petipa changes from big ensemble work to solo variations, but generally speaking I can say they have done a marvellous job. The entire Rose Adagio with its two ensemble intermezzos and the powerful solos is captured brilliantly. You will never get to watch Sofiane Sylve as closely and extensively as this, both her dancing and her acting.

The Vision Scene is beautifully done. Only now I see how subtly acted Gael Lambiotte's prince is. The Vision is also a case IMO that the Wright production beats the Kirov production* as captured on the Lezhnina video in terms of musicality and emotion. In both cases Lilac is, naturally, not dancing, but in the Wright version her action is clearly that of a magical infinitely benevolent being (wonderfully performed by Sarah Fontaine) saying "not yet, dear prince," whereas Makhalina's a more static force just saying "no". A statue Lilac. Correct me if I'm wrong but neither do I see a whole lot of chemistry between Lezhnina and Ruzimatov - he doesn't seem really surprised he gets to hold her after a while, it happens every night after all - whereas there's some really subtle interplay between Sylve and Lambiotte: her little come-hither glances and his despair of ever getting hold of this er, beauty.

The Bluebird pdd is wonderful, too, with Sefton Clark and Sabine Chaland (Lambiotte's gorgeous wife).

So, even if you're not going to watch every character dance over and over again for the rest of your life, I think there's plenty material you will return to quite frequently.

Starting from Act I the orchestra is marvellous too - beautiful violin solo in the Rose Adagio, great cello solo in the vision, and just great playing overall.

* Of course the Kirov has in the meantime changed its Sleeping Beauty production significantly.

Perhaps I should also say, as a kind of disclaimer, that I have extensively interviewed both Sylve and Lambiotte in the past; however I am not "with" the company and have no interest in promoting this video other than recommending a thing of beauty.

#10 art076

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 05:22 PM

Thanks for the review, Herman. And now I sit patiently and hope that they will release it in American NTSC format soon!

#11 Dale

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 08:54 PM

This DVD can be bought at Dance Books (dancebooks.co.uk) in uncoded for world-wide format, so it can be viewed in the United States.

Editing to add: This appears to be the listing on amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.co...?v=glance&s=dvd

#12 art076

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 10:39 PM

Found it there, too - minutes after posting. :-) I swear it wasnt there when I checked for new ballet DVDs last week.

Nice list price though, huh? At least Amazon brings the price down some; now its in the same price range as other ballet DVDs on the market.

#13 Herman Stevens

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 12:49 AM

At least Amazon brings the price down some; now its in the same price range as other ballet DVDs on the market.

And it's double cd, too. Apparently they were unable to squeeze the special features on a single disc, too. So you get two segments of Peter Wright talking about supervising the rehearsals, with some studio footage, and about mime (I seem to recall there's a bit of mime translation, too) and there's a lengthy segment of Sofiane Sylve both in her Amsterdam home and in Manhattan talking about her life as a dancer. So the only thing I could think of yet is a five-minute exposee of the musical intricacies of the Beauty score.

#14 Andre Yew

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 08:53 AM

I received my copy of this DVD from Amazon UK yesterday, and had a chance to watch parts of it last night. Good news: the DVD is region free, and in NTSC format, so people in the US can get this DVD a couple of weeks earlier if desired without owning a hacked DVD player and PAL converter. It took about a week to reach me, and cost 22.22 GBP total (including shipping), so it's not really more expensive than ordering it from the Amazon US.

The packaging is very nice, and the ballet is on 2 DVDs: Prologue and Act 1 on one disk, Act 2, 3, and extras on the second disk. Video quality is good, though they have a tendency to dwell on the long shots of the whole stage.

I don't think Sylve's special stage quality (her huge stage presence which fairly oozed out of every performance she gave with NYCB here in Southern California) comes across well on video, but her impressive technical abilities certainly do.

--Andre

#15 Herman Stevens

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 02:17 PM

Please tell us more when you've seen the whole show. I'm curious.


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