I drafted this review just after having finished viewing "Josephs Legende" (music by Richard Strauss), the ballet, as the great John Neumeyer choreographed the work, altering it somewhat from its original 1914 conception. Kevin Haigen appears in the title role and, let me tell the world, HE IS FABULOUS, a wonderful dancer already at this point in his career (1977) and physically of achingly youthful male loveliness, all the more so as his body is stripped to a mere loincloth, revealing his superb physique. The video is exceedingly well filmed, one that expertly captures the stage view, whether, variously, up-close or recessed, what a dance-minded viewer wants and needs most to see, and the audio aspect satisfies, too, the great orchestra`s playing luxurious and vivid (the conductor, Heinrich Hollreiser, being very experienced as a conductor of Strauss` music), captured in good sound. This DVD (Deutsche Grammophon 00440-073-4315) is extraordinary and any lover of classical ballet ought to obtain it (or at least find a way to watch it). Since I. Taylor already has written perceptively of this filmed ballet, my comments here are brief (and confirmatory).
Musicologists long have tended to denigrate Strauss` music in this particular score, but it works with wonderful immediacy as a balletic theatre piece and, in context, is lushly sumptuous and drammatically apt. I wanted, without delay, on first viewing, to watch this DVD over and over again, which is not hard to do, given that the ballet is fairly brief. John Neumeyer`s choreography is quite beautiful and interestingly inventive, potently erotic in an headily pansexual manner, a wonderful vehicle for Kevin Haigen`s immense talent as well as for the other dance soloists, of whom Franz Wilhelm, as Potiphar, is particularly fine. Otain this DVD without further delay; it will be one to cherish and to view many times over!