This Raymonda is the genuine article. Long awaited, Sergei Vikharev's reconstruction of Marius Petipa's last known masterpiece (we can but guess at the marvel which the 1903 'Magic Mirror' must have been) answers all the questions raised by, and adresses all the inconsistencies of well-known versions of Raymonda - rendering all of them insipid. A word of caution though: This over 3 hour ballet is not for people who think ballet should be a thirty minute plotless 'pure dance' affair, or have been conditioned into thinking that it is allowed to cut and alter bits and pieces to fabricate a classic into something that suits the 'present day taste' (Compare: A true opera fan -or professional- would A D 2012 not dream of slicing words out of, or cut music from a Wagner or Mozart opera). About the filming I am somewhat less enthusiastic: Most ballet filming directors fall into the trap of wanting to show too much, and their cuts alternate too eagerly between close-ups of happy faces and the corps de ballet and their patterns - which as a result are not allowed to unfold. The zooming in on the point shoes of the lady dancers is dilletantish. On the other hand, the much debated shots of Raymonda's last act variation, where the dancer shares screen with the pianist I thought a nice touch, especially since a ballet solo being accompanied by a piano was an artistic novelty in ballet of composer Glazunov. The camera work of a crucial scene such as Raymonda's dream has been treated with care. The sound in general comes off good. The Scala dancers have been coached well, they are enthusiastic and possess rawer dancing qualities than, let's say, their Russian colleagues, but that gives the performance an edge. Olesia Novikova as Raymonda lacks projection (and at times musicality) but is an accomplished technician, while Friedemann Vogel is a dedicated partner and honest actor, if rather lightweight for the sturdy choreography for the knightly Jean. This commercial release represents the first of the performance culture of the Russian Imperial Ballet - long vanished, but now available to everyone, and on that merit alone it is worth five stars. For those among us willing to be enchanted by the genius of choreographer Petipa, like Raymonda is prepared to follow the White Lady to her destiny, you will be rewarded like the knight Jean de Brienne, receiving the Palm of Victory during the dream pas de deux, while the sounds of trumpeteers revealed in the apotheose at the back of the stage will send shivers down your spine.