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Stars of the Russian BalletHistorical two-disk set


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#1 Marcmomus

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 12:37 PM

There is a two disk set now available on Amazon.com that may be of historical interest to some people. It shows some great names mainly from the 1970's and 1980's. Some of the pas are over-familar (e.g. too much Don Quixote) but even these are different versions to what is already available on DVD. I believe that Ulanova's Juliet from 1955 is the only one available elsewhere on DVD, and Plisetskaya's Swan Lake excerpts are different to the two full-length versions already available for her. For me the set is worth it for Maximova alone, especially Valpurgis night. It's all in colour, and the rendition and image quality is not bad given that many of these are over 30 years old. Some items are unfamiliar and strange (Layla and Majnu); as usual there are some irritating close-ups, and the Giselle excerpt is nearly spoilt by intrusive repetitions. Overall though there is much to admire and enjoy.

The set is confusingly called "Stars of the Russian Ballet". There is another DVD from Kultur with the same title that has excerpts from Swan Lake (Ulanova), The Fountains of Bakhchisarai (Plisetskaya), and The Flames of Paris (Chabukiani). Reviews of the new two-disk set on Amazon are mixed up with those of this other DVD presumably due to the titles being the same.

All information on the DVD covers is in Cyrillic script, but there are English subtitles on the tracks giving a title and the dancers' names. These are too big, often appear late in each pas and stay too long.
Given the paucity of material released on DVD for some of these great names, this set is very welcome. For those of you who saw them live, or have everything on videotape, this gives us late-comers a small window into a great period in Russian ballet.

The Amazon URL is:
http://www.amazon.co...98747729&sr=8-1

The contents are:
STARS OF THE RUSSIAN BALLET
Disk 1: Section 1
1. Credits (in Russian)
2. The Dying Swan ……………………………Maya Plisetskaya (1975)
3. Don Quixote ……………………………Ekaterina Maximova/Vladimir Vasiliev (1972)
4. Melody ……………………………Natalia Bessmertnova/Alexandr Lavrenyuk (1970)
5. Butterfly ……………………………Irina Kolpakova/Sergey Berezhnoy (1983)
6. Mazour Dance ……………………………Ekaterina Maximova (No date given)
7. Peri ……………………………Lyubov Kinukova/Marat Doukayev (1983)
8. Melody ……………………………Marina Kondratiyeva/Maris Liepa (1978)
9. Bayadere ……………………………Nadejda Pavlova/Vyacheslav Gordeyev (1979)
10. Don Quixote ……………………………Tamar Varlanova/Bolshoi (1971)
11. Swan Lake (Odile) ……………………………Maya Plisetskaya/Valery Kovtun (1973)

Disk 1: Section 2
12. Credits (in Russian)
13. Swan Lake (Odette) ……………………………Maya Plisetskaya/Valery Kovtun (1973)
14. Narcisse ……………………………Vladimir Vasiliev (1971)
15. Esmeralda ……………………………Tatyana Terekhova/Nikolay Kovmir (1983)
16. Layla and Majnu ……………………………Maria Gorodskaya/Ella Kosterina (1971)
17. Giselle ……………………………Marina Kondratyeva/Valery Kovtun (1978)
18. Venice Carnevale ……………………………Svetlana Efremova/Valery Yemec (1983)
19. Don Quixote ……………………………Nina Timofeyeva/Alexander Godunov (1976)
20. Legend of Love ……………………………Lyudmila Semenyaka/Alexander Bogatyrev (1978)
21. Romeo and Juliet ……………………………Ekaterina Maximova/Vladimir Vasiliev (1979)

Disk 2: Section 3
1. Credits (in Russian)
2 Sleeping Beauty ……………………………Maya Plisetskaya & Troupe (1977)
3. Icar (Slonimsky) ……………………………Ekaterina Maximova/Vladimir Vasiliyev (1971)
4. Variation (Ober) ……………………………Marina Kondratyeva (1978)
5. Bayana (Vila-Lobos) ……………………………Natalia Bolshakova/Vadim Gulyaev (1984)
6. Esmeralda (Pugni) ……………………………Nina Timofeyeva/Yuri Vladimirov (1976)
7. Giselle (Adam) ……………………………Lyudmila Semenyaka/Mikhail Lavrovsky (1978)
8. Bird of Prey (Ravel) ……………………………Elena Ryabinkina (1971)
9. Valpurgis Night(Gounod) ……………………………Ekaterina Maximova/Shamil Yagoudin/Stanislav Vlasov (1974)
10. Don Quixote (Minkus) ……………………………Lyudmila Semenyaka/Mikhail Baryshnikov (1968)
11. Rosa's Death.(Mahler) ……………………………Maya Plisetskaya/Valery Kovtun (1978)

Disk 2: Section 4
12. Credits (in Russian)
13. Romeo & Juliet ……………………………Galina Ulanova/Yuri Zhdanov (1955)
14. Swan Lake ……………………………Natalia Bessmertnova/Alexander Bogatyrev (1983)
15. Raymonda ……………………………Irena Kolpakova/Vladim Semenov (1976)
16. Flames of Paris ……………………………Marina Kondratyeva/Valery Lagunov (1977)
17. Flower Festival in Genzano……………………………Tatyana Tayakina/Valery Kovtun (1977)
18. Angara River (Ashpay) ……………………………Lyudmila Semenyaka/Boris Akimov (1979)
19. Spanish Capricco ……………………………Larisa Trembovelskaya/Sergey Radchenko (1973)
(Rimsky-Korsakov)
20. Don Quixote ……………………………Lyudmila Vasiliyeva/Ilgiz Galimullin (1991)

#2 carbro

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 12:07 AM

Thanks so much for this post, Macromus. It sounds like an extremely worthwhile collection, even if it is weighted to heavily towards Don Q.

But on a personal note, I saw many of these dancers live, and it is a bit of a jolt to see the headline of your comment (expecting to see a list of clips from the '30s or earlier) and get hit with names of so many dancers I saw. Some were in the waning days of their careers, but others were the hot, new thing when I first saw them (Semenyaka, N. Pavlova). I don't like acknowledging that their clips are by now, in fact, historical. :wink:

#3 Marcmomus

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 01:47 AM

Historical was indeed the wrong word, and quite tactless of me, I'm sorry. Unforgettable or memorable, even historic would have been closer to what I was trying to say. I wanted people to recognise that this material was not for everyone: that they shouldn't expect to see Osipova or Zakharova, and that they would also have to accept some technical deficiencies and the efforts of video editors with too many new toys to play with. Despite my complaint four excerpts from Don Quixote is really not that many among forty others, and even I can accept them when Maximova is doing fouettés without using her arms. It must be Minkus' music that sinks my heart.

#4 carbro

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 02:17 AM

While I might prefer recent, that's delusional, and I acknowledge that historical isn't totally off the mark. After all, the most recent clip is 20 years old.

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:20 AM

Oh well...this is the day when it is easy to find a magazine pic. of a Hollywood starlet wearing "Vintage Versace ca. 1990"...:P

#6 Natalia

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:00 AM

These two DVDs are just the tip of the iceberg. There have been at least eight (8) DVDs in the 'Zvezdy' (Stars) series, which I purchased in Russia in '09. There are treasures in this set, including some intriguing works by Kazyan Goleizovsky ('Bird of Prey, for ex.). Perhaps the others might eventually be offered in the US? Be on the look-out for a later DVD with Violetta Bovt, legendary star of the Stanislavsky Ballet.

p.s. Many of these tidbits appear on YouTube but there's nothing like a clean, crisp DVD seen on a big TV screen.


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