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samba38

Best ballet DVDs

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We've just splurged for a DVD player and tuned in our first purchase -- Carla Fracci/Erik Bruhn in Giselle. Gorgeous! So now we're on the hunt for advice on great ballet DVDs (opera, too, but that's not this board, right) that will play on a mid-price American DVD player (not formatted for european or australian stuff as other posts have talked about). If you were building a DVD collection, which would be the first ones you'd suggest?

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to the best of my knowledge most ballet dvd's are, as is the case of the ABT "Giselle" you mention here, are really transfers, digitally, of pre-dvd-digital-era video tapes lately transferred to disk, this means that the 'added/special' features, so understandably popular w/ dvd fans, tend to be minimal. still, given the picture quality and playback ease of play/rewind/fast-forward/freeze-frame inherent to dvd, which is so superior to videocassette, the lack of special features seems negligible for the present. for my part i could recommend:

ashton's 'cinderella' w/ ashton himself as the 'shy' 'ugly' sister and sibley and dowell in the leads as a fine disk, ditto 'an evening w/ the royal ballet' and the kirov 'swanlake' w/ mesentzeva & zaklinsky, as well as nureyev's 'don quixote' w/ the australian ballet & nureyev and aldous (all these from Kultur); additionally for a hollywood-movie view of ballet/dancing both "center stage" w/ its special features offering the scripted movie's dance sequences, separately, without dialogue/plot interruptions and 'goldwyn follies' (with the fabled 'waternymph' ballet and the pre-west-side-story romeo&juliet takeoff) are interesting companion disks--one from the 30s w/ its movie aesthetic and the other from the 90s with its own slickness. other 'swanlake's (and there are fewer than one might imagind) include the historica fonteyn/nureyev perf. in nureyev's staging for vienna state op. ballet and makarova's for london festival, which has the wonderous ashton pas de quatre among its highlights. two good balanchines are warner's film of 'the nutcracker' w/ new york city ballet and the bbc filming of 'midsummer night's dream' with pacific northwest ballet.

as far as opera is concerned, from this ballet collector's point of view, the bergman 'magic flute' is a real treat, esp. for the old-world staging recorded for the film and, from left field, the 1925/29 lon chaney silent 'phantom of the opera' w/the likely authentic paris opera ballet sequences, with a large corps de ballet number recorded on the (garnier?) stage, neatly concentrated in the chapter called: 'A night at the opera.' (the syberberg 'parsifal' is a handsomely done 2-disk set.)

and as alexandra might like me to note, if we buy our dvd's thru balletalert's link to amazon.com, we're all helping ballet even if we buy opera dvd's!

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I have recently bought Maurice Bejarts The Nutcracker and it is fantastic. It is not like the original it is more of of a biographical account of Bejarts childhood. I highly recommend it!

Also The Kirovs 'Le Corsaire is fantastic on DVD the quality is amazing!

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of these last 2 DVDs mentioned, i'm fairly certain the kirov 'corsaire' is NOT available in USA/region-1 disks, and the bejart MAY be but i'm not sure of that.

did i forget to recommend 'the red shoes'? if so it was an oversight, i highly recommend this criterion collection dvd.

[ December 19, 2001: Message edited by: rg ]

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HI!

The ABT version of Le Corsaire is available on DVD. You can purchase it via amazon.com

Kate

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So DVD's really are far superior even if they are only transfers from older films or videos?

frown.gif Sadly the only DVD player we own right now resides in this computer!

Food for thought. Thank you!

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I just recently purchased the video "Essential Ballet" on DVD. It is performed by the Kirov ballet and is wonderful. It has bits and pieces from Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, The Firebird and more. I highly reccoment it to anyone who loves ballet. I bought it at Borders Books and Music today actually!

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yes, the DVD is superior to the video. I was amazed at the clarity and high production value of the 1969-transferred from film Giselle. And now I have a Covent Garden production of "Carmen" with our DVD hooked up to our stereo system and it's a knockout!!! We've also rented DVDs and for those pop culture moments when your kiddo wants to analyze every hairstyle in "Legally Blonde" it really can't be beat.

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Thanks Samba for answering my question...maybe I'll find a post-Christmas sale! Love the other reasons you bought it! wink.gif

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Where can you buy ballet dvd's??? tongue.gif

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Amazon.com! Just click on the banner above smile.gif

You will also find some in stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble.

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