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DSanderson

New La Sylphide DVD

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Over the weekend, I watched the POB La Sylphide (TDK) and was absolutely delighted by the performance. I'll leave it to the experts to go into the finer points, but I thought Aurelie Dupont and Mathieu Ganio were excellent.

The DVD comes with a bonus feature "La Syphide Rediscoved" that includes interviews with Pierre Lacotte, Aurelie Dupont, and Mathieu Ganio.

Has anyone else had a chance to watch this?

Dana

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I just got my copy, too. I absolutely loved it. I bought it, not expecting too much. All I knew about La Sylphide was that it was not to be confused with Les Sylphides and that it had kilts and sylphs in it. I figured it was a necessary part of my ballet education to see it even if I wasn't going to fall in love with it. I was wrong.

I am not really qualified to comment on the finer points of the dancing either, but it looked good to me. I was impressed with Aurelie Dupont who was a beautiful sylph and so different from her portrayal of Kitri (which I also loved). I loved all the flying around the stage and I understand that the Paris Opera is a particularly good stage to accomodate the flying.

The whole production just seemed very magical and romantic to me.

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I understand, though, that this is not the Bournonville version but rather the Lacotte version. Can anyone elaborate on the differences between the two versions, and if the difference makes the DVD any less worth buying?

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The whole production just seemed very magical and romantic to me.

Magical and romatic - that's the perfect way to describe it, in my opinion. For the most part, I've been very impressed with all the Paris Opera Ballet videos I've seen, even the somewhat maligned Romeo and Juliet.

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DSanderson (welcome on Ballet Talk, by the way ! :) ), have you seen the 1972 POB video of Lacotte's production of "La Sylphide" (Paul Parish mentioned it in the thred I linked) ? It is a bit old, but Thesmar's dancing is quite marvellous (I haven't seen the Dupont-Ganio version yet).

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Thanks, DSanderson. I've wanted to see a non-Danish Sylphide for quite a while. Just ordered it from the Amazon link on Ballet Talk.

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I have a copy and it's a very handsome production. I only wished they had two more experienced dancers in the leading roles---this, I understand, was the first time for both of them. (after viewing it, I went scurrying back to view my clips of Bruhn and Fracci :thanks: . I really prefer Bournonville's version. The POB version rambles on too much in Act 2---at times, I didn't know if I was watching the Willies in Giselle or Les Sylphides. The beautifully staged ending of the ballet is worth the price of the DVD---the Sylphide is carried aloft in a hammock of white gauze, held by two Sylphs....Ah.....

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The beautifully staged ending of the ballet is worth the price of the DVD---the Sylphide is carried aloft in a hammock of white gauze, held by two Sylphs....Ah.....

As a Bournonville partisan :thanks: I have to jump in and say -- they do that in Denmark, too.

I haven't seen this DVD but I'll put it on my list. It's a shame they didn't film Platel; there's a smidgeon of her dancing on the "Etoiles" DVD and it made me want to see more.

I don't care for the Lacotte reconstruction -- or reimagining, really, since he had to make up a lot of iit -- but the older filming, with Theismar and Denard, has Effy and the Scots girls on pointe, which just wouldn't have happened in 1832. The whole "point" of the Sylph being on pointe is that she was otherworldly.

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The whole "point" of the Sylph being on pointe is that she was otherworldly.
I see your point, but can we really go back to the time when the audience was "pointe-innocent"? We have seen so much pointe work that we now consider it a quite normal part of ballet language.

I have also ordered this. The Thesmar Derard Sylphide is one of my favorite videos and I can't wait to compare the two...

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DSanderson (welcome on Ballet Talk, by the way ! :) ), have you seen the 1972 POB video of Lacotte's production of "La Sylphide" (Paul Parish mentioned it in the thred I linked) ? It is a bit old, but Thesmar's dancing is quite marvellous (I haven't seen the Dupont-Ganio version yet).

Thanks for the welcome, Estelle! This new La Sylphide video is the first I've seen, and I look forward to tracking down the older one. Paul Parrish's description is certainly intriguing. :)

Dana

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The whole "point" of the Sylph being on pointe is that she was otherworldly.
I see your point, but can we really go back to the time when the audience was "pointe-innocent"? We have seen so much pointe work that we now consider it a quite normal part of ballet language.

We don't really need to go back to anything, do we? The Bournonville version doesn't have the girls on pointe and it's considered "normal" there.

It's great to have this DVD-release of the POB, but it's a shame it wasn't filmed a few years earlier when we could have had Elisabeth Platel or Monique Loudières in the title role and Manuel Legris as James. I remember when this film was shot, last summer, the company wasn't in its best form.

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It's great to have this DVD-release of the POB, but it's a shame it wasn't filmed a few years earlier when we could have had Elisabeth Platel or Monique Loudières in the title role and Manuel Legris as James. I remember when this film was shot, last summer, the company wasn't in its best form.

Oh, I regret so much having never seen Loudières and Legris in that ballet (and also in many other ballets)... And I only saw Platel in her farewell performance, and it was a great evening. It is a good thing that the POB seems to want to film more performances now, but it's a pity that a whole generation of dancers isn't shown much in videos (e.g. almost nothing with Elisabeth Maurin, only "Les Noces" and Gamzatti for Platel, only Pétrouchka and R & J for Loudières, etc.)

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We don't really need to go back to anything, do we?  The Bournonville version doesn't have the girls on pointe and it's considered "normal" there.
I just meant that the effect of pointe on a modern audience cannot be the same. That is true of the Bournonville Sylphide also.
It's great to have this DVD-release of the POB, but it's a shame it wasn't filmed a few years earlier when we could have had Elisabeth Platel or Monqiue Loudières in the title role and Manuel Legris as James. I remember when this film was shot, last summer, the company wasn't in its best form.
I'm not so sure about this but, I remember having heard of a Platel and Legris Sylphide film existing. Has anyone heard of this or is my memory playing tricks?

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They released a Sylphide with Dupont and Ganio. No chance they will release any other, no matter how many they may have in their archives - these are not intended for commercial release anyway.

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We don't really need to go back to anything, do we?  The Bournonville version doesn't have the girls on pointe and it's considered "normal" there.
I just meant that the effect of pointe on a modern audience cannot be the same. That is true of the Bournonville Sylphide also.

I disagree. Putting the Scottish girls on pointe is, IMO, roughly equivalent to putting Desire's hunting companions on pointe.

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I disagree.  Putting the Scottish girls on pointe is, IMO, roughly equivalent to putting Desire's hunting companions on pointe.

Quite an intriguing idea. I'm thinking of submitting it to the Trocks. What did Matthew Bourne do in Highland Fling? :)

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Quite an intriguing idea.  I'm thinking of submitting it to the Trocks.  What did Matthew Bourne do in Highland Fling?    :D

I don't know if you're being serious or not, but - there's no pointe work in Highland Fling. The girls wear jazz shoes in Act 1 and bare feet in Act II. I doubt I'll make myself popular by saying this, but I think Bourne's sylph is more 'otherworldly' than the balletic sylph. That doesn't mean I prefer his version - I love them both.

From where can one get hold of the POB 1972 video, please? I've never seen it anywhere online or in a real shop.

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Just watched the new POB La Sylphide. I liked Dupont and Ganio very much, and Melanie Hurel as Effie was equally admirable. Dupont's opening solo introduces her as a weightless entity, setting the tone of her character. Surprisingly the camera misses all but the last instant of her chimney flight! At the end of Act I Hurel has a terrific solo. Just after that Ganio does a series of lifts with Dupont that made her absolutely weightless; amazing. I agree that Act II does go on and ON, but there is lots of wonderful dancing and I can't complain. I do prefer Bournonville's version.

Giannina

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Actually, it was Manuel Legris who was supposed to be filmed with Aurélie Dupont in this Sylphide. Unfortunately, he got injured and Matthieu Ganio was I think the only "étoile" available at that time to do the video (premiers danseurs danced it just as well, is not better thanks to experience, but I think the management wanted an "étoile" for the commercial release).

It's a shame they haven't done one earlier, but still I think Aurélie Dupont and Mélanie Hurel are just admirable in that DVD. The first seems truly ethereal, and I just love Effie's solo ; I kept watching it again and again ! She doesn't show off and yet she catches the eye with her cleanliness and elegance, IMO. (Ms. Hurel also danced the title role in that very run, by the by)

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anyone want to give me a run-down of the versions of this ballet available on DVD or VHS. I have been struggling to find a Bournonville recording. I have the POB DVD, which was expensive by the way, and though I like it, I'm a bit more partial to the Bournonville version. I vagely remember seeing clips of the National Ballet of Canada with Nureyev as James. Is that all that available, or is there a full version of that on an old VHS somewhere? I have done some light internet research to no avail, and have checked out my pathetic local library (which doesn't have much in the way of ballet on film unfortunately.) Thanks!

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sparklesocks, apart from the DVD you have ( Lacotte's La Sylphide with Dupont and Ganio) you can still maybe find an old VHS of the same choreography with Thesmar and Denard. I think Thesmar is enchanting and fascinating as La Sylphide and better suited to this role than Dupont.

Filming does not seem to have been a priority for the Royal Danish Ballet in the last 20 years so, unfortunately, I don't think you'll find a commercially availlable Bournonville Sylphide either in Europe or the US.

There was an old laser-disk(?) or vhs(?) version of Bournonville's La Sylphide with the Royal Danish Ballet. Good luck finding it. Maybe on e-bay...

If the excerpt you mention is the one with Nureyev and Carla Fracci, I think you can find it on the "I'm a dancer" film.

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