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walboi

What was the best ballet dvd this year for you

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I saw many ballet dvd's this year more so than going to a live performance. The reason is that I live in a outpost in the Netherlands where people tend to think that ballet should be a free trip all the way round, and secondly that is should not last longer than 15 minutes tops! So not to many company's visit our friendly town, and if, well then it is a mass performance to please the eyes but not your soul.

In that light I selected two dvd's which constitute the best I saw in 2005. The first I talked allready about in this forum, t'was Sylvia. The second choice has to be Swan Lake. I admired greatly the exploits Patrice Bart gave us, as always he does not dissapoint me with his work on this ballet, because he is very close in his thinking to Petipa and Lew Iwanov. The result is in my eyes breathtaking. I talk about the version from the Corps de Ballet: Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, and the Staatskapelle Berlin under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. Steffi Scherzer as Odette/Odile is nothing short than a lust for your eyes, her elegant moves and the fitting fragilty added makes her the dream of every choreographer. Oliver Matz as Prince Siegfried is a wonderfull partner to her, and it is a joy to watch this couple move in mysterious ways.The stage and costums designs are in the very capable hands of Luisa Spinatelli, all under the direction of Alexandre Tarta.

This ballet was also a Highlight for me in which I found myself transported to the world of fantasy which my most favorite composer Tjaikovsky brings me without fail.

Over to you, tell me which was your most treasured dvd this year and why.

Walboi

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Walboi, Patrice Bart is male. He's a ballet master at the Paris Opera Ballet.

Best!

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Walboi, Patrice Bart is male. He's a ballet master at the Paris Opera Ballet.

Best!

Ooops, sorry my mistake, slip of my mind, I knew offcause but something must have happened during the writing, enthousiasme I guess.

Thank you Brioche

I stand corrected and I corrected the text

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My choices are:

1) The Dream by ABT (Ashton's choreography). I guess it is because of the choreography itself, the version, the eerie quality on stage, the music, Alessandra Ferri, Maria Riccetto (who I happen to know in person, because she is from my country, and so I was very pleased to see her dance one of the fairies) and the ever-good looking Pierce Brosnan :crying:

2)Don Quixote, by Paris Opera Ballet: not so much for Aurelie Dupont, but the version, the stage, the lighting, the perfection of the corps (watch that perfect semi circle in the dream sequence).

3) Swan Lake, danced by Yelena Yevteyeva (I was indeed pleased to find that copy available on DVD, as I saw it many many years ago).

4) Sleeping Beauty, either Asymulatova and Zaklinsky, or the Lezhinina-Ruzimatov. Reason? The Kirov!!!!! :yahoo:

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I forgot to mention "Fille du Pharaoh" (with Zakharova) - a revelation to me. I was very very pleased to see the Bolshoi in that very good shape: it seemed to me as if they have changed a lot for the better: they are quicker, their port the bras is exquisite, their foot work is much better, and the men are still awesome but in a different way: no more flamboyance and sloppiness, but exactness in allegro.

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2005 (region 2/pal) releases:

Zakharova in Swan Lake :)

American Ballet Theater in San Fransisco For Tudor's Lilac Garden, but also for the Bujones/Gregory Cygne Noir pdd and Paul Taylor's Airs.

The Dream It's far from perfect (Stiefel's preparations are obvious, the couples should work on their acting, the video-director cuts exactly ON the start and stop of the corps with a sadistic precision that destroys the musical effect) But, here is also the best Puck I have ever seen, the superb & wonderfully elevated Herman Cornejo :wub: And it's Ashton!!! On DVD!!! A trend that should be encouraged. :D

Etoiles pour l'exemple: Violette at Mr B Miss Verdy's big personality makes this dvd much more than a series of interesting coaching sessions on Robbins and Balanchine choreography. There are also a few historic excerpts of Verdy (low quality and jerky but you get an idea) Another dvd from the same series I liked very much was the one with Nina Vyroubova.

Older DVDs I only got to see in 2005:

Sleeping Beauty (Dupont/Legris/POB) This is a beautiful and opulent production, magnificently shot, and danced superbly by everyone esp. Legris, Dupont, cats (Pujol and ?) and corps.

Dancer's Dream Sleeping Beauty and Dancer's Dream Raymonda: interesting making-of documentaries of the Nureyev productions. They start in St. Petersburg and end in the studios of Paris. There are interviews, old photos, rehearsal and performance excerpts (as an added bonus many excerpts are with Platel :) )

Royal Ballet (1960): Swan Lake, Firebird, Ondine With Ondine and Firebird I finally got what is so great about Fonteyn. I'm grateful this was filmed.

And an honorary mention for great video editing/tv-direction: The Merry Widow with the Australian Ballet.

The first viewing of a ballet dvd is usually a traumatic experience; you never know what annoying ways the video-director will devise to create interest in something that already is interesting. Their ingenuity in thus ruinning perfectly fine performances is bountless. But, 10 minutes into this dvd I realised I'm at the hands of an intelligent person and I relaxed. This is SO rare these days: unobtrusive, respectful and very close to watching the actual performance - only from the best possible angle for each scene. A very pleasant surprise.

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My choices are:

1) The Dream by ABT (Ashton's choreography). I guess it is because of the choreography itself, the version, the eerie quality on stage, the music, Alessandra Ferri, Maria Riccetto (who I happen to know in person, because she is from my country, and so I was very pleased to see her dance one of the fairies) and the ever-good looking Pierce Brosnan  :wub:

2)Don Quixote, by Paris Opera Ballet: not so much for Aurelie Dupont, but the version, the stage, the lighting, the perfection of the corps (watch that perfect semi circle in the dream sequence).

3) Swan Lake, danced by Yelena Yevteyeva (I was indeed pleased to find that copy available on DVD, as I saw it many many years ago).

4) Sleeping Beauty, either Asymulatova and Zaklinsky, or the Lezhinina-Ruzimatov.  Reason? The Kirov!!!!!  :D

I did not know that the swan lake by Yelena Yevteyeva was on dvd. Can you give me the details, and is it on Pal?

Walboi

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2005 (region 2/pal) releases:

Zakharova in Swan Lake  :)

American Ballet Theater in San Fransisco For Tudor's Lilac Garden, but also for the Bujones/Gregory Cygne Noir pdd and Paul Taylor's Airs.

The Dream It's far from perfect (Stiefel's preparations are obvious, the couples should work on their acting, the video-director cuts exactly ON the start and stop of the corps with a sadistic precision that destroys the musical effect) But, here is also the best Puck I have ever seen, the superb & wonderfully elevated Herman Cornejo :wub: And it's Ashton!!! On DVD!!! A trend that should be encouraged. :D

Etoiles pour l'example: Violette at Mr B Miss Verdy's big personality makes this dvd much more than a series of interesting coaching sessions on Robbins and Balanchine choreography. There are also a few historic excerpts of Verdy (low quality and jerky but you get an idea) Another dvd from the same series I liked very much was the one with Nina Vyroubova.

Older DVDs I only got to see in 2005:

Sleeping Beauty (Dupont/Legris/POB) This is a beautiful and opulent production, magnificently shot, and danced superbly by everyone esp. Legris, Dupont, cats (Pujol and ?) and corps.

Dancer's Dream Sleeping Beauty and Dancer's Dream Raymonda: interesting making-of documentaries of the Nureyev productions. They start in St. Petersburg and end in the studios of Paris. There are interviews, old photos, rehearsal and performance excerpts (as an added bonus many excerpts are with Platel :) )

Royal Ballet (1960): Swan Lake, Firebird, Ondine With Ondine and Firebird I finally got what is so great about Fonteyn. I'm grateful this was filmed.

And an honorary mention for great video editing/tv-direction: The Merry Widow with the Australian Ballet.

The first viewing of a ballet dvd is usually a traumatic experience; you never know what annoying ways the video-director will devise to create interest in something that already is interesting. Their ingenuity in thus ruinning perfectly fine performances is bountless. But, 10 minutes into this dvd I realised I'm at the hands of an intelligent person and I relaxed. This is SO rare these days: unobtrusive, respectful and very close to watching the actual performance - only from the best possible angle for each scene. A very pleasant surprise.

The merry widow is on my list for the next year, and the Fonteyn's dvd's are top.

Thank you for the elaborate and informative posting

Walboi

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1. POB - La Sylphide (though this may have been released in '04?)

2. Bolshoi - La Fille du Pharon

3. La Scala - Swan Lake (w/ Zhakarova)

WHERE CAN I GET THE POB FULL LENGTH DVDS of SLEEPING BEAUTY, RAYMONDA and SWAN LAKE????

Someone PLEASE tell me!

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Paris Opera Ballet "Raymonda" is not available. There was a television recording made in the eighties, but it was never commercially released.

"Sleeping Beauty" (featuring Dupont and Legris) and "Swan Lake" (only Bourmeister version featuring Pietragalla and Dupond, Nureyev version has just been filmed, so you can't find it for the moment, in a few months...) can easily be found on the internet. I don't know where you live, but try european sites like http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B...4703054-8975843 or

http://www.hmv.com.au/product/dvd.asp?sku=-998945

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WHERE CAN I GET THE POB FULL LENGTH DVDS of SLEEPING BEAUTY, RAYMONDA and SWAN LAKE????

Someone PLEASE tell me!

(posted at the same time with sophia)

Joseph, for some mysterious reason there is no DVD of Raymonda either in region 2 or region 1.

If you live in Europe you can find a region2/pal release of Sleeping Beauty here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005JI16/

or here:

http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005JI16/

There is a POB Bourmeister Swan Lake with Pietragalla and Dupond. You can find it here:

http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007Z47XO/

I have heard somewhere (ballettalk? :rolleyes: ) that this Christmas they are going to film the Nureyev Swan Lake with Letestu. She is not my favorite POB dancer but those in the know say she is a very good Odette.

Edited by chrisk217

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Paris Opera Ballet "Raymonda" is not available. There was a television recording made in the eighties, but it was never commercially released.

"Sleeping Beauty" (featuring Dupont and Legris) and "Swan Lake" (only Bourmeister version featuring Pietragalla and Dupond, Nureyev version has just been filmed, so you can't find it for the moment, in a few months...) can easily be found on the internet. I don't know where you live, but try european sites like http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B...4703054-8975843 or

http://www.hmv.com.au/product/dvd.asp?sku=-998945

Hi Sophia,

Thank you for this info, since I live in the Netherlands I will look on the sites you gave me.

Walboi

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I have quite a few, since I bought quite a few dvd's this year:

1. La Bayadere - POB. Guerin, Platel, and Hilaire were all wonderful (especially deep freeze Platel and handsome Hilaire) but mostly I love it for Nureyev's incredible production, and the eery perfection of the POB corps. If the Kirov corps are the most elegant, the POB corps are the most perfect. Just watching them come down the shade ramp with not a leg out of place was something else.

2. The Nutcracker - Royal Ballet. Miyako Yoshida is only so-so, but you get to see the divine Alina Cojocaru, who at the time of the filming couldn't have been over 20, but she was already dancing with incredible grace, beauty, and elegance.

3. The Kirov Celebrates Nijinsky - Diana Vishneva's Firebird. I often watch that video just to see her long, long arms flickering exactly like a bird's.

Speaking of birds, this is an older release but I loved the VAI video of Maya Plisetskaya. I will replay the Dying Swan compulsively.

4. Le Corsaire - Kirov Ballet. I don't much like Evgeny Neff, but Altynai Asylmuratova, Yelena Pankova, and the Kirov corps are sooooo beautiful.

5. Giselle - Seymour/Nureyev. I realize Seymour is totally out of shape, but Nureyev's Albrecht was legendary and I'm glad to see that, like Makarova's Giselle, it deserved every bit of its legendary status. Too bad Makarova and Nureyev never filmed a Giselle together :wub:

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And an honorary mention for great video editing/tv-direction: The Merry Widow with the Australian Ballet.

The first viewing of a ballet dvd is usually a traumatic experience; you never know what annoying ways the video-director will devise to create interest in something that already is interesting. Their ingenuity in thus ruinning perfectly fine performances is bountless. But, 10 minutes into this dvd I realised I'm at the hands of an intelligent person and I relaxed. This is SO rare these days: unobtrusive, respectful and very close to watching the actual performance - only from the best possible angle for each scene. A very pleasant surprise.

You make this one sound really good. I rarely see dance on DVD/VHS because I find them so expensive to buy, and often more seems to be available in PAL (which is not my format,) though I could be imagining that. Anyway, I go to live performances as often as possible. I'll definately look for the Merry Widow though...

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You make this one sound really good.  I rarely see dance on DVD/VHS because I find them so expensive to buy, and often more seems to be available in PAL (which is not my format,)  though I could be imagining that.  Anyway, I go to live performances as often as possible.  I'll definately look for the Merry Widow though...
Just a note to clarify that this is a nice performance but nothing exceptional. It's just well directed. By that I mean that it's coherent, you usually don't feel the presence of the director and while it's full of whole stage shots you still get to see the principals enough. It says something about the art of filming dance that these qualities can engender surprise.

I would not recommend it though, if you don't have a large collection. There many dvds (some mentioned in this thread) where the dancing is such that it's worth it to suffer through Tarantino-wannabe-editors or cloudy image to see the dance.

btw, I often have the feeling that more region1 dvds are available. Go figure... :D

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There's nothing I've enjyed more on DVD this year than "7 Brides for 7 Brothers" -- I can't get enough of it. Ever since I saw Mark Platt in Ballets Russes, I've been looking for his old movies -- and that's the one that's readily available. Jacques d'Amboise, who was 17 at the time, is in it -- glorious, and so modest. he played either Daniel or Ephraim, and Platt the other -- Also Matt Maddox, fabulous dnacer and the most beautiful legs and such a noble torso, also Tommy Rawls, who could do triple tours (d'Amboise says in the documentary about making it that's on the bonus disc.)

THe BROTHERS!!!!!! o my GOD!. They're like a pack of dogs, they have one nervous system for the lot of them and move like single unit -- not like a corps de ballet, but like a soccer team or birds or dogs.... the scene where Jane Powell arrives at the house to discover that she isn't coming to married bliss but a household of rough-tumble GUYS is mozartean in its complexity of tone -- poignant for her but still the funniest thing I think I've ever seen -- fantastic choreography by Michael Kidd, from whom it looks like Jerome Robbins learned everything he needed for Broadway, for the moves are all dancing in their rhythms but none of them dance steps and always further the action -- until you get to the barn-dance, which is huge, where there are lots of ballet dancers (Kelly Brown, Leslie and Ethan Browne's father looks REAL good) and some ballet catches and flat out steals from deMille, but Kidd always is using plot-points to govern his vocabulary, so it has to be moves these people would do.... American dramballet --

It's an MGM musical, I admit, there's lots of dialogue and singing and story-telling -- but at the back of it there's always a dance-mind at work.

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And Russ Tamblyn is what? Mashed potatoes? :D:wink:

I still don't have a dvd player, but I do have a computer, and you have given me an itch that can only be scratched by re-viewing this pic. I'll be checking out my video places in the next few days.

Thanks so much, Paul!

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The K-Ballet production of Ashton's Rhapsody with Yoshida and Kumakawa is the fastest 27+ minutes of ballet watching I've seen recently.

Seeing Zakharova in the Kirov's production of Scheherazade from Paris was revelatory among other things .... :D What amazing feet and expressive arms she has.

Not a new one, but I just watched the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker, and Zenaida Yanowsky blew me away as the Rose Fairy with her beautiful, long lines, expressive movement, and a just-in-the-moment kind of freshness in her dancing, almost like she's discovering the steps for the first time. I loved Putrov's and Dowell's mime sequences as well as the beautiful pas for Clara and the Nutcracker --- the rippling, falling curtain at the beginning is such an exquisite bit of theatricality.

--Andre

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