cubanmiamiboy

"Sleeping Beauty" on DVD

22 posts in this topic

I raised this similar question when trying to get the best offer on DVD for " La Bayadere", and the BT's advises were very valuable. Now that the ABT is bringing their own version to Miami, i would like to establish some comparisson. My only expossure to the whole "Beauty" is the lovely 1964 Kirov production with Alla Sizova, Yuri Soloviev and the great Mme. Dudinskaya as Carabosse, which i totally adore. I'm a self confessed traditionalist on ballet matters, but as nowadays we have a lot-(well, some more than before)-new releases of ballets on DVD maybe i should update myself a little bit on this work...?

So, my question is: Which other DVD of "Beauty" should i own, besides de Sizova/Soloviev production ?

Share this post


Link to post

Kolpakova, but like the Sizova, it may break your heart when you see ABT's...

Share this post


Link to post
Kolpakova, but like the Sizova, it may break your heart when you see ABT's...

really...? so i guess i'll stick with Sizova/Soloviev

Share this post


Link to post
really...? so i guess i'll stick with Sizova/Soloviev

That would be very sad, esp since as you say you are a traditionalist in such matters. The Sizova/Soloviev Belle may have the benefit of a stellar cast but it also has more than an hour of cuts (and a carabosse en pointe).

Go buy the Kolpakova/Berezhnoy video. It's a good production and you NEED to see a proper stage video of this ballet - this is the most glorious ballet of all! Kolpakova was the pre-eminent Kirov Aurora of her generation and even though she's more than 50 in that video you can still see why. Let's hope however that an earlier video (perhaps the one with Solovyov) will someday be availlable on dvd. There are wonderful soloists in the later video, most notably Komleva as Diamond fairy.

You should also get a Royal Ballet video of Sleeping Beauty - but for this wait until the recent Alina Cojocaru recording becomes availlable on DVD - it wont be long now hopefully... There already is a video of a complete Royal Ballet production with Viviana Durante from the early 90s. Her technique is impressive but her interpretation a bit dry (imho) She, and everyone else in this production, is overshadowed by the skewed, weirdly scaled stage design and the distracting costumes. This production has figured prominently in all our ghastly-sets-and-costumes threads over the years.

If you decide to see even more of Sleeping Beauty on video there are others you could also consider:

There is the black and white video of Fonteyn. It was filmed for tv, in the late 50s, on a cramped studio and is not complete. Frederick Ashton is Carabosse. Fonteyn was one of the greatest Auroras, radiant with joy, dancing with graceful poetic phrasing, delicate beautiful port de bras, steely balance. Some of it does come through in this film despite the not ideal filming conditions and bad video quality. There is also a video of Fonteyn in the 3rd act from the 60s but it's not as good.

The Lezhina/Ruzhimatov/Kirov is also very good. Lezhnina has incredibly beautiful classical line and was reportedly coached by Kolpakova herself. But she is very young in this video and many would object to Ruzimatov as a classical prince. Lezhnina despite her youth has many memorable moments but I can't help but think how lovely she would have been 10 years after this recording. Most other roles are filled with wonderful soloists. There is also a Kirov recording with Assylmuratova and Zakhlinsky but it's not availlable on DVD(?).

You could also consider the Paris Opera version. Pros: the beautiful Aurelie Dupont and Manuel Legris, both ideal for the roles of Aurora and her prince - hard to think of a better cast in Paris (perhaps Platel would be equally good). Also: sets and costumes that are very easy on the eye. The tutus are gorgeous and beautifully detailed. Cons: Nureyev choreography. This is a big and for many insurmountable disadvantage. Unlike his Bayadere which is quite close to the Kirov production he has messed with the choreography of Belle considerably.

Another notable video is the Sofianne Sylve/Het National Ballet. The production by Peter Wright is very good. Sofianne Sylve is an untraditional Aurora a bit lacking perhaps in grace and delicacy but she brings a modern edge and a delightful athleticism to Aurora.

I did not enjoy the Bolshoi DVD although many people I know did. I felt it is not a ballet for the Bolshoi especially at that particular time in their history but maybe that's a personal prejudice.

In the future, aside from an earlier recording of Kolpakova and the recent Cojocaru one, I'd love to see on DVD the old Gregory/Bujones tv broadcast and not only because of Bujones. The production is better that some recent ones and despite every expectation to the contrary I enjoyed Gregory's precise and secure Aurora very much.

I also hope someone will film Vishneva soon. She's not my ideal Aurora but there is no denying she is one the most exciting current dancers in the role. There is already a La Scala tv broadcast of her but between the Nureyev choreography and her mustard tutu it was kind of a letdown.

Share this post


Link to post

I really enjoy the Kirov 1989 version with Larissa Lezhnina. I think she portrayed the delicate, 16 year old splendidly. It is worth purchasing.

Share this post


Link to post

The Het Nationale version with Sofianne Sylvie was my first buy and i love it. It is a sumptuous production and pays homage to the whole Sun King look. Sofianne is technically sparkly and crisp. But not really a meltingly romantic version.Prince Desire is super, full of powerful grace. It also has some great extras ; Peter Wright and Sofianne documentaries. Plus some nice stuff about showing children how to participate. I then bought the POB version and found it a bit busy although pleasing and the principals are lovely. The Australian Ballet version with Christine Walsh is romantic and sweetly dramatic but some people have criticisms of the technique.

Share this post


Link to post
I really enjoy the Kirov 1989 version with Larissa Lezhnina. I think she portrayed the delicate, 16 year old splendidly. It is worth purchasing.

Totally agree. We discussed this at length on the Larissa Lezhnina thread when I recently discovered it. I love it so much I would easily choose it as one of perhaps two most-required ballet DVD's I've ever seen (the other being perhaps 'Robert Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze' or one of the 'Choreography by Balanchine' DVDs).

Share this post


Link to post
The Het Nationale version with Sofianne Sylvie ... also has some great extras ; Peter Wright and Sofianne documentaries. Plus some nice stuff about showing children how to participate.

I totally agree -- I almost like this DVD more for the extras than for the main production!

Share this post


Link to post

Cubanmiamiboy, I just watched the Het nationale version of 2004 again, prompted by your question, and I do recommend it. Gael lambiotte and Sofianne are really really good and the whole visual presentation is excellent. It also has the mime which I think adds a psychological depth to the ballet. I suggest you try to get a chance to see some of it before you buy. Perhaps a library has a copy? Or sometimes you can get a good idea from watching Youtube.

Share this post


Link to post

Cristian--you should also get An Evening with the Royal Ballet, which has only 'aurora's wedding' act iii on it, but the Marche de Salon and all the Fairy Tale Characters are maybe my favourites I've ever seen. The music is more exuberant and pomplike and you get to see all these old Royal Ballet stars like Antoinette Sibley, Merle Park, Brian Shaw (he does the Bluebird hands the fastest-waviest I know of), and the entrance itself has more energy than even the Kirov and much more than that later Royal Ballet DVD with Viviana Durante. But the whole DVD is gorgeous, and you'd be able to compare the Royal's Sylphides with the cuban Ballet (they're both great as far as I'm concerned) and Nureyev and Fonteyn in 'Le Corsaire' as well as Nureyev especially gorgeous also in 'Sylphides'. I usually don't watch after the Fairy Tale dances in this Act III, not being too crazy about David Blair, but the opening always excites me--and especially after you saw one in which the orchestra wasn't able to get the music right (such that that tiresome critic even called this adorable music 'charmless'. Oh well, we know the papers will hire almost anybody, and probably sometimes they do it for the wrong reasons (whatever they are, they are not very good, most of them). Well, the RB Orchestra even way back in the 60s sounds like pure magic here, and you should get this one as well as the other one I recommended and several others that the others recommended too :angel_not: 'Sleeping Beauty' is always worth everything you spend on it.

And how could I forget? There's this GORGEOUS 'La Valse' of Frederick Ashton with all these 50s sets and ice cream coloured costumes and sexy costumes too. This is like a dream and you should see it if you haven't.

Share this post


Link to post

:)

I raised this similar question when trying to get the best offer on DVD for " La Bayadere", and the BT's advises were very valuable. Now that the ABT is bringing their own version to Miami, i would like to establish some comparisson. My only expossure to the whole "Beauty" is the lovely 1964 Kirov production with Alla Sizova, Yuri Soloviev and the great Mme. Dudinskaya as Carabosse, which i totally adore. I'm a self confessed traditionalist on ballet matters, but as nowadays we have a lot-(well, some more than before)-new releases of ballets on DVD maybe i should update myself a little bit on this work...?

So, my question is: Which other DVD of "Beauty" should i own, besides de Sizova/Soloviev production ?

One of the best DVD'S I have seen is the Paris Opera Version, with Aurelie Dupont and Manuel Legris. The choreography includes two extra Male Solo's, one for the Prince in the Vision Scene, and extra variation in the pas de Cinq in the beginning of the Wedding Scene, a most attractive solo danced by Jean Guillame Bart, to a little known Tchai. movement.The costumes and scenery are equisite, and Aurelie Dupont's amazing techninique stylish presence is wonderful. Legris is as usual brilliant. I would most certainly receommend this Nureyev version.

Share this post


Link to post

I agree that the recent Royal Ballet production with Alina Cojocaru is the one to wait for. Marianela Nunez as the Lilac Fairy is absolutely astounding in her variation. There are bits and pieces of this (Rose Adagio and the Lilac Fairy) on YouTube if you want a preview.

--Andre

Share this post


Link to post

I just watched the Kolpakova SB from 1983 and she's ravishing, beautiful in every way, but I don't find this performance, although Sergeyev too, I believe, anywhere near (for the most part, there are some wonderful things in it, including Hans's favourite Boat Scene) as satisfyiing as the 1989 Maryinsky with Lezhnina. It's not the seamless whole of a performance that that one is. I think this one has Fedotov conducting the Tchaikovsky too, but it's either too plodding or, as in the 3rd Act, plainly neither clean nor sharp, even sloppy. The 1989 has a much more spirited, Olympian authority to it--as if you can't argue with it--but this is nice numbers and scenes that stop and start, they don't flow into each other to make this whole big unified work (at least I feel that way.) The applause is also very noticeably distracting, and should have been edited out, as it really cuts things up. There is great madness in the audience for Yalina Yevtyeyeva (I think that's who it was, but I can't find her in a search here or elsewhere) as Princess Florina, who must be very famous and I'm just discovering her. I still prefer the Marche de Salon in the 3rd Act the very brisk, spirited way the Royal Ballet does it much more than any I've seen elsewhere, but I don't remember how they do it in the 1994 version.

Share this post


Link to post

This is off-topic, but Elena/Yalina Yevteyeva, if I recall correctly, is featured on the "Kirov in London" video dancing the Esmeralda pas de six. She is very good, in my opinion. :yahoo:

Share this post


Link to post

A Sleeping Beauty I don't like is the Bolshoi 1989 performance with Nina Semizorova, Aleksei Fadeyechev, and Nina Speranskaya, recorded on stage and with a live audience. I always find someething to admire and enjoy in a dvd, so it surprised me that I was so annoyed by this one.

The main performances were stiff and artificial for an enormous part of the production. Granted, we're not used to kewpie doll makeup and short, tight curls and wigs. But what surprised me was Semizorova's graceless, somehow insincere Aurora, from the moment she descended the staircase in Act II. She was tight-mouthed in her turns, and then broke out into a large and extraordinarily false smile when the movement was completed. She did her chaine turns with a grim expression, head bent forward, chin pointed downward. Her Rose Adagio was tentative, stiff, and neither regal nor charming. The balances were smilarly stiff ... and brief ... like something of no special importance to be gotten through as quickly as possible.

Fadeyechev jumped and turned beautifully, equally in both directions, and with amazing lightness and reach. He reminded me of Rolando Sarabia this season in Miami. He is a dancer, however, who does not fare well in close-up. Speranskaya's Lilac Fairy was unique in my experience in not standing out among the other Act I fairies. though her dancing deepened and became more impressive in the Vision scene and in the last Act. She was perhaps best standing and gesturing with the Prince during the extensive Panorama scene.

Yuri Vetrov's travesti Carabossse was amusing rather than frightening, but his control of movement and use of posture, gesture, and gait to convey feeling and advance the story were impressive. Maria Bilova's Princess Florine, though far from the best I've seen, made me wish she were doing Aurora (on this dvd at least) and possibly the Lilac Fairy too.

The heavily-made-up young woman playing the Queen looked as if she had been plucked from the selling floor of a 60s designer boutique and given a heavy dose of Valium. A single blank expression covered every development in the plot -- from just staring into space during the court dances to begging her husband to save the lives of a group of peasant women to looking down on the apparently dead body of her only daughter. What were the dvd producers thinking?

After sitting through the entire ballet, I needed something to rebuild my faith in the wondrous, even transcendent qualities of this work. I found what I was looking for in the Act II entrances and the Rose Adagios of Dupont, Durante, Sylve, and (especially) Fonteyn.

Share this post


Link to post
The heavily-made-up young woman playing the Queen looked as if she had been plucked from the selling floor of a 60s designer boutique and given a heavy dose of Valium.

:rofl:

Share this post


Link to post
I just watched the Kolpakova SB from 1983 and she's ravishing, beautiful in every way, but I don't find this performance, although Sergeyev too, I believe, anywhere near (for the most part, there are some wonderful things in it, including Hans's favourite Boat Scene) as satisfyiing as the 1989 Maryinsky with Lezhnina. It's not the seamless whole of a performance that that one is. I think this one has Fedotov conducting the Tchaikovsky too, but it's either too plodding or, as in the 3rd Act, plainly neither clean nor sharp, even sloppy. The 1989 has a much more spirited, Olympian authority to it--as if you can't argue with it--but this is nice numbers and scenes that stop and start, they don't flow into each other to make this whole big unified work (at least I feel that way.) The applause is also very noticeably distracting, and should have been edited out, as it really cuts things up.

The Lezhnina was filmed in Montreal where we don't clap for 5 minutes after every ballerina solo so that may play a part--I haven't seen it (I find it hard to imagine it's better than my beloved Kolpokova DVD) and it's out of print but I am curious why it's listed as so much shorter (just over 2 hours)--maybe those cuts are partly why it's more seamless?

I think I'm alone sometimes in liking that Bolshoi DVD. LOL It's not brilliant, and I agree about the Queen (although I don't agree that Aleksei Fadeyechev suffers from close ups--i find him quite handsome) and some of the dancing, but I find Grigorovich's production endlessly fascinating. It probably helps that I've read his whol book (The Authorised Bolshoi Book no less) on the ballet where he explains all his decisions, what's from petipa, what he feels he added back from the original missing in the Kirov's etc--even if I don't agree with the book's claim that it's the best Sleeping Beauty ever--it's far from it and pales next to the Kirov's, the company that was meant to dance it. Still I find it, as a production and on the DVD, a fascinating take on the ballet with a lot to please me (also keep in mind I kinda like the funny wigs, etc, for the old Russian ballets as they feel "rigth" to me)

Share this post


Link to post

"I also hope someone will film Vishneva soon. She's not my ideal Aurora but there is no denying she is one the most exciting current dancers in the role. There is already a La Scala tv broadcast of her but between the Nureyev choreography and her mustard tutu it was kind of a letdown."

I went to the library to watch this version of SB on Saturday. I enjoyed much of it (or at least, the parts that I could see on the blurry video), but was underwhelmed by parts. I was interested in seeing Vishneva, particularly after reading so much about her in the discussions about the M-K at the Kennedy Center on this board recently. I must be missing something, maybe because I do not have the education or background to analyze the issue properly, but would someone please point out what about her performances distinguishes her as a ballerina?

Also, is choreography by Nuryev always so busy? Do all versions of SB emphasize groups of five and standing in fifth position?

I would like to obtain a copy of this version of the ballet, to watch again, but in light of the no trading policy on this board, can someone please provide me with some advice in this regard? Sitting in the library, finding time to go to Manhattan, paying for parking near Lincoln Center, not being able to exercise while watching the tape, are all hardships that I wish to avoid. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post

Also, is choreography by Nuryev always so busy? Do all versions of SB emphasize groups of five and standing in fifth position?

Yes. No.

I would like to obtain a copy of this version of the ballet, to watch again, but in light of the no trading policy on this board, can someone please provide me with some advice in this regard? Sitting in the library, finding time to go to Manhattan, paying for parking near Lincoln Center, not being able to exercise while watching the tape, are all hardships that I wish to avoid. Thank you.

Since there is no commercial release of this video, the only answers that do not violate our tape-trading policy are:

1. There is a library or org closer to puppytreats than Manhattan, and since puppytreats' profile city is "New York" -- it's perfectly legit to note the closest city in the profile -- there's not much we can suggest without knowing where closer is.

2. There is a way to borrow the tape from an organization or library to watch it at home

3. It will be shown on TV in the NYC area and can be taped/PVR'ed

We all want to avoid more commuting, however, asking for a tape trade through the back door by setting conditions where there is less than 1% chance of fulfilling them without a tape trade is not kosher.

Share this post


Link to post

Helene, I presume that sometimes things that are not "commercially" available are still possible to obtain through other means, for instance, a limited license, a negotiated individualized contract, private borrowing, or gifting. My post suggested maybe someone had a copy from viewing on TV, but did not want or need it anymore (is that a trade?), or had negotiated or spoken with the Nuryev Foundation (or other private group)or RAI and could provide advice on how to proceed with such an endeavor.

Share this post


Link to post

A legitimate educational resource that should be available across the country: college and university libraries, especially campuses with good dance departments. I know my nearby Cal State campus library has an extensive collection of tapes from the Balanchine Foundation that have never been released commercially, along with lots of other goodies. They are granted to the libraries under very restrictive conditions for educational purposes only. That means, e.g., that you can usually only view them at the library, with limited check-out (1-3 hours, e.g.), or in (in-person) classrooms. But that's a lot cheaper than a trip to New York and the collection at the Performing Arts Library.

In at least some states, members of the public are entitled to use the libraries of state colleges and universities (California, e.g.) and I understand that Colorado has a law that all residents of the state are entitled to use any public library. You might need to first register, show ID, and in some states pay an annual fee ($25 is what I remember hearing for California, although perhaps that has gone up).

The on-line catalogs for these libraries are typically open to anyone with internet access, so you can search that way to see what neighboring campuses have available.

Share this post


Link to post