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The Royal Ballet [DVD] [1960]


Price: £6.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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£6.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 weeks. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Royal Ballet [DVD] [1960] + Fonteyn And Nureyev - The Perfect Partnership [DVD] [2011] + Swan Lake: Wiener Symphoniker (Nureyev) [DVD] [2005]
Price For All Three: £32.99

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Product details

  • Actors: Margot Fonteyn, Michael Somes, Brian Ashbridge, Rosemary Lindsay, Julia Farron
  • Directors: Paul Czinner
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen, Widescreen, Mono
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Mar. 2007
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MQCBMM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,152 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Margot Fonteyn leads the Royal Ballet in this 1960 showcase which was filmed at the Royal Opera House. The footage includes three performances in which Michael Somes partners the prima ballerina, comprising Stravinsky's 'The Firebird', Act II of Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' and Henze's 'Ondine' for which choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton specifically created the title role for Fonteyn.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 94 people found the following review helpful By customer on 23 Jun. 2008
Format: DVD
Paul Czinner was a visionary film maker who preserved a number of great historic performances. Among them are Furtwangler's Don Giovanni at Salzburg with Cesare Siepi and Elisabeth Grummer, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, an abridged Bolshoi Giselle with Galina Ulanova, and in this worthy company, Margot Fonteyn in The Royal Ballet.

Czinner invented an effective method for filming stage performances. Here he captures the pre-Rudi Fonteyn, lovely, creamy and with enough moist, bloom of youth for close and intimate shots. While the film is called The Royal Ballet, it's really a Fonteyn extravaganza.

There are three balletic excerpts that all feature Margot Fonteyn. In the Daneman biography "Margot", we learn that Fonteyn was closely identified with Ondine, but The Firebird should have gone to Nerina, whose "spectacular attack and ballon cast her as an obvious Firebird." Beriosova was an acclaimed and legendary Odette, but was overlooked. Sadly, there are almost no commercial films available of Beriosova's dancing.

Fonteyn is stunning, though, in Swan Lake. Her acting abilities and velvety power are mesmerizing in a gorgeous Act II, where she is partnered by the blandly handsome Michael Somes. However, she's not quite Firebird material. A bit too proper and ladylike to be believable as the mythological beast, even her costume seems to overpower her refined daintiness. But I love it anyway, although Nina Ananiashvilli has much more of the wild and sexual animal in her than Fonteyn could ever hope to muster on stage.

Ondine, written for Fonteyn by Sir Frederick Ashton, is a perfect vehicle for her gifts. She's at her best as the vulnerable nymph who emerges from the waterfall.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Balletomane on 2 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD
As others have said this is worth having as a record of the RB at one of its best periods. For that alone it is a good buy and to see Fonteyn in her prime makes it exceptional.What a pleasure to see her elegant skill again and to be reminded of the added charisma seen when she was performing live.Regretably no dvd can communicate that but this one comes close for those of us fortunate to have seen her on stage.She is the star of this dvd and rightfully so, with the bonus of a New Zealand connection through Bryan Ashbridge and Alexander Grant. Ashbridge was married to Rowena Jackson who was renowned at the time for her technique in completing the 32 fouettes in Act 3 of Swan Lake (and how times have changed with that) while Grant (like Jackson) was another New Zealander who went to England and a wonderful career with the RB. To see him in his prime is a rare opportunity to also be reminded of just how good he was so for anyone from the New Zealand ballet community this is a must have recording.Highly recommended both as a dance documentary and for the quality of the performances thanks to Czinner's production.Now if only someone could find a vault with films of the other stars of the RB of the time as mentioned by others, what a trip down memory lane that would be!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Scott-mandeville VINE VOICE on 22 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this trio of ballets - The Firebird, the White Act from Swan Lake, and Ondine - in the early sixties in a small, local cinema, and I was mesmerised by the magic. Margot Fonteyn is simply beautiful in all three roles: as the passionate, mysterious Firebird; as the lyrical, doomed Swan Princess in Swan Lake; as the innocent, playful, water sprite that is Ondine. Fonteyn's talents as a Prima Ballerina are all to the fore in this delightful selection and it is a pure treat and privilege to relive the experience with the DVD. Any ballet fan will enjoy this - and I especially recommend it to younger viewers who will not remember Margot Fonteyn's special allure and expertise. Her dancing belongs to a wonderful period of British ballet and, although the Royal Ballet dancers have since become more sophisticated and more worldly, Margot Fonteyn possessed a rare, unforgettable quality of careful technique, emotional expression, and delicate line, which once seen, will never fade from memory.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Balletomane on 21 Mar. 2009
Format: DVD
This is a brilliant display of artistry by Margot Fonteyn at her peak. In particular in Ondine, a new ballet created for her, she shows both an exceptional technique and superb musicality. My only criticism is the title of the disc. It is not really about the Royal Ballet as a whole but a tribute to Fonteyn. I would have expected a disc with the title "Royal Ballet" to feature several more of their top artists even though of course Fonteyn was by far their undisputed Prima Ballerina Assoluta.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By customer on 24 Jun. 2008
Format: DVD
Paul Czinner was a visionary film maker who courageously preserved a number of outstanding historic performances. Among them are Furtwangler's Don Giovanni at Salzburg with Cesare Siepi and Elisabeth Grummer, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, a Bolshoi Giselle with Galina Ulanova, and in this worthy company, Margot Fonteyn in The Royal Ballet.

Czinner invented an effective method for filming stage performances. Here he captures the pre-Rudi Fonteyn, lovely, creamy and with enough moist, bloom of youth for close and intimate shots. While the film is called The Royal Ballet, it's really a Fonteyn extravaganza.

There are three balletic excerpts that all feature Margot Fonteyn. In the Daneman biography "Margot", we learn that Fonteyn was closely identified with Ondine, but The Firebird should have gone to Nerina, whose "spectacular attack and ballon cast her as an obvious Firebird." Beriosova was an acclaimed and legendary Odette, but was overlooked in favor of Fonteyn. Sadly, there are almost no commercial films available of Beriosova's dancing.

Fonteyn is stunning, though, in Swan Lake. Her acting abilities and velvety puissance are mesmerizing in a gorgeous Act II, where she is partnered by the blandly handsome Michael Somes. Her occasional ornaments, subtle but sexy, reveal the power, control and art that drove her audiences mad with appreciation.

However, she's not quite Firebird material. A bit too proper and ladylike to be believable as the mythological beast, even her costume seems to overpower her refined daintiness. But I love it anyway, although Nina Ananiashvilli has much more of the wild and sexual animal in her than Fonteyn could ever hope to muster on stage.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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