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Many thanks for the heads up, bingham!

It's a little tricky to search for now. So far, there's no unique ID assigned, and it's listed as "Glazunov: Raymonda (2012)" with no reference to La Scala at all, except on the (unsearchable) cover art graphic, but searching for that brings up no results. If you search for "Glazunov: Raymonda", you'll need to scroll down the results page.

Please note that it's offered in Blu Ray and regular DVD versions, and they are listed as separate entries, not necessarily consecutively.

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I ordered this DVD via Amazon UK and received it yesterday. The DVD is all I hoped for after I read the detailed descriptions in the respective thread. Costumes and stage setting are beautiful, the dancing of the corps is excellent and the soloists are brilliant.

I was so glad I bought this… until Raymonda's variation during the third act started.

During this variation, which is danced beautifully by Olesia Novikova, some "artistic" person decided to fade in the hands of the piano player who accompanies this variation. The fading occurs on the right side of the screen and does not interfere with Novikova's dancing, but it is extremely distracting if you suddenly see those hands. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it, absolutely useless and in my opinion an effrontery against the dancer!

I am really angry at Arthaus or whoever is responsible for this and if there were more current performances of Raymonda available on DVD I honestly would think about returning the DVD, but as this is not the case…..

If anybody has already received a Blu-ray of the ballet, please let me know if there is the same problem or if there is possibly a choice option to avoid this silly fading.

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I just received my copy and watched it twice. The split screen with the piano keyboard is very odd, as they don't do anything like that anywhere else. But I did note that this musical section is unusual in having a solo instrument with almost no orchestration "behind" it, at least compared with the rest of the score. The credits say "directed for TV and video by Lorena Sardi," so perhaps she is responsible for this odd choice. Otherwise, the camera work was excellent. My test: is the camera looking at the things I want to look at? Ensemble, full-stage from above, close-up, etc.

I love this DVD. The lavishly detailed costumes are impressive and the knee-length tutus are startling, but it sounds like they did extensive historical research on this (and everything else), so it's interesting to see.

One small detail I noticed in a close-up: Olesia Novikoa (trained at the Maryiinsky) adds thick yarn in a blanket stich around the pointes of her shoes. I've seen that with several other Russian dancers, but not Americans, and wondered if that's the generally accepted practice in Russia to add stability (presumably).

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Yes, I find the piano appearance jarring and distracting. What is worse is that there are two split seconds when the screen goes black. I think it is when the editor removes the piano (split screen) but when it is put back on the side there is no blacking out. So why did they need to black out the picture to make the piano disappear? It happens twice, and it is just a split second both times, but SO annoying! This is a pivotal variation, and it is just too much distraction. That is my only complaint too. I actually can live with the piano, but the two split second black outs are horrible!!!

But the entire rest of the video is wonderful. I was glad to be able to see the picture more clearly than the YouTube version and to be able to make it a large screen. I'm glad there is finally a commercial version available that is not from the 1980s!!! Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the other versions I have, but the video quality is not the same.

This new version (which is more historically accurate apparently than the other versions available) is a gem, although the corps seems to have moments when they are not all placed properly. Overall, it isn't bad and the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

I do like how the Bolshoi makes Jean de Brienne's and Abderahman's roles a bit larger and gives them more exciting choreography (Grigorovitch's choreography) on the one hand, but I love being able to see how the "original" ballet looked as well. Basically, I like both approaches.

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Thanks to an exceptionally kind person on this forum, I was lucky enough to see the Raymonda telecast shortly after it aired. I've had a hard time paying off student loans, and with money in general, and actually didn't realize this had been released as a BluRay until a few months back.

Finally watching it, all I can say is wow. While Sleeping Beauty holds a special place in my heart as the perfect classical ballet, Raymonda comes close. I think in it, particularly when you watch this reconstruction, you see Petipa taking ballet to its purest form. Which is probably why the story matters so little--and yet, I think this production shows that the story works better when it's not toyed with. The various Soviet era versions stip away the mime (and at least in Sergeyev's Kirov version, and by all accounts the current Bolshoi version) remove the White Lady, but I think that does it a diservice. The only thing missing from the reconstruction is more dancing for the men--though I shudder to think of a Nureyev moment of introspection (I admit, I've not seen his version of the ballet with the POB). (The moment with the piano, as mentioned above, is horrible--I hoped that was just something due to the telecast, but at least it's a variation we've been able to see many times before.)

An amazing release--I only wish the Mariinsky's Sleeping Beauty reconstruction had been similarly filmed.

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Eric, I am so glad you love Raymonda. I don't know why I do either. Maybe it is because of what you said. It does seem like pure Petipa.

I do love the sets and story telling (mime) in the La Scala video and Novikova is terrific (although she was even better, in my opinion, in this past September's Raymonda at the Mariinsky).

This is definitely an important dvd release that captures what Raymonda probably looked like in Petipa's time. So I treasure it.

But I have to say that I prefer the Mariinsky version simply because the corps de ballet is so gorgeous with what I call their ocean flowing arms. When they dance together and those arms are flowing, I melt. I only see Novikova with Mariinsky style arms in the La Scala video. The rest are much more stiff looking to me.

Even the Sergeyev Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky is my favorite. I know people will be aghast that I prefer the Sergeyev over the reconstruction. When the fairies enter in the Sergeyev version with their ocean flowing arms altogether it takes my breath away. It is such a beautiful moment for me. When the fairies do not enter with ocean flowing arms like at other companies I am disappointed.

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I was going to write a (much delayed) post about seeing the Mikhailovsky's production of Swan Lake in Vancouver this past June, One thing I really noticed was the corps seemed to really be aware of that sensibility, even though the production stems from the Soviet era. Lines were softer, and it didn't feel imposed on them, the way it does sometimes (I agree with you Helene) in the Scala Raymonda.

The K Sergeyev Sleeping Beauty remains my favorite of the filmed versions--I think partly because I grew up obsessed with the early 1980s video with Kolpokova, so in a way that is what ballet is for me. Seeing the reconstruction thanks to youtube has changed some of that, but I admit, I still think his version of the prologue is beautiful--if (largely without all of the mime) quite different.

The New Years DVD you mention is a great document of Act III (as well as the brief scene before), The documentary about the Mariinsky, Sacred Stage also shows most of the vision scene from the previous act, albeit filmed more from the wings which I find annoying. I do wish the entire production had been filmed (it's still listed on their website repertoire so maybe it still can be) at the least to have a visual document of such a reconstuction. Honestly, at my most cynical, it seems like a wasted money opportunity for the company.

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Right now, the best we have for the Mariinsky reconstruction of "Sleeping Beauty" is Act III with Obrastzova on the "New Year's Eve in St. Petersburg" DVD.

I think it is not Obrastzova but Osmolkina on the "New Year's Eve in St. Petersburg" DVD.

Yes, I was mistaken: it is Osmolkina as Princess Aurora. Thank you for the correction!

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...The New Years DVD you mention is a great document of Act III (as well as the brief scene before), The documentary about the Mariinsky, Sacred Stage also shows most of the vision scene from the previous act, albeit filmed more from the wings which I find annoying. I do wish the entire production had been filmed (it's still listed on their website repertoire so maybe it still can be) at the least to have a visual document of such a reconstuction. Honestly, at my most cynical, it seems like a wasted money opportunity for the company.

I'm ITA with you. The Mariinsky should film it for the historical record, if nothing else. The 1890 reconstruction was one of the productions to get fully funded and designed before the financial crisis really hit Russia in the late 90s. Unfortunately, the current leadership, the old guard in the company and the Theatre, the pedagogues and coaches looked, and continue to look at the reconstructions as illegitimate. They believe that they can't be trusted

as "authentic." They were brought up to believe that Nikolai Sergeyev stole the notations from the Mariinsky when

he brought them to the West. Actually, in retrospect, he was trying to save and preserve Stepanov's notations.

He was also painted (after the Revolution), as a despised ballet master in the company. N. Sergeyev was a traitor, thief and "villain" who stole Mariinsky Theatre property; that was the official narrative. Lenin, with much persuasion, eventually changed his mind about the ballet and the opera, seeing their value as propaganda tools, and

decreed that these performing arts should be for all people, not the elite few. Ballet was considered to be an

art of the nobility. Everything associated with Imperial Russia had to be destroyed.

I remember that it wasn't only the 1890 "Beauty" that was controversial, this was also the issue they had with 1900 "Bayadere" recon staged in the early 2000s. Fydodor Lophukov 's and Konstantin Sergeyev's redactions were approved by the Soviet authorities as they were intent on rewriting everything, history - as well as Russian ballet history - i.e. starting from scratch. Konstantin Sergeyev's "Beauty" is especially beloved by the company and Petersburgers, because it was this production, as well as his redactions of "Raymonda" and "Swan Lake," that helped the city recover after the 900 day siege it endured during World War 2. These productions gave the people hope, color and joy after alot of suffering and sacrifice. This is why the Sergeyev productions remain beloved and are sentimental on a lot of levels for the dancers and the people. This is also true of the Vasily Vainonen "Nutcracker" (1934), which they still perform and tour frequently. It's performed much more than the recent Simonov Chemiakin "Nutcracker." All subsequent reconstructions have been staged at the Bolshoi, La Scala and in

Tokyo by Sergei Vikharev. Both he and they have been welcomed in these theatres, but not in the Mariinsky Theatre. It's very sad.

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The reconstructions were not uniformly accepted by all of the Bolshoi dancers: Tsiskaridze was very vocal about doubting their authenticity, especially the "based on Petipa" new choreography. Given what's come to light about his recent petition/coup attempt, thses remarks could have been as self-serving.

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Cygnet--I am sure somone here can correct me, but the reconstruction of Bayadere was played even less than Beauty. I've read the book about all the issues behind the Beauty reconstruction--and I understand the thinking behind some of it. What I meant about my cynical thought was I think a DVD selling itself as a reconstruction of the original Sleeping Beauty--even if that could, and has been debated--would sell better than a lot of current ballet DVDs.

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I can understand the uneasy feeling on presenting this reconstructions, but if anything...what has been done to make up for otherwise "lost" fragments that were reinserted in this "new-old" stagings...? I'm thinking mainly about the last act of Bayadere. Does that mean that if going today to the Mariinsky one ought to watch a truncated ballet just as if lack of machinery-(the main issue for its suppression during Soviet times)-is still an issue, when in reality it is not...?

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Cygnet--I am sure somone here can correct me, but the reconstruction of Bayadere was played even less than Beauty... What I meant about my cynical thought was I think a DVD selling itself as a reconstruction of the original Sleeping Beauty--even if that could, and has been debated--would sell better than a lot of current ballet DVDs.

Yes, the "Bayadere" recon had even fewer performances and was retired long before the 1890 was abandoned. In fact, the

only thing they've kept of the "Bayadere" recon are the costumes, which they still use today. They immediately went back to the Vahktang Chabukiani staging. I'm ITA with you that should have recorded the 1890 "Beauty" when they had the opportunity, not only for the reasons you mentioned, but for history's sake. Had they done so, it would be an ongoing source of income for the brand.

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I love the 1980 recon of SB and wish it had been preserved on video as well. The Sergeyev production of SB however has its charms and although it deletes a lot of mime it's a decent, pretty production. What sets my teeth on edge is the Sergeyev Swan Lake and the changed ending. In that case, there wasn't any artistic reason behind it -- it was purely to satisfy the tastes of TPTB that only wanted to see "happy" things onstage. I've seen sublime performances of Swan Lake from the Mariinsky and then there's the finale where everyone is just standing around awkward as Rothbart writhes onstage. The concept behind the fairy tale is COMPLETELY gone -- what happened to Siegfried's vow that he broke? What happened to the idea that Odette is a prisoner forever since Siegfried broke the vows? What's more, the heart-rending dances for the swans and Odette/Siegfried in Act Four are just sort of gone to waste. Everyone stands downstage smiling.

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The Bayadere reconstruction has pros and cons, in my opinion. When I saw the reconstruction of Bayadere I missed the Golden Idol big time. Even though this is a later addition it has almost become iconic. There are other little things as well. There are definite pros but there are also cons. With these reconstructions you gain some things and lose other things.

I read that another theory about ending Bayadere after Kingdom of the Shades is that the Soviets did not like the sort of religious aspect of the final act. Who knows what the real reason is for the Soviets truncating it. There are various theories. The final act did not need much machinery or labor force to make it work (from the looks of it) at least not in the reconstruction. I think Russian audiences are so used to it ending after the Kingdom of the Shades that they went back to the Soviet version. Some of the dancing in the final act was actually placed into the Engagement Scene long ago, so it is really a mixed bag and problematic. When doing the reconstruction you are placing some dancing in places where people are not used to it.

I think these reconstructions should be preserved on video, but I think there is an element of taking an eraser and deleting the traditions that slowly came into play as years went by if you replace traditional productions with brand new reconstructions that may or may not be accurate to Petipa. One case in point is the lovely way the fairies enter in Sleeping Beauty in the Sergeyev version. I actually prefer that over the SB reconstruction fairy entrance. I would hate for the Sergeyev fairy entrance and ensuing choreography to be lost to history also, although there is a commercially available video, so I guess it wouldn't be.

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Cygnet, one thing you mentioned was Vikharev stagings for Tokyo--what productions have been done there?

As I think I already said, I have a big soft spot for the Sergeyev Sleeping Beauty. I miss the mime (particularly in Act I), but I think it's a very good production overall, and I get why they want to keep it--I was fine with them keeping both it and the reconstruction, maybe just for special occasions, in the repertoire.

The Kirov's La Bayadere already used the scenery from the 1900 production--right? (I could be wrong about that, but I thought it did.) That's a good point that we basically have been told that the final act was dropped due to the special effects--so why cut it now? But maybe they just feel it's too long... Regardless, there obviously are very strong feelings against these reconstructed productions--otherwise why go through all the expense of staging them, and then dropping them so quickly? Is the beautiful one act Awakening of Flora still ever performed?

ANd I absolutely agree about the Swan Lake. While I'm not as keen on his production, Grigorovich did go back and change his happy ending for the Bolshoi after the fall of the Soviet regime--I wish someone would do the same for the Mariinsky's at the least. That said, I saw the Mikhailovsky production, based on the old Bolshoi staging, in Vancouver this Summer which has a happy ending. I largely loved the production (even the Jester...), but would have prefered the sad ending--but still thought the ending as staged worked better than it does as staged at the Mariinsky. But beyond your valid points, Canbelto, about the fairy tale elements now not making sense, Tchaikovsky's score doesn't support a happy ending either, IMHO. Yes, it goes to a major key change at the very end, but for me that supports the apotheosis with them reunited in death--not this grand ending with Rothbart killed.

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What I believe should had been done since the beginning was to create a healthy mix of whatever had worked in soviet productions with elements that could be added and/or substituted in favor of a better offering. As I said a while ago, I don't think modern audiences are very able to give up Lilac's pointes and tutus in favor of the XIX century "Miss Columbia Pictures" lady, but I'm sure these same audiences would be happy to be offered the temple destruction and proper end of Bayadere.

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