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This thread is enlightening and informative--as always--but also depressing. While several of the wish-list items are rarities or oddities, most are recordings that chronicle exemplary or canonical intepreters of the standard rep, and as such should be widely available. I'd love to see dance companies step up and acknowledge that dance literacy depends, at least in part, on making their companies' works more accessible on video and DVD. I know, I know, it's not always under their control. But if NYCB, say, took this on, I bet something would change. They could sell fewer pointe shoe keyrings in their gift shop and more DVDs!

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Apart from it being very delightful to actually own all these DVD's, it is also most interesting to see how styles have changed so quickly. To give you an example: first watch some ballet filmed in say 1955-1960, and then look at something filmed 1995-2000. . The difference is enormous, and now I am not only referring to high arabesques or high legs in general - everything is different. And so it should be, things must evolve. Only the Danes with their Bournonville style look the same, but say a Napoli from yesterday looks sharper than a Napoli from 1955. What will we think in say 30 years from now? :angry2:

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Finally I am finished with all my transferring videos to DVD - and now another task has ensued. A quite delightful one :P

There must of course be law and order in everything, so I check the DVD against the video to make sure that nothing is missing. My videos could be very mixed, but now I have put all American stuff together, all Russian together and I find myself with a most wonderful box full of ballet history. And properly catalogued.

Tonight I have just been checking out the Makarova "Ballerina" - in three almost hour long parts. What heavenly stuff! :clapping: What heavenly clips of old dancers! :clapping: Things I have never seen live or in film, f.ex. bits of Markova in Giselle.

Is this video commercially available? It really ought to be - it is very educational and beautiful in every way.

Take a person who claims to know nothing at all of ballet and sit him/her down in front of this film and I really think you have a convert. People usually say that they dont like ballet because they dont understand it. Here is the chance.

Well, here is everything nicely explained and one doesnt get the feeling that she is talking down to people and regarding the viewers as idiots. Well, armed with this series one ought to go out on a crusade and convert people to the proper cause, dont you think! :flowers:

Just a great pity, IMO that all the Russian stuff I have is not color compatible with our system, everything Russian looks very bleak and washed out colorwise.

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In general though:

1. I'd like more complete ballets to be released. Yes snippets are great, in many cases snippets are priceless (Maya Plisetskaya's Don Quixote Act 1, for example), but often behind the snippets there is a complete video, and I'd like to see the complete video.

2. A wider variety of dancers to be filmed. Svetlana Zakharova leaps to mind as a ballerina who is being filmed for DVD release a lot in the past few years, while many of the other stars of her generation are not being recorded for posterity. I think I mentioned this in another thread that I love Galina Ulanova, but wish there was more film of Alla Shelest. Natalia Bessmertnova IMO was another overly-filmed ballerina. Ekaterina Maximova was criminally underfilmed.

3. More complete Balanchine. I know there are so many issues tied up with the Balanchine Trustees and it seems as if even complete Live From Lincoln Center telecasts of Balanchine ballets are a thing of the past. :flowers:

4. Better transfers of older footage. The Romeo and Juliet from the Royal Ballet is an example. Would it have killed Kultur to try to make a better transfer of the 1966 film, which is grainy and at times fuzzy?

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1) If they exist in the Bolshoi archives, film of Vasiliev and Bessmertnova dancing "Leili & Mejnun" and "Ivan the Terrible".

2) In the very early days of the A&E channel, a full length broadcast of what I think was Grigorovich's "Swan Lake" starring Plisetskaya with Maris Liepa as Von Rothbart was shown. I remember it vividly. It was a live performance from the late '70's if I'm not mistaken. Unforgettable!

3) A "Live from Lincoln Center" broadcast of "Vienna Waltzes" starring a glorious Suzanne Farrell in Der Rosenkavalier. I think it was filmed shortly before she retired.

4) Grigorovich's "Age of Gold" with Bessmertnova, Mukhemedov and the marvelous Gedminas Taranda.

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Happily I can take RB's Sylvia off my list, and now add more...

*POB's Swan Lake, Pietragalla/Dupond

*Malakhov's Cinderella, Semionova/Shpilevsky


The POB-Bourmeister Swan Lake w/ Pietragalla has already been re-released as a DVD in Japan, so I would not be surprised if it slowly makes its way to the other Amazons.coms.

Malakhov's Cinderella w/ Senionova was filmed and shown on German TV (& perhaps other European countries) so it could very well be commercially issued some day.

Not to be a party-pooper but, of all the Balanchines in existence, we hardly need another Jewels, compared to other ballets by Mr. B that have never been made commercially available. I mean, we already have highlights of the NYCB version plus the full POB version. And the Kirov version was filmed a year ago for future release.

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Coppelia with McBride (will there ever be a better Coppelia

I cannot imagine that there could be. I saw it at a Saturday matinee in the late 80s, or could have been '86 or '87, and she was perfection. Who else saw this utter delight back in the day?

I did! McBride was simply wonderful!

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I also saw McBride.

McBride always had the gift of dancing in a manner that appeared to be completely spontaneous, even when performing the most technically demanding movement. In this role, I felt as though she was actually living the Coppelia story, responding immediately and directly to the events of Acts I and II and to the music.

Few dancers project this quality, and no other Balanchine Swanildas I have seen.

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I certainly remember McBride as Swanilda. It's amazing how a single viewing of a masterly performance such as hers can live in the memory so vividly for what must be thirty years now. I've never seen anyone dance with such contagious vivacity and deeply feminine appeal. She made me laugh out loud with pure pleasure.

Does anybody remember a broadcast, probably in the 1980s, of Bournonville Variations by NYCB? It was wonderful -- Ashley and Martins in Flower Festival pdd, Kistler and Andersen in William Tell pdd, and many, many others? And there was a charming segment with a very young Darci being coached by Stanley Williams. It's a crime that treasures like these languish unseen in a vault somewhere.........

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here's the NYPL cat. entry on the NYCB BOURNONVILLE DANCES:

Bournonville dances - 1982. 59 min. : sd. color NTSC.

Taped on May 1, 1982 as a part of the Dance in America series. Broadcast on WNET/Thirteen on May 24, 1982. Executive producer: Jac Venza. Producers: Edward Villella, Judy Kinberg. Director: Edward Villella. Writer: Tobi Tobias. Choreography: Stanley Williams after Auguste Bournonville. Scenery: David Mitchell. Costumes: Ben Benson. Lighting: Ralph Holmes. Performed by members of the New York City Ballet. Summary: Bournonville dances (also called Bournonville divertissements) are performed with discussion between sections by Peter Martins and Stanley Williams on Bournonville, his ballets, the Royal Danish Ballet, and related topics. Williams is also shown coaching Darci Kistler in one of the roles, and dancing in an excerpt of Napoli, ca. 1956.

CONTENTS: Ballabile (from Act I of Napoli). Music: H. S. Paulli. Danced by Lisa Hess and Daniel Duell with Toni Bentley, Carole Divet, Lauren Hauser, Alexia Hess, Lisa Jackson, Leslie Roy, Cornel Crabtree, Douglas Hay, Afshid Mofid, David Otto, Bruce Padgett, Ulrik Trojaborg. -- Pas de deux (from Act I of Kermesse i Brüges). Music: H. S. Paulli. Danced by Heather Watts and Helgi Tomasson. -- Pas de trois (from La ventana). Music: H. C. Lumbye. Danced by Lourdes Lopez, Stephanie Saland, Robert Weiss. -- Pas de deux (from William Tell). Music: Gioacchino Rossini. Danced by Darci Kistler and Ib Andersen. -- Pas de deux (from Flower festival in Genzano). Music: Edvard Helsted. Danced by Merrill Ashley and Peter Martins. -- Excerpts of Bournonville ballets filmed between 1902-1906. -- Tarantella (from Act III of Napoli). Danced by the same cast as Ballabile.

also, the entry on the COPPELIA telecast:

Coppélia 1978. 150 min. : sd. color

Telecast on WNET-TV's Live from Lincoln Center series on January 31, 1978. Producer: John Goberman. Directors: Kirk Browning and Emile Ardolino. Writer: Tobi Tobias. Host: Edward Villella. Conductor: Robert Irving.

Choreography: George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova. Music: Leo Delibes. Book: Charles Nuitter after E. T. A. Hoffmann. Scenery and costumes: Rouben Ter-Arutunian. Lighting: Ronald Bates. Performed by Patricia McBride (Swanhilda), Helgi Tomasson (Frantz), Shaun O'Brien (Dr. Coppelius), and members of the New York City Ballet.

Book, Charles Nuitter after E.T.A. Hoffmann ; scenery and costumes, Rouben Ter-Arutunian ; lighting, Ronald Bates ; writer, Tobi Tobias. (Act I -- Intermission interviews by Edward Villella with Patricia McBride, Helgi Tomasson, and Alexandra Danilova -- Act II -- Intermission interviews by Edward Villella with Shaun O'Brien and Robert Irving -- Act III.)

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Yes, Volcanohunter, I have both the Shaufuss and Makarova series, they are very good.

In my opinion mass scenes do not work well on TV, on example here being the new Swedish Swan Lake, it was far too dark and I found it useless on a screen. But I have not seen it live, so I refrain from judgement.

As I have now gone through all my ballet videos and transferred them to DVD, I was surprised to note one thing. I owned very few commercially made videos, just some Highlights of this and Glories of that. So the rest of my ballet library was taped from the national Swedish networks. Looking at the dates, very few were later than about 1995. Before that, masses of stuff, Shaufuss, Makarova, Ustinov and Fonteyn series, in addition some rather intellectual and genuine stuff about flamenco. That glorious program "Backstage at the Kirov" was broadcast at prime time, 20 hours a Saturday night! The mind boggles... I also have several other Soviet tapes about the Vaganova, Perm Ballet School and the Bolshoi and what have you. Note that I used the word "Soviet" which means all videos were pre 1991.

Now I am sad to say that Swedish TV has become all fun and games and silly contests - the times they are achanging. It is very rarely one sees any ballet these days. It seems it is the trend all over. :( :blush:

I read in a topic of 2006 (Alessandra Ferri to retire from ABT) that in your ballet library you have a documentary of the Royal Ballet School featuring a young Ms Ferri doing a short solo. Well, I'm a great fan of her and I'm collecting videos of her performances (by the way, do you know if ABT has released a video of her last Manon or Juliet?). Anyway, could you give me more information about that documentary and do you know where I could find it? I wrote to RBS but they told me that they just remember a documentary featuring a young Viviana Durante. I'd really love to have it! :D

thanks for your help


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I for one would LOVE to see a high-definition surround-sound video recording of a complete Raymonda by the Mariinsky Ballet done in the same technical fashion as the hi-def video version of Swan Lake done a few years ago and released on the Decca label, complete with Valery Gergiev as orchestra conductor. :P Of couse, it needs to be available in Blu-ray format, too. :clapping:

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Michael Baker

well it's nice to know that you don't have to be British to appreciate Frederick Ashton's ballets. my dream list of DVD's would include the original cast of "Dance at a Gathering" (which I had the good fortune to see back in the 1970's,)the original cast of "Symphonic Varations" and "Birthday Offering" as well as "Voluntaries" Glen Tetley choreographed the latter in hommage to John Cranko after his death and done for the Stuttgart Ballet. This, I also saw with the original cast.

This is a list of what I hope one day (SOON :excl: ) to find on DVD.

Do you think there is hope?

What other performances do you think should be issued/reissued on DVD?

(some items on the list do exist as region 1/NTSC DVDs but not as region 2/PAL)

Here we go:

Anything by Bournonville !

I know there was a vhs tape of La Sylphide and one of Napoli. Yet I can't find them anywhere. Are there plans to reissue them as DVDs? Is there any hope of a Bournonville boxed set coming out, with all the ballets we have been reading about in the Bournonville Festival threads? There are a lot of people in the world (dance professionals and balletomanes) interested in Bournonville. With the scarcity of Bournonville on video it would be easy for the RDB to market Bournonville DVDs. I know I would buy the box the moment it came out!

Alexandra, is there hope?

Sleeping Beauty Sizhova/Kirov (:huepfen024: - isn't this the perfect smilley for Sizova?)

Sleeping Beauty Kolpakova/Kirov

Sleeping Beauty Assylmuratova/Kirov

Bayadere Komleva/Terekhova/Kirov

Vasiliev/Maximova Giselle (:beg:)

Raymonda from the Paris Opera Ballet. The Dancers Dream documentary has been selling quite well and it's a documentary!!! So where is the whole performance? Another one of the mysteries of DVD distribution...

Swan Lake with Makarova/Dowell (no region 2/PAL) (I hope it's a matter of time for this one)

Makarova/Baryshnikov Giselle.

Any Swan Lake with the Kirov (there are none in region 2/PAL) I'm not sure Mezentseva will be good in SL and a black swan pdd with Makhalina was not my taste but I still would like to have a Kirov SL.

More DVDs from the POB: Almost perfect dancing, amazingly rich productions (costumes/scenery), clear and crisp image, non-intrusive video editing - what more can one ask for? Even, if the dancing may - very rarely - appear technically perfect but soulless, the POB DVDs are the definition of eye-candy. Beautiful!!!!!

More Ashton, please! I'd like to see Enigma Variations (isn't there a film of Beriosova and Dowell?), A Month in the Country, Les Patineurs, Symphonic Variations. (:clapping: I told someone that I like Ashton the other day and he asked me if I'm British. I thought that was depressing...)

And obviously, more Balanchine! (the only DVDs I can find in region2/PAL are the "Choreography by Balanchine", so start by Davids bundlertanze and Balanchine Celebration) After that, wouldn't it be great if someone went through the Balanchine foundation archives and compiled 3-4 DVDs of historic performances? It should be low cost and easy. Are there permission/copyright/other issues?

So, what do you think?

Is there hope for these items being issued as DVDs?

What's your ballet DVD wish list?

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I would love to purchase a complete version of the film of David Dawson's Giselle with Yumiko Takeshima (excerpts are on YouTube). My inquiries to the Dresden Semperoper Ballett were not answered. Does anyone know if this is available?

I am new to Ballet Talk and am still navigating the topics, responses and search options. Please forgive me if this question has been asked and answered.

Many thanks

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Balanchine's Symphony in 3 Movements and Robbins' Glass Pieces are top priorities on my wish list. Brief clips can be found on the DVD Bringing Balanchine Back, and the respective Trusts seem to have given permission to companies performing these works to post brief clips for publicity (e.g., Miami City Ballet), but to my knowlege, the complete works have never been released on VHS or DVD (nor shown on public television). These are major works and most people can't get to cities where they are being performed a few times a year.

Theme and Variations with Kirkland and Baryshnikov, from Live from Lincoln Center in 1978, is a long-standing wish: I assume this has the enormous problems getting permission from all involved that have been discussed elsewhere, but those permissions were finally obtained for Baryshnikov at Wolf Trap (1976) and Giselle with Makarova/Baryshnikov (1977), so it can be done.

Other than the permissions issues (huge for T&V, presumably), perhaps distributors don't think there's enough of a market. I'm wondering if distribution for sale through iTunes might be the solution. Book publishers are now moving increasingly to "print-on-demand" to eliminate the problem of warehouse storage costs of unsold books. Perhaps "distribute on demand" via iTunes (for a fair price, of course) is an analogous solution for films and videos. At least, I hope so!

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An incomplete list:


Hollywood's The Gay Parisian (Gaîté Parisienne)


While rummaging around on YouTube for something completely unrelated, I ran across this. Since this thread seems to be the most recent to mention 'The Gay Parisian', I'll post these two clips here. Apparently, this is the complete version referred to elsewhere as being issued on DVD in the last few years. Film quality isn't very good, but the Technicolor is pretty, and Massine, Franklin, Krassovska and Mladova are terrific, although the latter isn't really a substitute for Danilova; but then, who would be?

The Gay Parisian

Part 1

Part 2

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