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New Royal Ballet 'Swan Lake' DVD available Tuesday Sept 1RB Swan Lake with Marianela Nunez as Odette-Odile


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#1 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 08:35 AM

Just to mention (for those who do not already know) that the new Royal Ballet 'Swan Lake' DVD is released on OpusArte Tuesday, 1st September. It's available for order now. Here are the details:

http://www.opusarte....p?ProductID=290

Marianela Nunez dances Odette-Odile and Thiago Soares is Sigfried. This is the Anthony Dowell production, which has not the most beautiful costumes and rather cluttered sets by Yolanda Sonnabend. However, the production has (in my opinion) many good points also, the inclusion of the mime scene by the lakeside in Act II and the 'original tragic ending'.

Choreographically, it includes some parts by Ashton which don't appear in other productions - most noticably, his choreography for the Neapolitan Dance but I'm sure some other bits also.

This performance was filmed in the March performances, which I did not see, so I cannot comment about it first hand. I saw Marianela Nunez as Odette-Odile in October however, and she did a really 'assoluta' performance then I think, technically flawless, very tragic and dramatic, very beautiful. She has been wonderful last season and I heard great reports from the March performances, so it should be worth buying the DVD for Nunez's performance alone. Soares, technically is not as clean as his partner, but dramatically he gives it everything and I found his Sigfried a very sympathetic portrayal.
The RB corps have also been in great form this season (bar the odd 'off' performance at the end of long runs!) and the soloists were almost all very good in Swan Lake during that run; I don't know who dances the solos in that performance, although I don't know specifically who dances.

There's also an interview with Anthony Dowell, and 30 minutes conversation with Dame Beryl Grey, Dame Monica Mason, Lesley Collier and Nuñez about the role of Odette-Odile. Should be interesting!

#2 sejacko

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 11:16 AM

For those with Blu-ray players, Amazon has it listed for only £17.59 (RRP £30) -- I have a feeling it's a mistake, as they don't seem to have the normal DVD listed at all, and this was probably meant to be their DVD price. Or maybe it's just an amazing pre-order-only price. :)

#3 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 12:18 PM

Incidentally, here is a trailer for it, which was made for the cinema release in May:



Just for a taster of what it will be like!

#4 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 12:19 PM

Have to confess, the slo-motion doesn't really do Soares any favors :wallbash:

#5 volcanohunter

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 10:20 AM

The North American release date is October 27. Amazon is now taking orders for the DVD and Blu-Ray.

#6 afds

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 02:28 AM

It's available from hmv.com for 15.99 GBP plus shipping. The interview with the four Swan Queens is especially interesting, and Nunez's performance is spectacular. IMO Soares' Siegfried is a little OTT, with a fixed besotted expression, but overall this is a must-have.

#7 EvilNinjaX

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 03:32 PM

It's available from hmv.com for 15.99 GBP plus shipping. The interview with the four Swan Queens is especially interesting, and Nunez's performance is spectacular. IMO Soares' Siegfried is a little OTT, with a fixed besotted expression, but overall this is a must-have.


I've just received my bluray disc and watched large parts of it (Black Swan, White Swan, PD3, Neapolitan, etc) on the big tv. It's quite a disc. I particularly liked Nunez in Black Swan. So often, i see a Black Swan performance and Odile is just nasty and unpleasant and i have no idea how the prince could be interested in her. Nunez makes this a very sultry, sensual, BEAUTIFUL woman who oozes this seductive energy. She has this beautiful big smile at times that isn't that often-used venomous smile. It's a softer and less harsh interpretation and i really loved it. And she uses her eyes in an almost Fonteyn fashion.

The white swan was quite nice, but i felt it a bit heavy (emotionally) and felt a touch plodding. It was quite touching and dramatic, though, and it was very easy to get pulled into the moment.

Soares just doesn't do it for me. I just get frustrated watching him and close ups where his facial expressions are notable left me quite cold. Which brings up the matter of camera work. Typical i guess, but still frustrating. To cut away to Von Rothbart's face during Black Swan pdd was irritating for example.

Yuhui Choe dance in the pd3 and I absolutely love her. Even watching her do very simple things makes me smile. And did quite enjoy the pd3. Laura Morera i believe was the other girl in the pd3 and I'm not sure who the man was (i believe he was in the BBC documentary about the Royal Ballet and its school). I always look forward to the pd3 and this was a good one.

I thought the production was somewhat interesting, but didn't feel like making Siegfried a military officer added anything at all.

sound is excellent. PCM 5.1 sounds beautiful.

This is my 3rd Royal Ballet Bluray (Sleeping Beauty, Giselle the other) and they have all been excellent audio-wise. I originally said both video and audio. There are some artifacting issues with these discs. The backdrops are particularly difficult on the format and these flat blacks (Giselle) and dark blue/purple (Beauty) play havoc with the codecs. It is particularly noticeable sometimes.

And 1 minor BluRay note: sometimes this high-res shows you too much and destroys the illusion. In Beauty, in th ePrologue when the camera shows the King and Queen, you can clearly see that the baby is a doll. In Giselle act 1, when Kobborg comes out, you can clearly see the sweat collecting on Cojocaru's brow. etc. etc. Minor quibble, but interesting...

#8 canbelto

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 09:33 AM

I also got the blu-ray dvd. I have to say that I found the scenery for this Swan Lake to be absolutely awful. Act 1 is ok, although I dislike the updating to "Imperial Russia." But it had a kind of nice opulence. The beautiful "white" acts were what I couldn't accept. Instead of a lake, moon, and rocks we got what seems to be a completely black stagedrop with shiny spiral staircases. Act 3 reminds me of some "haunted house" Halloween special, complete with two huge candelabras, some vague cobweb-like stage frames and a gaggle of "witches" that accompany Odile's entrance. The character of all the national dances was ruined by the fact that all the women were dressed like they were again, at a fancy Halloween party/masked ball.

What I did love about this production was the choreography, especially the preserved 1895 Ivanov choreography of the white actws. I loved the children that surround Odette in Act 2, and the swans miming Odette's tears at the beginning of Act 4. I also loved when the black and white swans link arms and dance together, as if they were collectively in mourning. I liked the feathery, longer tutus of the swan corps. They swished and swayed a lot like Ginger Rogers' famous "feathers" dress in Top Hat, which gave their movements a sense of lightness and grace. I also like how their longer, more feathery tutus contrasted with Odette's shorter tutu. It symbolizes a sort of hierarchy. Odette is Swan Queen. I'm disappointed that some of Ashton's interpolations are gone, like the pas de quatre, and his solo for Siegfried.

I also thought Nunez's O/O was a great success. She has the tall stature and long lines that seem to be so important nowadays when directors cast O/O, but I love her warmth as a dancer. I also love how she doesn't for a minute act like a grande tragedienne. She makes Swan Lake a very human drama. I loved how she was capable of the grand gesture, like her sweeping attitudes in the pas de deux, but her scissones in Odette's variation had a wonderful lightness. I didn't love Thiago Soares' Siegfried. I thought he was inoffensive enough if you accept that Siegfried should just be a cavalier who supports Odette, but his variations were unremarkable, and I thought he had little chemistry with Nunez, despite my understanding that they are married offstage.

Overall though for the little moments that almost all other productions delete, like the swans' mime in Act 4, this dvd is worth it.

#9 Nanarina

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 08:09 AM

:thanks: I was contemplating getting a copy of this production, but my set up will not play Blue Ray, although my TV is HD Ready, it plays the ordinary HD Recordings very well. But to date there does not seem to be one available yet. However, I am really unsure of wether to spend my money or not. If it is anything like the Royal Ballet Sleeping Beauty recent DVD I will probably not, or if I do just to watch the dancers and scenery and costumes. I hope it is considerbly better filmed thsn SB, and the lighting and camera work superior. I was so disapointed that SB filming was see the feet cut off of the dancerfs, from many different camera angles, even when it was not in close up,

I did actually telephone Opus Arte to complain, but as they are only the distributors they have no control over the direction or camera crew. But after checking the film, they agreed with my point of view. Informing me it was the responsibility of the Opera House or the BBC who had qommisioned the production. And suggested I wrote to either body.But I have not done so as yet.


By the way the designer Yvonne Sonibend was quite a nightmare to work with, as nshe lacked the knowledge of what is needed to design costumes for ballet. Her idea's were totally inpracticable when I was involved with her designs (I think they were for The Invitation ?) . So I am not surprised at what has been said about the version of Swan Lake.

#10 atm711

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 09:08 AM

The production was 'Halloween-ish'--a very apt description. I put it in the same category as the disastrous RB Sleeping Beauty by Maria Bjornson. In both productions, the scenery ate-up the dancers. The Prince's 'friends' were the raunchiest I have seen and I found the drunken tutors leering interest in the two sub-teen girls offensive. What were they thinking when this was put in?---are we supposed to think it was 'cute'? The many swans on the stage during the solemnity of the Act 2 adagio robbed it of its intimacy for me. They were posing and moving all around the stage, when they should have been still---which they did during the pas de quatre---go figure! I have great admiration for Nunezes solid technique--her langorous turns in attitude during her Act 2 variation and the slow renverses in her Act 3 variation and I commend Soares on lifting her high over his head in the Act 3 pdd. She held a very long balance in arabesque in Act 3, but she should have let it go after the first wobble and not wait for 3 or 4 more. (a pet peeve of mine for any ballerina---let it go after the first wobble!)

The bonus feature by Beryl Grey, Monica Mason, Lesley Collier and Nunez made it all worthwhile. I particularly enjoyed the candid comments by Mason. It was a pleasure to see Beryl Grey--I saw her Swan Queen those many years ago on the first visit to my shores of the Sadler's Wells Ballet. At the time, I was more impressed with her Odette than Fonteyn's. Her height was unique at the time and it was unusual to see such a long-limbed dancer. (she was a marvelous Lilac Fairy and had a natural warmth) We had long-limbed Diana Adams but she did not have ballerina status at the time.

#11 volcanohunter

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 12:08 AM

Having just watched it, I'm astounded that this production had some sort of reputation for authenticity. Underage swans in the lakeside scenes make for an authentic production?

I liked Nuñez, Yuhui Choe and Steven McRae in the pas de trois, and even David Bintley's first-act waltz, but that's about it. The biggest liabilities are Soares and the hideous sets. The corps was distressingly ragged, as it was in the recent film of La Bayadère. I enjoyed listening to Monica Mason's comments in the bonus feature, but what I really wanted to do was to step into the screen and ask her what's become of the Royal Ballet's corps de ballet.

A terrific Swan Lake on video is proving to be almost as elusive as the Holy Grail.

#12 leonid17

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 01:44 AM

By the way the designer Yvonne Sonibend was quite a nightmare to work with, as nshe lacked the knowledge of what is needed to design costumes for ballet. Her idea's were totally inpracticable when I was involved with her designs (I think they were for The Invitation ?) . So I am not surprised at what has been said about the version of Swan Lake.


Yolande Sonnabend was not responsible for the designs for "The Invitation", it was Nicholas Georgiadis.

A background look at Sonnabend's designs for "Swan Lake" can be found at: http://www.rohedswan...story.asp?id=30

I personally cannot see the ballet through the designs and have stopped watching the production.

#13 canbelto

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 05:39 AM

Underage swans in the lakeside scenes make for an authentic production?


In the original 1895 production part of the swan corps de ballet included children. It also includes a lot of the original mime, and the fourth act follows the notation of the 1895 original as well.

#14 volcanohunter

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 04:31 PM

Underage swans in the lakeside scenes make for an authentic production?


In the original 1895 production part of the swan corps de ballet included children. It also includes a lot of the original mime, and the fourth act follows the notation of the 1895 original as well.

Unfortunately, given that the first act has been almost completely rechoreographed, that there are no huntsmen standing alongside the swans in the second act, that the adagio is a pas de deux without Benno, and, for that matter, that Ashton's Neapolitan dance has been retained, this production probably discards as much of the original as it restores.

#15 Rosa

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 04:53 PM

The Royal Ballet's Swan Lake is a pretty traditional production, set in Imperial Russia with the story taking place on Halloween Eve and Halloween Night -- the only explanation for the bizarre mix of mostly lovely costumes and ghastly sets. Watching this DVD, I was reminded of the ABT production which almost undermined the ballet and was only saved by Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes's inspiring performances last year. Marianela Nuñez and Thiago Soares weren’t quite able to overcome the shortcomings of Dowell's production IMO.

The chorography was one of the best things about this performance. I really enjoyed the corps de ballet in Act I (David Bintley's waltz was quite impressive) and Act IV. The pas de trois was wonderful; Yuhui Choe enchanting.

Soares's technique left a little to be desired, yet he made up for it with great acting and partnering. There were moments during the PDT (danced before Siegfried's mother interrupts the celebration in this version) when Siegfried seemed miles away. Perhaps he was already being summoned to the lake...his fate? After being told he must marry, he turned away from his friends wanting to congratulate him, unable to explain his displeasure about this unexpected turn of events. At the end of Act II while watching Odette fly away, just before the curtains closed, a huge smile spread across Soares's face. It was of joy, he had found the ONE, and belief he would free her. It was a touching and heartbreaking moment. Back at the lake after the ball, he and Odette switched places, with him afraid to look at her. (She raised his chin to look into his eyes -- an echo of what he had done in Act II.) His touch was uncertain, embrace tentative, growing sure and ardent as the trust and love still was there between them.

Nunez was beautiful, her dancing solid and confident. I found her Odette unmoving in Act II, yet touching and vulnerable in Act IV. Her Odile I liked best; she was sensual and soft, not nasty. It was a believable interpretation.

Soares and Nunez had a nice chemistry and trust between them. White Swan PDD was romantic as Sigefried -- gentle, sensitive -- wooed Odette and she dared to trust, love him. Black Swan sizzled and crackled as Odile drew him in; he never had a chance. 4th act PDD is used in the Mariinsky version and while beautiful, I'd never found it moving. Yet in this performance there were two bits of mime where Nunez reminded Soares he had broken his vow to her, and that she would have to die. Suddenly, those few moments made this pas de deux very tragic; their plight hopeless. The finale was magificant with the stage empty except for Rothbart, Siegfried, and Odette during their struggle. At one point Rothbart used his magic to draw Odette away from Siegfried; it was similar to when she had transformed back into a swan and her prince watched. Only now they both fought to reach each other and did, to perish together.

The interview with the four Swan Queens was very fascinating. Mason's story about Nureyev in Swan Lake was quite amusing.


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