Natalia

Japanese Raymonda on DVD

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Amazon-Japan has just listed two intriguing new ballet DVDs ("DVD-ROMs"?) with Tokyo's New National Theater Ballet -- the troupe that caused such a sensation a year ago in Washington, DC. The DVDs appear to be of their producitons of SWAN LAKE and Asami Maki's version of RAYMONDA. I am particularly interested in the RAYMONDA:

http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%83%A9%E3%82%A4...pd_bxgy_b_img_b

...and here is the SWAN LAKE:

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4418090...;pf_rd_i=489986

Could somebody who is fluent in Japanese please help us with a few details? I've ordered many things from amazon.co.jp before but am not sure if this "DVD ROM" or "DVD Book" is the same thing as a DVD. Does it include a complete performance of the ballet or is it just highlights and/or a teaching guide of some sort?

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Could somebody who is fluent in Japanese please help us with a few details? I've ordered many things from amazon.co.jp before but am not sure if this "DVD ROM" or "DVD Book" is the same thing as a DVD. Does it include a complete performance of the ballet or is it just highlights and/or a teaching guide of some sort?

Natalia,

I have mentioned a couple of months before about this DVD, and it has just arrived.

This Raymonda and Swan Lake are both full performances of the whole ballet, with some extra clips such as reheasal and behind the scenes, and an interview of Svetlana Zakharova, along with some clips of PDDs from Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty of the New National Theater.

The DVD-Book term means that this DVD is published by a bookseller so it is a DVD with an illustrious book with the synopsis (in Japanese) and photographs of the performance.

If you want to see Zakharova's Raymonda, this is a good choice I think.

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Many thanks for this, Naomikage. This sounds wonderful!

One more thing: Could you please mention who dances Jean de Briene in the Raymonda and who are the leads of the Swan Lake? Sorry that I forgot your earlier post. Thanks again.

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Natalia,

You don't have to apologize!

Jean de Brienne is danced by Denis Matvienko, and the leads in Swan Lake are Hana Sakai and Ryuji Yamamoto.

And the conductor of Raymonda is Ormsby Wilkins, from ABT.

I saw the DVD of Raymonda right now and I think it is a very good one. I saw the actual performance filmed anyway. Maybe the filming is not too good enough (because when it was shot it was not intened for commercial release) but it is enough to capture the beauty of Zakharova.

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Naomikage,

I was interested when you said that the film was not intended for commercial release. Can you explain more? I am a producer of ballet programmes and so I am always interested in how these projects happen!

May I also ask you, have the DVDs been released by the New National Theatre itself? And have these ballets been shown on Japanese television?

Sorry for so many questions!

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Naomikage,

I was interested when you said that the film was not intended for commercial release. Can you explain more? I am a producer of ballet programmes and so I am always interested in how these projects happen!

May I also ask you, have the DVDs been released by the New National Theatre itself? And have these ballets been shown on Japanese television?

Sorry for so many questions!

So New National Ballet Tokyo has been filming most of the performances and those recordings are in the archive of the opera house, so you can see almost all of the previous performances if you go there. There are some which are quite valuable.

This Raymonda release was one of those recordings, but luckily this recording was commercially released after it has been filmed.

This is the first release of the DVDs of this theatre, and if this sells well, I think there will be more to follow.

And there are some footage of full performances that has been broadcasted on Japanese television, such as Sleeping Beauty by Miyako Yoshida and Tetsuya Kumakawa, Paquita by Vishneva and Kolb, Don Quixote by Zakharova and Uvarov, and La Bayadere by Zakharova and Matvienko. I wish those broadcasts be commercially released too.

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Thank you once again, Naomikage. I made of point of going to those archives during my trip to Tokyo back in '07 to see the ultra-rare film of Daria Pavlenko as Raymonda. Ditto the film of Vishneva/Kolb's Paquita, which was extraordinary, not to mention the first-rate NNTB corps de ballet and soloists.

The Swan Lake offered here will be a precious record of Sakai & Yamamoto, who I fondly remember in Orfeo & Euridice from that trip.

In short, this is all great news.

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How interesting. Japanese TV is one of the few broadcasters still committed to showing ballet. You are lucky!

Thanks for the links to the DVDs, I'd like to order them, could I just ask you one more question - are they Region 2?

thanks naomikage!

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How interesting. Japanese TV is one of the few broadcasters still committed to showing ballet. You are lucky!

Thanks for the links to the DVDs, I'd like to order them, could I just ask you one more question - are they Region 2?

thanks naomikage!

These DVDs are region 2. NTSC format.

And Natalia, a clip of Orfeo & Euridice by Sakai and Yamamoto is included as a bonus to the Swan Lake DVD. Other bonuses for SL are,

Don Quixote by Hiromi Terashima and Naoya Kojima

Sleeping Beauty Aurora variation by Maki Kawamura

Carmen by Miwa Motojima

(42 minutes)

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....And Natalia, a clip of Orfeo & Euridice by Sakai and Yamamoto is included as a bonus to the Swan Lake DVD. ....

Whoa! It's a win-win situation, naomikage. I've already ordered both, along with latest DanceMagazine.

Luckily, I bought all-regions equipment when I was living overseas. It's common with the diplomatic/overseas-contractor community because we can be moved around the world for our work.

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All-region DVD-plYwrs are my favorite recreational invention.

Many thanks, naomikage, for all of this essential information :D

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Fingers crossed on my order. The price wasn't as much as I feared. Yes, multi-system DVD and VHS players are fantastic.

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I saw the DVD of Raymonda right now and I think it is a very good one. I saw the actual performance filmed anyway. Maybe the filming is not too good enough (because when it was shot it was not intened for commercial release) but it is enough to capture the beauty of Zakharova.

Hi naomikage,

While I wait for my order of DVDs to arrive from Japan, I am interested why you say the filming is maybe not good enough.... what do you feel the director did wrong? I'm always interested to hear opinions of ballet fans on why films are good / not so good!

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While we await naomikage's answer to your question, 3minuteswest, I can take a guess from the archival films that I saw at the New National Theater's library during my visit two years ago. They are FINE for a 'house cam' filming that was not originally intended to be released commercially. For example, the Daria Pavlenko film of this RAYMONDA employed three or four sharp (if not high-def) cameras at different distances. It appeared to be a well-edited film, with close-ups or wide-angle view at appropriate times. The angles were not as 'funky' (weird side-box positions) as what we saw with PBS and the NYCB R+J last week.

Amazon.com.jp orders reach me faster than do the orders from any other amazon on earth - they are always Int'l Air Express, within 2-3 working days of the order. [OK - It helps that I live in Washington, DC, close to a major int'l airport serviced by ANA with daily non-stop flights to/from Tokyo. Still...it is fast.]

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Thanks for the insight Natalia! Three or four cameras is pretty good for in-house filming.

Probaby the PBS funky camera positions were forced upon them - if it was filmed during a live performance, it's always difficult to get theatres to give up good seats for the cameras!

(You're lucky - ordering anything from the Netherlands takes forever - I recently ordered something from Japan, it reached Amsterdam within 4 days but has been in customs for 2 weeks now - I wonder if I will ever see it!)

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Hi naomikage,

While I wait for my order of DVDs to arrive from Japan, I am interested why you say the filming is maybe not good enough.... what do you feel the director did wrong? I'm always interested to hear opinions of ballet fans on why films are good / not so good!

The biggest problem of this DVD is the quality of the filming. I think 3 or four cameras were used in this filming and the camerawork is not so bad. Although it seems that there are some shots too distant, no irritating cutbacks and the directing is good. I have seen the acutual performance and saw the cameras filming this and it was not a HD camera. The format is 4:3 (oh no!) and the film does not look clear enough for ones accustomed to nowadays High-Vision beautifully filmed ballet DVDs.

As some of those in this forum might know, Japan is quite a big market for ballet and some ballet DVDs are distributed only in Japan. For instance, there is a documentary DVD of John Neumeier with many rare footage of his works at the Hamburg ballet which was broardcasted on TV and recently distributed. Also, there are some 'Variation lesson' DVDs by Uliana Lopatkina, Diana Vishneva, Vikltoria Tereshikina, Alina Somova, Evgenia Obraszova and Oleshia Novikova. (Natalia has reviewed some of them). Also a full Giselle DVD by Malakhov and Vishneva with the Tokyo Ballet.

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While we await naomikage's answer to your question, 3minuteswest, I can take a guess from the archival films that I saw at the New National Theater's library during my visit two years ago. They are FINE for a 'house cam' filming that was not originally intended to be released commercially. For example, the Daria Pavlenko film of this RAYMONDA employed three or four sharp (if not high-def) cameras at different distances. It appeared to be a well-edited film, with close-ups or wide-angle view at appropriate times. The angles were not as 'funky' (weird side-box positions) as what we saw with PBS and the NYCB R+J last week.

Amazon.com.jp orders reach me faster than do the orders from any other amazon on earth - they are always Int'l Air Express, within 2-3 working days of the order. [OK - It helps that I live in Washington, DC, close to a major int'l airport serviced by ANA with daily non-stop flights to/from Tokyo. Still...it is fast.]

Yes, but of course, you pay for that speed from Amazon/FedEx. I think it's normally about 4800JPY? I always order my J-DVDs in groups of 7-10 to save on that shipping, but it is really nice to get the DVDs in a couple of days.

I think the quality of the video is adequate, but is a bit disappointing. The colors are muted, the image is soft (even for a SD-DVD). On theplus side, the bitrate is very high and so artifacts are minimal.

I havent' watched all of it, but watched parts here adn there, i am not bothered too much by camera work and editing.

I DO like the packaging. This is what is called "Value adding"! :) The book format with inset DVD is very nice and makes a really nice bookshelf presentation. At the same time i bought the first of the new "series" of DVDBooks with the Makhalina/Zelensky Swan Lake. It is also quite nice to have and i am end up with a few of the following ones, though i'mnot sure about double-dipping.. Fortunatley i did not already have this Kirov Swan Lake R1 DVD.

-goro-

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I rec'vd mine and am delighted with both. The image is quite sharp, camerawork/editing nicely basic (not like PBS NYCB-R+J) and I much prefer the 4:3 ratio which fills my big Sony Trinitron screen. The extras are a delight, such as the backstage tour of the NNT-Tokyo. It's amazing that the Raymonda was just filmed 3 months ago and it is already out. Zakharova was gorgeous as ever -- maturity becomes her, hourgrass figure and all! :angel_not: Matvienko was sharper here than on tour in DC, a year ago. Likewise, Hana Sakai is outstanding in the Swan Lake. Fabulous soloists and corps in both productions. Beautiful sets/costumes.

Most of the NNTB's classical productions are based on the Kirov-Mariinsky's 'Soviet' versions, Raymonda and SL no exception.

Among the extras, I am so grateful for the two clips from Dominic Walsh's Orfeo & Euridice, starring Sakai/Yamamoto. This includes one of my favorite scenes from when I saw it live...bedroom awaking to music that Balanchine used in Chaconne. In fact, the film is of the exact show that I attended on March 24, '07. Any chance that the entire ballet will some day be released? It is a rare, romantic and clever full-evening modern ballet.

The quality, book-packaging and speed (release date) of these DVDs truly puts the West -- especially the USA -- to shame. ABT and NYCB -- especially NYCB -- should get off their high horses and begin to market themselves like this if they want long-term survival.

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hourgrass figure and all!

I guess you mean that with time she's turned into a beautiful plant, in full bloom and all... :angel_not:

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Yes, but of course, you pay for that speed from Amazon/FedEx. I think it's normally about 4800JPY? I always order my J-DVDs in groups of 7-10 to save on that shipping, but it is really nice to get the DVDs in a couple of days.

My order with 4 DVDs cost 3900 JPY to ship. Pricey, needless to say, with the USD losing strength every second, but it's my once-a-year splurge.

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James, it's either that or Zakharova has been seriously working out to broaden her shoulders, upper arms, etc. She looks healthy and more beautiful than ever.

I had forgotten to add: The best surprise of this Raymonda DVD is that Asami Maki has restored the full Act2 Grand Pas Classique (pas de 6 with Abderakhman) that had been pared down for the 2008 Kennedy Center run here in DC. Back then, I had been 'upset' by the excision of the solos for Clemence & Henriette, by the Coda preceding the Adagio, etc. Now the entire Petipa masterpiece can be seen just as Petipa had intended it to be danced. Bravo! On the other hand, Maki's own A3 adagio for Raymonda & Jean -- within the Hungarian Grand Pas -- seen at the Kennedy Center is missing on this DVD, perhaps because the tricky lifts and flips are difficult when the Raymonda is as tall as Zakharova. When we saw it in DC, Matvienko partnered the more petite Hiromi Terashima.

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