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Chopin / Adam: Les Sylphides/ Giselle [DVD] [NTSC] [2011]

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Svetlana Beriosova, Violetta Elvin, Alicia Markova, John Field, Nadia Nerina
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ICA Classics
  • DVD Release Date: 31 May 2011
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004TWOWUE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,221 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

These two valuable studio performances comprise rare archive material featuring internationally renowned dancers released for the first time on DVD. Les Sylphides, introduced by one of the founders of modern British ballet, Tamara Karsavina, is one of the earliest examples of a complete filmed ballet in the BBC archives. The production boasts a stellar cast, including Alicia Markova, Prima Ballerina Assoluta and Founder and President of English National Ballet. Markova, invited by Diaghilev to join his Ballet Russes at just fourteen, was the first British dancer to become the principal dancer of a ballet company. Svetlana Beriosova became a prima ballerina at Sadlers Wells in 1955, and Violetta Elvin, one of the Bolshois most promising talents was often seen as Fonteyns closest rival. Giselle, one of the most popular ballets from the Romantic era, features Nadia Nerina in the title role. Renowned as the best technician at Covent Garden in the 1950s and 1960s, Nerina was famous for her acrobatic lifts. New York Times critic on Nerina: She is as pretty as a picture, has great charm and can dance like a million dollars.....we shall all be fighting to drink champagne out of her slippers!

Review

Here is a Giselle to treasure. This Les Sylphides is essential viewing. --Clement Crisp, Financial Times, 25 June, 2011

Several ballet legends make rare appearances on film in a DVD of outstanding recordings of Giselle & Les Syphides from the BBC archives. --Rupert Christiansen, The Mail on Sunday, 17 July, 2011

Customer Reviews

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This is long overdue but thanks to ICA CLASSICS we can go back in time to a magical performance of Les Sylphides with the great Alicia Markova, light as thistledown. The performance also brings together the very young Svetlana Beriosova, only twenty at the time and at the beginning of a great career as a ballerina of the Royal ballet. Beriosova's elegant arms and wonderful back are already in evidence when this film was made. Also sharing the spotlight is the Russian born ballerina Violetta Elvin exquisite in the Mazurka. The performance opens with the magnificent Tamara Karsavina remeniscing about her own great career.The camera work is very much in its infancy but when you have dancing of this calibre you soon forget and are transported into the magic of dance not always seen today!!!
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There is so little on film of Svetlana Beriosova and Violetta Elvin that this DVD is worth buying for that alone. Even in the confines of a very tight BBC studio you get the essence of why they were rated as highly as they were. Markova has all the style and mystery that made her the prima ballerina she was.

You also have the added attraction of the LES SYLPHIDE being introduced by Tamara Karsavina, who created the piece for Michel Fokine (dancing with Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky, no less)., with a wonderful cast. The GISELLE is another archival document, with a wonderful cast.

If you are interesting in ballet you should have this in your collection.
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I would only recommend this DVD to those ballet-lovers who have already seen Giselle and are buying it for the dancers. For those who haven't seen Giselle I would recommend a more modern production for first time viewing. This is simply because the filming style is quite poor, the cameras don't move with the unfortunate results of the screen showing only a dancer's skirt as she is carried off-stage past the camera. Giselle also seems more like a film with dancing than dancing being filmed as it is filmed in a studio rather than on stage. Other than that I have no problem with this DVD as the dancing is wonderful and is something to treasure.
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*** THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THE BALLETCO WEBSITE AND IS WRITTEN BY JANE SIMPSON ***

It’s long been known that the BBC has a unique store of dance treasures locked up in its archives: film after film of the great dancers of the last 60 years, in famous and fascinating productions, all of them unavailable to the general public. We were allowed occasional glimpses, usually during Jane Pritchard’s unmissable NFT seasons, but it seemed that the problems of copyright, performance rights and expense, which presumably prevented a general release, would never be satisfactorily resolved. Now, however, the ICA Classics company has apparently discovered the needful ‘open sesame’ and is publishing a whole series of these past glories on DVD: this one is shortly to be followed by Pineapple Poll and The Lady and the Fool, and then there’s a disc of Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes in extracts from the three Tchaikowsky classics – and after that, who knows?: we could finally get to see Margaret Dale’s brilliant Petrushka, or even the Haydee/Doyle/Seymour mini-Onegin.
There’s a caveat, though: these performances were filmed more than half a century ago and we are seeing not only the dancing but also the television technology of the time. Before you can form any opinion about the dancers you need to discount the effect of tiny studios, live performance after too little rehearsal time, still-experimental camera work, and minimal scenery. On this disc,the Sylphides – dating from 1953 and the fourth oldest film in the whole archive – actually gets a more straightforward presentation than the Giselle from 5 years later. From contemporary reports it sounds as if in between, the experiments had got rather out of hand: E.C.
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