Thanks everyone for your reviews. I was considering buying this dvd; and still may - mainly because of the Kondaurova corps sighting, and Uliana's Diamond. But the roving camera, which was also employed in their most recent dvd of "Swan Lake," just doesn't cut it for me. It sounds like the POB dvd (which I have), is superior. It's ironic that the Mariinsky totally embraces Balanchine, but can't quite get it together in a consistent manner when it comes to casting his ballets. Those who "hit" are rarely cast; those who "miss" are frequently cast.
The 'extra' (Maestro interview) is pathetic. Why bother?
I can imagine. Maestro Gergiev, bless him, appears because this is the first ballet that has been released through the "Mariinsky" label on the Theatre's site - along with the Orchestra's and Opera's recordings:
Does Gergiev even LIKE ballet?
He's never claimed to be an expert, and he's stated in interviews over the years that he knows about as much as the average Russian layperson and respects the artform. Does he "like" ballet as in "is he a balletomane," as much as he "likes" (or "loves") music and the opera? Based on what I've observed over the years, no he isn't. He pays more attention to the Mariinsky Orchestra and the Opera than the Ballet of the Theatre. In a perfect world, attention (should) be 100% for both enterprises. Even so, this is unrealistic for one person. IMO it's been 80% Opera/Orchestra 20% Ballet, and I'm being conservative. To be fair, the man also leads many other institutions: Music Director and Chief Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic (favorite guest conductor) - I can't list them all here. Naturally, these responsibilities, in addition to the General Directorship of the Mariinsky Theatre would command the majority of his attention; and it leans heavily in the other direction. The world's major orchestras have all taken a number to be lead by him - even as guest conductor for one night. He also conducts many performances at the Met.
I will say that the artistic direction of the ballet company has been on auto-pilot for quite a while now. The Mariinsky Ballet should try to get more cameras into the Theatre. POB, the Bolshoi, La Scala and the Royal (for example, last June's O2 Arena "Romeo & Juliet" run), have gotten proactive - reaching out to a global audience, collaborating with Ballet in Cinema, and airing live simulcasts. They've all outdistanced the Mariinsky here. I don't even want to get into the Bolshoi, La Scala, and even Tokyo's embracing of the Petipa reconstructions. Vikharev's Harvard notes have been welcomed everywhere except the Theatre where Petipa's ballets premiered. The Mariinsky Ballet is being left behind in this regard. It would be better for them to consider taking advantage of projects like this, rather than releasing dvds of mediocre performances from past seasons, or touring +90 days of two night - one week stands worldwide.