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Jewels - George Balanchine (Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra/Gergiev) Plus bonus feature [DVD] [2011] [Region 0] [NTSC]

Ulyana Lopatkina , Igor Zelensky    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: £17.73 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Jewels - George Balanchine (Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra/Gergiev) Plus bonus feature [DVD] [2011] [Region 0] [NTSC] + Cinderella [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: Ulyana Lopatkina, Igor Zelensky, Irina Goluub
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, Import, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Mariinsky
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Oct 2011
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HK8KZ0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,277 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Before emigrating to the West, George Balanchine studied in St Petersburg and was a member of The State Academic Theatre, now known as the Mariinsky. Jewels dates from late in his career as a choreographer, and was premiered at the New York City Ballet in 1967. Although it did not receive its first performance at the Mariinsky until 1999, it has since become a core part of the company´s repertoire. This performance was filmed by Brian Large at the Mariinsky Theatre and features many of the Mariinsky´s most well-known dancers alongside conductor Tugan Sokhiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Also included is an interview with the Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev. Jewels consists of three acts: Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds, featuring music by Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky respectively. There is a stark contrast in composition and style for each of the three acts, linked only by the dancers´ dazzling costumes encrusted with coloured gems corresponding to the title act. For the opening act Emeralds, the dancers appear in long green tulle skirts. The demure choreography is reminiscent of the 19th -century French school in its languid and flowing appearance and is set to the music of Gabriel Fauré. The playful second act Rubies is accompanied by Stravinsky´s Capriccio for piano and orchestra. Full of character and wit, its striking angular poses bring to mind the modern New York scene. Diamonds evokes the classical era of Imperial Russia and the dancers, dressed in flat white tutus, sparkle along to the last three movements of Tchaikovsky´s Third Symphony. The Mariinsky Ballet (formerly known as the Kirov) is probably the world´s greatest ballet company with an astonishing heritage and home to many of the most celebrated dancers. The ballet tours regularly, as well as performing throughout the year in St Petersburg. During 2011 it visits the USA, UK, Spain, South America, Japan and South East Asia.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two fine versions to choose from on Blu-ray 7 Nov 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are now two versions of this ballet to choose from on Blu-ray. This one recorded in 2006 although not released until 2011 and the one by the Paris Opera ballet and recorded one year earlier in 2005.

The ballet is a totally abstract creation by George Balanchine based on music by Faure, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. The steps danced in both versions are identical of course and are equally well performed. Both stage settings focus on the colour of the three featured jewels, my preference being for the slightly more sumptuous sets at the Mariinsky theatre. The music is equally well performed and recorded by both teams and both offer finely detailed camera work giving a nice combination of close and panoramic views. The sound in both cases offers good quality surround sound or stereo.

Although this is an abstract creation as mentioned above, it is nevertheless very traditional as regards movements and dress. It best rewards repeat viewing as some people might find the lack of narrative and drama a little dull at first. The target is actually to illustrate grace and abstract beauty as appropriate to the perceived characteristics of emeralds, rubies and diamonds. The music moves from gentle Faure to spikier but accessible Stravinsky and concluding with typical Tchaikovsky but un-typically using the conclusion of his less well-known 3rd symphony.

So which to buy? In this case there is no clear winner in my view and choice could well be based simply on price. I personally would wish to own both as the choices of camera angles and use of close-up and panoramic views vary throughout, sometimes favouring the Paris production and sometimes the Russians.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Jewels in need of resetting 14 Jun 2012
By faun070
I was looking forward to this release, presuming it would continue the party and the excitement of the time when the Kirov/Mariinsky ballet company added Balanchine's triptych to its illustrious repertory, now more than a decade ago. The concept of it alone, three plotless ballets and each of them inspired by a different precious stone; brilliant! Add to this choreography by the genius that was Balanchine (it was premiered in 1967, but it has only recently become fashion with ballet companies all over the world to have it staged for them) and success guaranteed ... or not? Because after seeing the performance captured on this Blu-ray disc I was very disappointed. The sharp camerawork reveals all the defects of this production: the clueless performance, the tired feetwork of the men, the set with its quite dilapidated look - it has been in frequent use over the years - and the old-fashioned heavy make-up of everybody.
The filming of the ballet seems not to have motivated the Mariinsky staff to give it proper attention, since a lot of the sections look wobbly and under-rehearsed. Moreover, it all lacks atmosphere (was there an audience?) and coherence, coming off as if filmed fragmentarily. Many dancers that were part of the first cast of said decade ago are produced here. And unfortunately they dance as if they have been coaxed out of retirement especially for the occasion. This certainly applies to the leading couple of the Emerald section: Zhanna Ayupova (gorgeous in her prime) and her partner Denis Firsov, whom I suspect of not having taken class for some time (!) In the jazzy Rubies the dancers have problems with how to project 20th century style Balanchine, to the point of clueless glances in the men.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mariinsky Ballet & Balanchine 13 Oct 2011
What an absolute joy! The dancers' beautiful glittering costumes fill the screen with red, green and white sparkling jewels. The first act `Emeralds' is soft and flowing, while the second act `Rubies' is all fun and frolics. The ballet ends in style with `Diamonds' featuring the world-wide star Lopatkina. There is something about her almost ethereal presence on stage that is truly breath-taking. This DVD is really something special indeed - the Mariinsky Ballet's unmatched technique is evident throughout without a moment of hesitation.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to watch 12 Oct 2011
By tmoklc
This is quite beautiful. From the cover to the dancing, to the stunning playing by the Mariinsky. For me this is the whole package. The picture quality is superb, this is a joy to watch.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I initially bought this because i'm a huge fan of the Mariinsky Orchestra (they are the best in my opinion) but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the ballet itself. The dancers are quite incredible and their technique ashtonishes me. It is beautifully shot and the close-ups of the dancers' faces is a wonderful bonus. This would also make a perfect present for any budding dancer.
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