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4.5 out of 5 stars28
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 11 July 2000
Rudolf Nureyev's adieu to the Paris Opera Ballet, shortly his death was a sumptuous staging of Petipa's classic ballet set in India, La Bayadere.
The dancing of the Paris Opera Ballet is exceptionally fine, with all the principal roles strongly taken. The corps de ballet dance the famous shades seen in the third act quite beautifully. Filmed in widescreen with brilliant sound quality and a sensible easy to access screen menu, this DVD is an absolute must have.
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on 8 February 2004
I could not think of sufficient superatives with which to describe this performance.Every aspect of it is astonishing. From performers to production it is simply in a class of it's own. The emotions I experience every time I have watched it are the same-from sheer spine-tingling exhilaration to heart-rending tears.
Without doubt THE best ballet experience I've had ,apart from live performances of both the Kirov and Bolshoi and this DVD experience is as close as one will get to the real thing.
For all ballet lover's ,longtime or those who just want to learn more, this DVD is an absolute must. Buy it NOW, you will never regret it.A classic to be treasured for all time.
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on 19 July 2010
In my opinion this is the best Bayadère that is available on DVD, and one of the best ballet DVDs ever made: the dancers are fantastic, the costumes and stage design opulent without ever creating the impression that the stage is crowded, and the orchestra (and sound recording) is very good as well. Filming never gets in the way either.
Rudolf Nureyev finished his work on this production shortly before he died in 1993, when he was the director of the Paris Opera Ballet. About one year later a performance was filmed with the original cast, the document of which we have here.
For the rehearsals Nureyev brought Ninel Kurgapkina to Paris, who had been one of his partners at the Kirov, to help him recreate the style he had known in Russia. He also choreographed additional soli for Solor, because in the original version Solor's part consisted mainly of pantomime and partnering. The ballet ends with the third act (the Kingdom of Shades), whereas at the Royal Ballet Natalia Makarova included a reconstructed fourth act that shows the destruction of the temple.
Étoiles Isabelle Guérin, Elisabeth Platel und Laurent Hilaire are celebrated dancers, and as celebrated is the Parisian Corps de Ballet: the entrance of the 32 shades in the third act is awesome in its homogenity and precision, the effect is hypnotizing. All the dancers were trained at the same school and the way they do their arabesque penchée really creates the impression that they are 32 shades of Nikiya.
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on 19 January 2008
This production is a marvel. The disciplined training of the Paris Opera company certainly reflects on the perfection of the performance of the dancers. The principals are magnificent and the scene of the Shades is breath taking! The corps de ballet's perfect timing and immaculate precision make them the best in the world to me!
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on 16 January 2009
I have just ordered the royal ballet version of this, but I fear it will not compare, but I'l make do-I only have this on vhs video, but may well buy it on dvd all the same.Few, if any, ballets, are completely satisfying from start to finish ( save for le corsaire by the kirov)and this is in the top pantheon for this reason, mind you I have only seen about 23 ballets so I'm not a great expert.
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on 12 October 2010
This beautiful ballet was enhanced by sumptuous sets (and that wonderful elephant!) and beautiful costumes. The dancing was excellent, but the three main characters were quite outstanding - it would take some dancer to equal the beauty and grace of Isabelle Guerin. In true Nureyev fashion, the male dancers were given full roles and danced them magnificently. It was, altogether, a glorious experience watching this DVD. It should be added that it was enhanced by my having watched the DVD, also made by the Paris Opera Ballet of the documentary, 'Dancer's Dream' - The Great Ballets of Rudolf Nureyev'. To listen to the dancers speak of their roles and to see them work towards their final interpretation is so enlightening. Truly, two wonderful DVDs and a wonderful experience.
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on 17 April 2007
This is a very enjoyable production of the 19th century masterpiece of Orientalism. It is a version choreographed and staged by Rudolf Nureyev for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1992, based on a traditional Soviet era/Russian version. (Nureyev died in the following year.) As with the Russian version, Act 4 (the Wedding Scene when the temple is destroyed by angry gods) is omitted.

The dancing by the Paris Opera Ballet - the three leading "etoiles", in particular - is exemplary. Isabelle Guerin, an attractive and delicate-looking Nikiya, is excellent in the title role of "la bayadere" (the temple dancer). Laurent Hilaire (Solor), a handsome "danseur noble", has a superb technique. He is very good in variations (solo dances) in the Betrothal Scene in Act 2 and in the pas de deux in the Kingdom of the Shades scene in Act 3. Elisabeth Platel is an elegant Gamsatti.

The supporting soloists are all excellent, showing their impeccable training in Paris. Finally, the corps de ballet is impressive in the Kingdom of the Shades scene, unanimously responding to the trance-like music at the beginning of the scene.

My only reservations are the dancers' costumes and the colourful stage set. All the costumes are gaudy, and the interior of the Rajah's palace is decorated in gold. This apparently reflects Nureyev's taste. The set designer, Ezio Frigerio, justifies it by saying "La Bayadere is fundamentally nothing other than the expression of a taste for exoticism - India seen through European eyes." Yes, indeed, but this reviewer still feels that they are over the top.

On balance, however, one perhaps should not be too critical about the gaudy design when the dancing by this great ballet company is superb, and particularly when there is currently no DVD film by the Kirov or the Bolshoi available.
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on 21 December 2010
La Bayadere was never on my shopping list! By reputation, the score by Minkus is not considered to be in the same league as other classical ballets and there were numerous other ballets that would have taken precedence to this! However, an error by an Amazon Marketplace seller resulted in this disc being mistakenly sent instead of the ordered Le Corsaire and the retailer kindly allowed me to keep this disc - albeit without the correct case and product information. When I had a spare moment I gave this dvd a try and I was pleasantly surprised!

Bearing in mind the age of the recording the quality was really quite good. The colours were generally good although perhaps a bit muted in the temple scene in Act 1. No expense seems to have been spared on this performance, presumably as a lasting tribute to the great Rudolph Nureyev. While I was never going to be bowled over by the score there is much to enjoy in this ballet and the dancing is superb. I suppose that it is fair to say that Bayadere should feature in any ballet collection.

However, the Royal Ballet version with Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nunez is simply stunning and this is by far my preferred version.
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on 3 March 2011
I bought this for a friend who first saw it in Australia on holiday. The price there was at least twice the price of this one. I'm not into ballet myself but she raves over the quality of this production.
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on 11 June 2009
This performance of La Bayedere is superbly danced,as one might expect given that the choreography is by Rudolf Nureyev. The sets and costumes are colourful and the entire production is lavishly produced.Particularly worthy of mention is the sheer beauty of Scene2,Chapter34,"The entrance of the Shades",involving,as it does, the entire 32 members of the corps de ballet. Gorgeous!
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