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Japanese Raymonda on DVDstarring Zakharova

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#16 naomikage


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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:13 AM

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.

#17 EvilNinjaX


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Posted 28 May 2009 - 01:40 PM

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.


#18 Natalia


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Posted 30 May 2009 - 04:22 AM

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.

#19 James



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Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:06 AM

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:

#20 Helene



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Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:40 AM

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.

#21 Natalia


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Posted 30 May 2009 - 12:10 PM

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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