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Mariinsky JEWELS being released on DVDat long last; filmed 5+ yrs ago


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#16 bart

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 10:37 AM

Thanks, Andre. It's interesting to read about this from a more technical perspective. I also appreciate your evaluation of the performance.

Now, the artistic quality is another story altogether. Except for the last piece, Diamonds, I think this is one of the most wrongheaded performances of Jewels I've ever seen. I've seen this company live with almost this exact cast many years ago, and liked it, so either my tastes have changed, or something else was going on.

I think we've all experienced this kind of feeling: "Wow, I don't recall this being that bad." Or ... "that good." :huh:

I have seen Jewels performed over several generations at NYCB, including the premiere season; by Miami (two different seasons); and on dvd, by Paris. I have always been open to alternate performance styles, within reason.. Something may be lost, but so far I've always found something genuine and moving to replace it. (The extraordinary elegance of the POB version, for example, and its sense of luxe and volulpte)

Bad reviews can be as intriguing as good reviews. Your comments makes me even more anxious to have a look at the Mariinsky version, which I've been told is in the mail.

#17 Cordelia

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 05:47 PM

I received the DVD yesterday and watched it twice. Why twice? Just to make sure how much I dislike this production. I had seen Jewels done by NYCB, SFB, Mariinsky, and PNB, plus I have DVD of the luminous version done by POB. This version by the Mariinsky has lots of irksome camera angles, for example the traveling cameras are annoying because it doesn't add anything to Balanchine's choreography. In fact it gave me motion sickness watching it, though to be fair I watched it on a large screen TV. About the dancing, all I can say is how underwhelmed I was especially with Emeralds and Rubies. I was expecting Zhanna Ayupova to be sublime since I had heard so many great things about her lyrical or soft style. But Ayupova never gave me the feeling of longing or aspiration that is central to Emeralds. Her gentle, noble carriage aside, there wasn't much else she offered, if you turned off the music and disregard her costume you can imagine her dancing Les Sylphides solo.

Rubies was a mess, with Irina Golub wrongly offering an amateurish interpretation. She gave what to me was a gaudy take on Rubies, all thrust yet no humor nor insouciance. Golub mistakenly thought Rubies to be only an exercise in gymnastics and put very little effort in presenting the off-kilter positions and exaggerated extensions in playful fashion.

#18 EricHG31

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 09:44 PM

FWIW, the only bonus feature on the disk is Gergiev talking about the ballet. I haven't watched that yet. It would be nice if they made the extras more interesting. Some of the BBC broadcasts of the Royal have really interesting intermission features, which are usually not included when they release the DVD/BD of the same performance.

BTW, you can also spot Kondaurova in the Diamonds corps.

Does Gergiev even LIKE ballet? I was thinking of getting this, but may just stick with the POB DVD for now--I love Jewels, but there are other ballet DVDs of works I don't already have that probably should take precedent, after reading these comments.

#19 Jayne

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 01:20 PM

Just watching the promo, the camera angle on the Rubies duo during the hyper extended stretch was rather vulgar. I prefer less stretch, and more flirting. :)

#20 Jayne

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 01:23 PM

sorry, double post (argh!)

#21 Cordelia

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 02:58 PM

Just watching the promo, the camera angle on the Rubies duo during the hyper extended stretch was rather vulgar. I prefer less stretch, and more flirting. :)


It's not only the extreme stretch which seems merely a demonstration in gymnastics, but the way Golub does it. She dances Rubies with a salacious expression throughout, it was so unnecessarily tacky especially next to an elegant Fadeyev. No flirting just cheap flash and lasciviousness.

#22 Helene

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 08:11 AM

I watched it twice, too, but the second viewing didn't improve my opinion of the principal dancing of all but Sukhorukova in the Mimi Paul role of "Emeralds". I expected the most of Ayupova, but I found her interpretation unrhythmic and disjointed. Lopatkina was so careful -- you could see the set-ups coming for a mile -- when courage and abandon were called for, although I thought that Letestu was the least successful in the POB version, too: "Diamonds" is not "Swan Lake". I also preferred the energy and phrasing of the POB corps in "Diamonds", which was one of the highlights of that DVD.

I had hopes for Gumerova, but I think she was studying the wrong kind of cheerleader for this role. For me Sukhorukova was the one who got not only the phrasing, but also the tone and feel of the ballet she was in. Her feet were so beautiful. My only criticism of her was that she moved her head a lot, which was distracting, when stillness would have been more effective. "Rubies" was vulgar, but worse, it was coy vulgarity.

I loved the trio in "Emeralds". Who of Ostreikovskaya and Selina is the redhead? I also loved the set: it was striking and worked for all three segments.

I definitely will pull out this DVD again (and maybe again), but I'll be selective by chapter.

#23 Natalia

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 08:22 AM

I've finally watched my copy, too.

Now we know why the producers kept this 'in the vault' for so long before releasing it. Mamma mia...

Quite disappointing, particularly the ever-moving 'skycam' rolling around the stage. It's always a joy to see Lopatkina and I was not so-so disappointed with precious Ayupova. Golub was totally wrong; if I recall, this used to be Vishneva's role at the time but Vishneva had an overseas engagement and couldn't do the film. I felt sorry for Fadeev. And don't even get me started on Korsakov in Emeralds...or Gumerova as Tall Girl in Rubies?! (To think that the alternate to Gumerova, in another cast, was Kondaurova...but perhaps the director of this loopy film would have made even Big Red look bad, who knows?)

The 'extra' (Maestro interview) is pathetic. Why bother?

Bottom line: Still worth buying for Diamonds in general and Lopatkina, in particular...but only if you can put-up with the roving camera and weird angles at times.

#24 Cygnet

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 11:37 AM

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.

Natalia wrote:

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:
--> http://www.mariinsky...age/2/Catalogue

EricHG31 asked:

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.

#25 alexaa1a

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 12:40 PM

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.

Cygnet's last paragraph comment was great.

#26 sandik

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 01:21 PM

Quite disappointing, particularly the ever-moving 'skycam' rolling around the stage.


Mine came last week, but I haven't had time to watch it yet -- they're using that overhead shot again? I thought it was pretty silly in that triple bill program that was making the film festival rounds a couple years ago (Firebird, Sacre and one other I can't remember off the top of my head) -- the effect was interesting in Sacre, where floor patterns mean something, but just a gimmick in the other works.

June Taylor Dancers!

#27 Natalia

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 02:35 AM

Sandik, it's not so much 'June Taylor' or Busby Berkeley (directly overhead & stationary) as it is a camera that is 'floating' or skimming across the stage, sometimes weaving between dancers. One never knows where it's going to stop. I've seen this 'skycam' -- literally set up on thin wires strung up across a stage or an arena, tiny camera can zoom on the wires, every which way -- method employed at figure skating events. It's ridiculous above the ice and it's ridiculous here, too.

ITA with Cygnet that the Mariinsky (and NYCB and ABT) have missed the boat here due to 'closed door' policies & not jumping on the 'live ballet in cinemas' bandwagon. Very soon, if not already, the American public at large will be able to claim the Bolshoi or POB as their preferred 'home company' because of the accessibility via the cinema events AND their often-available DVDs. America knows and loves the POB and Bolshoi dancers probably more than those of NYCB and ABT...certainly more than NYCB. For cryin' out loud, there's even been more DVD releases with La Scala Ballet in the past 6 years than there's been of NYCB and ABT (and the Mariinsky?) combined. (OK, so NYCB has agreed to throw hoi poloi a bone in the form of that 'rarity' from the Balanchine oeuvre...Nutcracker! Wowee! That one has never been seen! How about Live on PBS/Cinemas performances of Symphony in C, Agon, Concerto Barocco, Dances at a Gathering, Goldberg, West Side Story Suite, etc?)

#28 bingham

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 04:04 AM

Sandik, it's not so much 'June Taylor' or Busby Berkeley (directly overhead & stationary) as it is a camera that is 'floating' or skimming across the stage, sometimes weaving between dancers. One never knows where it's going to stop. I've seen this 'skycam' -- literally set up on thin wires strung up across a stage or an arena, tiny camera can zoom on the wires, every which way -- method employed at figure skating events. It's ridiculous above the ice and it's ridiculous here, too.

ITA with Cygnet that the Mariinsky (and NYCB and ABT) have missed the boat here due to 'closed door' policies & not jumping on the 'live ballet in cinemas' bandwagon. Very soon, if not already, the American public at large will be able to claim the Bolshoi or POB as their preferred 'home company' because of the accessibility via the cinema events AND their often-available DVDs. America knows and loves the POB and Bolshoi dancers probably more than those of NYCB and ABT...certainly more than NYCB. For cryin' out loud, there's even been more DVD releases with La Scala Ballet in the past 6 years than there's been of NYCB and ABT (and the Mariinsky?) combined. (OK, so NYCB has agreed to throw hoi poloi a bone in the form of that 'rarity' from the Balanchine oeuvre...Nutcracker! Wowee! That one has never been seen! How about Live on PBS/Cinemas performances of Symphony in C, Agon, Concerto Barocco, Dances at a Gathering, Goldberg, West Side Story Suite, etc?)

What,exactly, is the reason of NYCB and ABT not doing the live screening? Is it too expensive to do so? :dunno: :wallbash:

#29 Natalia

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 04:37 AM

Bingham, not to take away further from the main topic of this thread but, as the Pandora's Box has been opened...I suspect that it has to do with union rights (payments) and, in the case of NYCB, the 'Balanchine & Robbins Trusts' trying to keep their treasures a secret to the outside world for fear that they may end up in someone's DVD library. The sad reality is that they will end up, some day, with their wish: the ballets will be so secret that only people in the company will care. I can picture whoever is the last Chairman of the Balanchine Trust taking her little box of treasures to a grave. How smart is that?

#30 puppytreats

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 07:02 AM


Sandik, it's not so much 'June Taylor' or Busby Berkeley (directly overhead & stationary) as it is a camera that is 'floating' or skimming across the stage, sometimes weaving between dancers. One never knows where it's going to stop. I've seen this 'skycam' -- literally set up on thin wires strung up across a stage or an arena, tiny camera can zoom on the wires, every which way -- method employed at figure skating events. It's ridiculous above the ice and it's ridiculous here, too.

ITA with Cygnet that the Mariinsky (and NYCB and ABT) have missed the boat here due to 'closed door' policies & not jumping on the 'live ballet in cinemas' bandwagon. Very soon, if not already, the American public at large will be able to claim the Bolshoi or POB as their preferred 'home company' because of the accessibility via the cinema events AND their often-available DVDs. America knows and loves the POB and Bolshoi dancers probably more than those of NYCB and ABT...certainly more than NYCB. For cryin' out loud, there's even been more DVD releases with La Scala Ballet in the past 6 years than there's been of NYCB and ABT (and the Mariinsky?) combined. (OK, so NYCB has agreed to throw hoi poloi a bone in the form of that 'rarity' from the Balanchine oeuvre...Nutcracker! Wowee! That one has never been seen! How about Live on PBS/Cinemas performances of Symphony in C, Agon, Concerto Barocco, Dances at a Gathering, Goldberg, West Side Story Suite, etc?)

What,exactly, is the reason of NYCB and ABT not doing the live screening? Is it too expensive to do so? :dunno: :wallbash:


Especially since they film so much of it and just stick it in the library :<


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