This is a very classical production of Giselle by the Kirov forces in the early 1980s. Sets and costumes are exactly what one would expect in this kind of production: traditional and beautiful. In the second Act there are some impressive tricks (dancers floating above the stage, etc.), which are perfectly executed and quite effective. The picture and sound quality are good. The performance was filmed live, so you get the audience's responce (which I like), as well as some thumping from the dancers' feet (which I could do without).
I believe there is no need to stress that the corps is great. Anyone who has seen Kirov performances from that era knows that they carried sort of a guarantee of excellence.
Terekhova, who dances Myrtha, the Queen of the ghosts, is pefect. The absolute control of movement combined with an icy expression, gives a spooky and at the same time fascinating feeling to the part. I wish she had more to do -I couldn't get enough of her.
Zaklinski is Albrecht, Giselle's controversial lover. I had seen him before in the Kirov's Corsaire, dancing the slave-trader, which is almost a character role. He was great there too, but what a surprise to see him here. He is an excellent noble dancer, very stylish, very handsome, and a good actor, too. Acting abilities were mandatory in this case, not only beacause of the complexity of the part, but also because he was coupled with such a Giselle!
Which brings us to Mezentseva, the Giselle. She is the main reason I'm writing this review. I've read reviews describing her as "an ancient anorexic" (in the UK Amazon) or even "a bag of bones". True, she is not pretty. She is tall, her shoulders are broad and she is VERY thin. If I were the costume designer, I'd have covered her arms and bust by all means. But a great artist does not need looks. And a great artist she is. One minute after she appears, the "look" issue was forgotten for me. Her dancing is excellent, in the best Kirov tradition. Wonderful, fluid movement, absolute control, perfect form, -everything you'd expect from a Kirov prima ballerina,- but her ACTING is what absolutely took my breath away. What a wonderful Giselle she is! Her Act I finale almost had me in tears. In fact she IS in tears, herself. You can see them streaming down her cheeks as she turns from her mother to Albrecht in despair. Her madness and death-scene are unforgetable. And how naturally she slides into the un-natural state of Giselle in the 2nd Act. She is and is not the village girl anymore. She is gentle, compassionate and detached. A spirit.
This was a very rewarding purchase for me, and, unless what you are looking for is a lovely creature dancing pirouettes, I would definitely recomend it.