Personally, I like better the Balanchine distillation of the ballet than the whole thing; ....
I love it too, Jack...but with the traditional 'look' of Balanchine's original conception, e.g., the hunters participating on the sidelines during the pdd-adagio of the leads...and with traditional white swan tutus (unlike NYCB's current corps of all-black tutus except for the lead).
Natalia, do you know when NYCB changed to the all-black swan corps? Was it under Balanchine? Balanchine was, to me, usually a barometer of good taste, so it would perplex me that this would happen under his watch.
Not only did the swans become black but they increased in number after Balanchine's departure, and with these changes came Vaes's dusky lighting; all of this diminished the effectiveness of the production by diminishing the visibility of the dancers: Black is less visible than white, and with more on stage, they're more crowded togther, forming more of a clotted mass instead of the previous clarity of pattern, which has always been to me one of Balanchine's many virtures: You get more!, to repeat his frequent exclamation, when you see more. (There was certainly more to his esthetic than bigger!, higher!, faster!, but that was an element.)
And not the least of this was the moment - I don't rmember the number - when the swans circle the stage and then run out, and side lights, about waist high, came on in the wings, so that the girls running down on one side of the stage would cast their shadows on the girls running up on the other side (and vice versa), the illusion of increased speed thus making their movement even more exciting but without obscuring anything, because no bodies were added or anything. Either this lighting effect was eliminated - it was missing from the generally excellent MCB revival - or you just couldn't see it at NYCB because of the black costumes.
Overall, Ronald Bates's original lighting in this ballet achieved the effect that in-the-forest-at-night scenes require: That the swans or wilis or sylphs or whatever night creatures are supposed to be on view actually be visible and yet the audience has the sense of deep night. We've seen it many times, many places, I think, but not in NYCB's revision.
I may be able to dig out some dates of when I first saw the revised version, but the main thing for me is the reduction in effectiveness of the new production, and it's one of the times I was especially grateful to Villella for making the right choice.
There are many, many ways watching NYCB fails to do anything for me any more - since the mid-80's, actually - and so I rarely do. This is yet another example.
(I'm not so sure the online NYCB history is perfectly reliable, by the way.)