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Kirov Celebrates Nijinsky


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#1 BalletNut

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 12:59 AM

I was wondering if anyone has this DVD, and what they think about it. It has Scheherezade, Le Spectre De La Rose, Polovtsian Dances, and Firebird. I am considering getting it, but want to make sure it'll be worth it.

#2 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 04:04 AM

BalletNut, this programme was filmed in Paris on a tour in 2002 and one gets well filmed and well-sounding (even though it is Mikhail Agrest who conducts) performances of the Fokine ballets, even if I find most of them miscast. Also "Scheherazade" is not complete - the whole orchestral ouverture has sadly been edited... But since there is not much choice when it comes to recent Kirov Ballet on dvd, you might still consider buying it.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 04:39 AM

I just got this one, and I agree with Marc -- For Ayupova fans, she dances the Young Girl in Spectre, and is the first I've ever seen in the part that made me understand what Karsaviina might have been like (i.e., she's not a prop).. However, the choreography is.....perhaps not what we are used to. These stagings are Isabelle Fokine (except for Polovotsian dances, I write without checking the box!) But it is a good chance to see the current Kirov stars.

#4 Natalia

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 09:59 AM

I'll agree with Marc & the others re. serious miscasting on most fronts. Scheherazade, for example. How many times does Zakharova pose for or smile at the camera, rather than perform Zobeide's right chor'phy? And what about the Golden Slave -- at first I didn't recognize the 'ham' with the slicked-back hair...then was shocked to read Farouk Ruzimatov's name with the credits!

Worst of all is the poor camerawork...caring more about close-ups & 'artsy-fartsy' angles than giving us the full choreography. It is downright criminal to not use a full-stage shot for climax of the 'orgy' dance in 'Sheherazade'...this film misses Fokine's magnificent final 'circles' of dancing, just before the men return from the hunt!!! Ditto the big-crowd scenes of 'Firebird.' 'Polovetsian' was a bit better -- magnificently danced -- but, again, we need more stage-overview shots to capture the full impact of Fokine's patterns. Strangely, the best-filmed Polovetsian Dances happened at the St. Petersburg-300 telecast (both the indoor & outdoor concerts); this is weak-tea, compared to those two.

The camerawork for 'Spectre' is the best. It's hard to botch a ballet with only two dancers!

It's a shame that Irma Nioradze's seminal portrayal of the Firebird -- surprise! this is truly HER role! -- was not filmed, with all due respect to my beloved Diana V.

I give this DVD a C+...maybe B -.

#5 canbelto

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 10:39 AM

Well I enjoyed the dvd a lot. The prime reason being Diana Vishneva's Firebird. I've seen three Firebirds on video, and only Diana IMO remembers the "fire" in Firebird. From the moment she flutters onstage, it's like Maya Plisetskaya in Dying Swan -- my eyes were transfixed. The sharp, even dissonant music suits Diana like a glove -- she looks as if she were born to dance the Firebird. Karsavina would be proud, considering how tirelessly she worked to coach younger ballerinas in this part.
Spectre was great, until Kolb's jump. To me he paused a bit too long, "prepared" his leap too carefully, and the magic spell was broken.
I enjoyed Zakharova in Scherherazade. She is a bit of a "cold" ballerina, and strangely unable to convey real sensuality beyond the "vavavoom" type. But the remarkable plasticity of her body were a sight. Farukh I also thought was excellent, although I find Scherherazade a pretty weak piece.
And the Polotsivian Dances was also very entertaining.

#6 BalletNut

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 09:25 PM

Well, I ordered a copy (through the Amazon link on this site :speechless-smiley-003: ), so I'll see how it goes. Thanks for the replies.

#7 richard53dog

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 05:23 AM

Well, I ordered a copy (through the Amazon link on this site  :) ), so I'll see how it goes. Thanks for the replies.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


BalletNut,

I hope you enjoy this. I did. I think part of the comments are connected to what you relate to. If you are looking for a version of these four pieces as you would see them in the theater, then you may be disappointed, a lot of the camera work is close up or at medium distance. There is some, enough for me, long shots to see the piece as a whole.

Also if you are a purist, you may have a problem. I'm pretty philosophical in this regard, personally I think it's hard to really be convinced that the choreography of pieces even as recent as the Fokine ones are truly exact images of the original.

Overall my favorite was the Firebird, I really enjoyed the dancing, the set, costumes, and yes the camera work also. I loved Vishneva in this; I'm hoping she's still in the Stars of the 21st Century gala in NYC next Monday

There is also another fairly recent release on DVD, the Return of the Firebird. This is much more an Andris Liepa thing (he's credited on the Kirov/Nijinsky thing, but he's much more a part of this)
But this is even further from a documentation of a stage performance. It is extremely opened up for filming, and is almost overwhelmed by the camera work and the overpowering feeling of decadence and perfume, particularly Sheherazade. This is almost like a crossover version. The program here is different in that it's Petroushka, Firebird and Sheherazade.

And some people I know that are not particularly interested in ballet found this fascinating. But it's not for ballet purists, I think you also have to be a film fan for this. But I like a lot of the classic silent films (think Douglas Fairbanks in the silent Thief of Bagdad) and so I enjoyed this also.

Richard

#8 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 09:02 AM

The (mis)casting on this DVD (as Natalia also pointed out) becomes an issue as soon as you have seen several different performers in these Kirov productions before. When this is your first glance of these productions, it won't matter that much.

#9 canbelto

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 09:08 AM

I just reviewed this dvd for Amazon.
I dont see which ballet is "miscast." Certainly Diana Vishneva isnt miscast. And Zakharova's style and persona may not be to everyone's liking, but I wouldnt call it miscasting either.

#10 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 10:46 AM

I dont see which ballet is "miscast." Certainly Diana Vishneva isnt miscast. And Zakharova's style and persona may not be to everyone's liking, but I wouldnt call it miscasting either.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


What other Kirov dancers have you seen in these productions, canbelto?

#11 canbelto

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 11:39 AM

Well I havent seen the Kirov per se, but I have seen all these ballets danced by other companies. The only dancer I'd say was "miscast" was Igor Kolb, who doesnt have the effortless, superhuman elevation for Spectre.
But I find it interesting that the Kirov puts out its first video in like, 10 years, and everyone poo-poos it :)
Besides, I think it's sort of rude to imply that if you enjoyed this video, you were obviously inexperienced and hadnt seen tons and tons of Kirov dancers. First impressions are also important, and I;m certainly one to call a spade a spade if I dont like something. I also have a big collection of ballet videos, go to the ballet whenever I can, and am not a newbie Pollyanna who "adores" everything.

#12 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 12:32 PM

Well I havent seen the Kirov per se, but I have seen all these ballets danced by other companies. The only dancer I'd say was "miscast" was Igor Kolb, who doesnt have the effortless, superhuman elevation for Spectre.
But I find it interesting that the Kirov puts out its first video in like, 10 years, and everyone poo-poos it  :)
Besides, I think it's sort of rude to imply that if you enjoyed this video, you were obviously inexperienced and hadnt seen tons and tons of Kirov dancers. First impressions are also important, and I;m certainly one to call a spade a spade if I dont like something. I also have a big collection of ballet videos, go to the ballet whenever I can, and am not a newbie Pollyanna who "adores" everything.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Canbelto, we are only considering the Kirov Ballet here, and the way the company dances these ballets is different from others. But no need to get offended, my point is that if you see only one cast, you can hardly be expected to know what others might make of it. A fine looking performance might suddenly become less interesting when compared with other casts. And thatís basically whatís frustrating about this release. Other casts revealed a whole lot more of the roles than the ones now featured on this DVD. Natalia gave some examples. I could add Asylmuratova, Lopatkina or Nioradze as Zobeide, and Tsiskaridze as the Golden Slave, or again Asylmuratova or Nioradze in the Firebird. Itís great to have the Mariinsky on film finally after ten years, but itís nonetheless a shame weíre stuck with mainly the wrong people.

#13 Thalictum

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 12:35 PM

But that's entirely the trouble with the Kirov now! We are stuck with the same half dozen wrong people!!

#14 Natalia

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 01:52 PM

But that's entirely the trouble with the Kirov now!† We are stuck with the same half dozen wrong people!!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Absolutely. I can see it now. The Kirov Management received this opportunity to do a rare DVD...the first made-for-DVD Kirov Ballet production, if I'm not mistaken (rather than a video-into-DVD reissue). They see it as the rare opportunity to showcase their 'star ballerinas' come hell of highwater, regardless of proper 'fit.'

Vishneva is a wonderful Aurora and Giselle -- and 'angel' type -- but she would never make my list of top-5 current Kirov dancers in the menacing-mysterious role of the Firebird! #1 - NIORADZE, absolute perfection with her quirky sort of beauty. #2 - Julia Makhalina (also magnificent & majestic'). #3 - Tatyana Amosova (an amazon in flight!) #4 - Daria Pavlenko (talk about a menacing glare!)#5 - Tatiana Serova.

Ruzimatov as the Golden Slave now, in 2005 (or 2002, when this was filmed)? Give me a break! Korsuntsev, Kuznetsov, Scherbakov...anyone of these would have been 100-times more effective. But, of course, the name 'Ruzimatov' sells DVDs.

Kolb - wonderul technique but lightweight. Ayupova - hmmm...lovely but not convincing as a 'girl' whose just attended her first ball. Sorry - that's the truth. [However, I agree with Alexandra that it's nice just to have something -- anything -- of her on film/DVD.]

The only perfectly-cast ballet on this DVD &, for me, the main reason to buy it, is 'Polovetsian Dances.' (despite the numerable shots of choristers when great dancing takes place!) ISLOM BAIMURATOV, POLINA RASSADINA, ELENA BZHENOVA, GALINA RAKHMANOVA (next to Bazhenova, in Slave Girl sections)...those amazing Kirov 'warrior hunks' (male corps)....they're the best elements of this DVD!

#15 Herman Stevens

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 02:01 PM

I cannot help but notice these ballets are discussed only in terms of the main gal or guy, as if the larger ensemble is irrelevant.

I just saw the Kirov on stage in, among other things, l'Oiseau (with Nioradze) and frankly the corps was no great shakes - just a second rate company.

I'm wondering whether this obsession with the principals isn't actually contributing to the gradual, irrevocable sinking of the company.

I haven't seen the dvd; I might get it for the Spectre. But I have to say after the last couple of shows I have seen between 2000 and now, I just can't see any justification for the hoopla over the Kirov Ballet.


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