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Stravinsky: The Firebird & Les Noces -- Royal Ballet [DVD] [2010]

The Royal Ballet , Royal Opera House Orchestra    Exempt   DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House Orchestra, John Carewe
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Sep 2002
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006BCCX
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,110 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Two very different Stravinsky ballets are here presented by The Royal Ballet: the traditional, colourful designs perfectly suit the opulence of The Firebird, contrasting with the later, more austere, ritualistic scoring and choreography of Les Noces ("The Wedding"). Firebird is a traditional fairytale: the Prince gets his girl (a princess, naturally), with a little help from a magical Firebird, by defeating the evil Kostchei, who's holding the Princess and her fellow maidens captive. The devil notoriously gets all the best tunes, and with the riveting presence of David Drew's Kostchei it's apparent that baddies get the best moves in dance, too. Leanne Benjamin is an immensely athletic Firebird and Jonathan Cope, as the Prince, dances with style and personality.

Les Noces is, by contrast, a genuine ensemble piece, with the principals (the bride and groom) being almost less important than the corps de ballet itself. There are a few moments of less-than-perfect ensemble here, but these pale into insignificance in the face of the raw power of Stravinsky's angular music (scored for four pianos, percussion and chorus with solo voices). A third item finds Stravinsky conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in his own Firebird Suite. The date was 1965 and he was a frail 83 at the time, but the concentration of the reading is compelling, as is his own stern visage, only breaking into a smile at the very end of the performance. This is an excellent filler for a first-rate ballet release.

On the DVD: The Firebird & Les Noces on this disc are presented with terrific technical values, both visually and in sound quality (the Stravinsky archive performance is in mono, however, but it's perfectly respectable). This is a real feast for the eye, backed up by solid documentation in the booklet and excellent additional features--David Drew's arch and entertaining "Nijinska's World" and behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage--that will appeal to both seasoned ballet fans and those who are new to the art form. --Harriet Smith

Product Description

Firebird and Les Noces

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A warning 14 Sep 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The two ballets on the disc have received much justified praise from reviewers. That said the marketing policy of Covent Garden productions leaves much to be desired. The DVD is advertised as having as a bonus 1965 footage of Stravinsky (then aged 83) conducting a performance of the Firebird Suite. This very interesting archive material is advertised on the back of the jewel case and included in the listings published in the booklet but is in fact not included on the DVD. In its place rehearsal footage is included.

The two ballets are well worth the purchase but I am not alone among reviewers to express disappointment at deliberate shabby practice.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stil going strong! 23 Jun 2009
Almost identical cast gave this performance again at Covent Garden May 2009! - Luckily I saw it twice - Superlative!! Did you know that the Rite of Spring is not yet recorded due to royalty costs etc? so its companion does not exist yet!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Royal Ballets Firebird 27 Oct 2006
By Davids
I saw this ballet when it was first performed on stage years befor and love it, so to own it on dvd is great. This perfomance of the firebird is completely faultless, everything is so great, the dancers (Benjamin, Cope, Yanowsky,Pickering, Raduenz), the costumes, the music, all is so amazing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Oyarsa
I bought this because of Firebird. I got the chance of watching a live performance and was stunned by both the music and the choreography (bit modern but with classical steps).
I was disappointed that this is Fokine's version, which is great, don't get me wrong, but it's not the version I saw. I was decided to enjoy it anyway and everything was perfect (dance, costumes and even acting) until the very end. Then the epilogue with the wedding where everybody is just standing there and doing almost nothing got me very confused. "So that's it?", I thought, "No pyrotechnics for the end?" Well..., no. And this unimaginative ending almost ruined the show for me.
I may need a second view to get used to this version and I might watch it again just for the first part but the end will annoy me every time. I know it.

As for Les Noces, this was a new piece for me. Never heard about it before so I was prepared for anything. Well, I must admit that I read the comments on The Faber Pocket Guide to Ballet so more or less I knew what's going on.
But I found the editing is very poor. More than anything this ballet needs a global view where you can see what happens in the whole stage. All the characters are always doing something and focusing the camera in just one area of the stage ruins the whole concept of masses that I think Nijinska wanted. Especially in the final part, you get to see the corps the ballet (female or male) but you're losing the action with the principals located back in the stage and over a platform.
Furthermore, the ballet is singed (in Russian I believe) but no subtitles are available nor any translation of the lyrics can be found in the booklet.
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AN ODD COUPLING. 24 Sep 2006
By Embury
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