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raymonda DVDwhich?


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#1 whetherwax

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 06:34 PM

Could people give me some advice about the three DVDs of Raymonda on offer via Amazon?
Kolpakova, Bessmertnova and Semmenyaka. I have never seen this ballet so I would like one that gives pleasure as well as being a learning exercise. I have looked on you tube of course but it is often rather dim and one cant tell if everything is included.

#2 Helene

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 08:41 PM

I found some links to reviews and discussions on the three versions, but it would be great if more people weighed in:

Kirov:
Natalia, EAW, atm711, Cygnet, and I weighed in on this thread (scroll down for reviews vs. delivery schedule :))

http://ballettalk.in...p...monda&st=15

Bolshoi:
http://ballettalk.in...p...st&p=162457
http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=20488
http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=20437

Two words for either Bolshoi version: Gedeminas Taranda

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 09:22 PM

Oh, for sure i would be reticent of giving the crowning title to no other than divine Bessmertnova. :) She is MAGNIFICENT.

#4 volcanohunter

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 10:09 PM

I am partial to Semenyaka, who is equally wonderful in each variation, and whose Act 3 variation is particularly gorgeous. I'm not especially crazy about Mukhamedov, but as Helene said, the best thing about the Bolshoi videos is Gedeminas Taranda, channeling Douglas Fairbanks for all he's worth. In terms of picture quality and maneuverability, the DVD isn't great, but the performances make up for it.

#5 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 11:51 PM

As said, these are two different productions and quite different in spirit. The DVD with Kirov/Kolpakova is the Konstantin Sergeyev production; both the Bolshoi DVDs are the Yuri Grigorovich staging, grander in scale, differences in storyline, and with the character of Abderakhman considerably developed (as said by Helene a starry role for Taranda). I always had a soft spot for the old Kolpakova film, firstly because of her, but also because of having a performance of the great Kirov of olden times - something quite different from what we can see now. In this way it ranks with the old Bayadère performance with Komleva and Terekhova, or the Sleeping Beauty with Kolpakova.

#6 Helene

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:20 AM

As much as I love Taranda -- and I have all three DVD's, so luckily, the only thing I have to choose is the sequence in which I watch them -- the Kirov version with Kolpakova is my favorite ballet DVD. The dream sequence is sublime, as is Kolpakova.

#7 Hans

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 03:21 AM

Another vote for Kolpakova here. :)

#8 Cygnet

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 10:26 AM

As said, these are two different productions and quite different in spirit. The DVD with Kirov/Kolpakova is the Konstantin Sergeyev production; both the Bolshoi DVDs are the Yuri Grigorovich staging, grander in scale, differences in storyline, and with the character of Abderakhman considerably developed (as said by Helene a starry role for Taranda). I always had a soft spot for the old Kolpakova film, firstly because of her, but also because of having a performance of the great Kirov of olden times - something quite different from what we can see now. In this way it ranks with the old Bayadère performance with Komleva and Terekhova, or the Sleeping Beauty with Kolpakova.


I totally agree. Taranda was awesome; simply devastating on both Bolshoi tapes. Also, one can clearly see the stylistic difference in both institutions' approach to character dancing. IMO, the attention to detail, and aristocratic style in the Mazurka and Czardas on Kolpakova's tape are unsurpassed. Exemplary, but then again they did it first :D. If you want super-size, uninhibited character dancing, (Moscow style), that's on the Bolshoi tapes. For example, on the soundtrack of Bessmertnova's tape, during the presto in the Czardas, someone (onstage, or close to a mike) whistles :lol: . Sometimes in Russia, (during a Russian folk dance), one hear's this sound effect: Obviously, they enjoyed dancing this piece very much :).

#9 Paul Parish

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 10:52 AM

I haven't seen Kolpakova's, but of the other two, I prefer Semenyaka's -- though the lighting is dark, and there's something deadening about the filming.

It does look like a vision start to finish - the court dances are so stately, they look like chess-pieces moving by magic -- all the court-dances are wonderful, especially love the pas de quatre where all four hold hands and do intricate pas de bourrees.

Taranda is indeed a sensation: preening macho thug; it's simultaneously tremendous technique, great acting, and psychologically astute. Sexy he is, but no-one in their right mind would really WANT him. There's no possibility of relationship.

Semenyaka is beautiful in every variation, especially the one with the scarf, and in the grand Hongroise pas, she's wonderfully gracious: the trajectory of her arms from the hand clap to a la seconde is a thing of unparallelled majesty -- the rotation in the shoulders that brings them from parallel into turnout just blows my mind, it's so beautiful. I've never seen any other dancer make me feel the action like this.

On the other hand, Plisetskaya's attack and follow-through is the greatest thing ever, shown here: . This is just a clip of a dance seen through a pearly haze, but I think it's glorious, and even MORE a vision. I'd buy it if the Bolshoi would re-issue the whole thing.

#10 whetherwax

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 02:49 PM

Thank you all, how wonderful it is to be able to access all your experiences via this site!!. After a good rummage in the recommended sites listed by Helene I have ordered the Bessmertnova. But it seems in time I may have to model myself on Helene and buy all three!

#11 Helene

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 05:28 AM

Sexy he is, but no-one in their right mind would really WANT him. There's no possibility of relationship.

I beg your pardon :)

#12 bart

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 06:53 AM

Taranda's a natural --a real stage animal. I agree that Mukhamedov is something of a puzzle in this. He seems restrained. Maybe I was expecting Spartacus, des Grieux or Rudolph???

I've only seen the Bolshoi/Semenyaka version in full, so I'd like to ask a set of questions for those who've seen several, if I may.

Which version makes most sense of the complicated story? Which has the greatest dramatic coherence and power, separate from the stand-out dance elements? And which succeeds best with the White Lady. She's obviously supposed to be a very significant figure, but often comes across -- as I believe she does in the Semenyaka version -- is a kind of loony and embarrassing relative a la Gorey who escapes periodically from her bed room and wanders the hallways in her nighty.

Also: I seem to remember a video (or tv broadcast) of ABT with Cynthia Gregory. Probably in the 70s. Is this possible?

P.S.: Based on your recommendations, and the YouTube video that begins with Raymonda playing the lute, I'll be ordering the Kolpakova version. She's simply stunning and graceful (quietly so) beyond belief. I also like the way everyone on stage moves so attentively along with the music and the mood. As Raymonda plays, a court lady to her right responds to the music with a simple, slow movement of the arm that suggests that she is deeply touched and in a kind of revery about something from her own romantic past.

#13 Hans

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 07:19 AM

I have both the Semenyaka and Kolpakova discs, and I think the Kolpakova version is more coherent, but to be honest I am not entirely convinced that this ballet ever made much sense. Maybe I have grown too used to 19C plot devices, or maybe it's the mix of fantasy and reality that throws me off, or maybe it's the lack of mime connecting events, but it seems as if things happen solely as an excuse for divertissements. Start with a court scene, dance a waltz, variations, and coda. Continue with a dream scene with more for the corps and an adagio. Bring back Abderakham for a pas de deux à trois, then splice in a deus ex machina ending so that you can have--surprise!--a wedding celebration with divertissements. The dancing is all very well choreographed, so the ballet is a delight to watch regardless, but dramatically...well, it's no Sleeping Beauty or Giselle.

#14 Paul Parish

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 04:15 PM

O GO for it Helene, but you'll be sorry.

#15 Sacto1654

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 08:49 PM

I totally agree. Taranda was awesome; simply devastating on both Bolshoi tapes. Also, one can clearly see the stylistic difference in both institutions' approach to character dancing. IMO, the attention to detail, and aristocratic style in the Mazurka and Czardas on Kolpakova's tape are unsurpassed. Exemplary, but then again they did it first :D. If you want super-size, uninhibited character dancing, (Moscow style), that's on the Bolshoi tapes. For example, on the soundtrack of Bessmertnova's tape, during the presto in the Czardas, someone (onstage, or close to a mike) whistles :dunno: . Sometimes in Russia, (during a Russian folk dance), one hear's this sound effect: Obviously, they enjoyed dancing this piece very much :).


I have the Semenyaka version on DVD (Kultur D1170) and I do agree that Taranda did a great job "hamming it up" as Abderakhman. :off topic:

By the way, you can tell the big difference between the Kirov/Mariinsky and Bolshoi troupes: the former emphasizes technical excellence, while the latter emphasizes on-stage acting excellence. (In the case of the Bolshoi, it must be the influence of the late Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya, both of which were legendary for their very strong acting presence on-stage.)


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