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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2010
I enjoyed this setting of Mendelssohn's superb music much more than Ballanchine's effort, which I found completely overblown and unnecessarily augmented.
Ashton's choreography is totally in tune with the whimsicality of the piece, and he pays as much attention to the minor roles as to the principals.
I found all the dancing excellent. A real pleasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This short ballet, (54 minutes in this performance), by Frederick Ashton was written in 1964 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. It contained star roles for Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell and the rights to the ballet were left to Dowell in Ashton's will after he died in 1988. Anthony Dowell created this production for the American Theatre ballet seen here.

The ballet contains all the hallmarks of Ashton's work having a perfect blend of grace, humour and narrative clarity. These characteristics are portrayed with complete success in this production. All the starring roles, Titania by Alessandra Ferri, Oberon by Ethan Stiefel, Puck by Herman Cornejo, Bottom by Julio Bragado-Young, Hermia by Stella Abrera, Lysander by Carlos Molina, Helena by Marian Butler and Demetrius by Ethan Brown, are played and danced to perfection and it is difficult to imagine a more successful account on those grounds than here.

Equally the costuming and staging are completely magical in their effects and the orchestral arrangements of Mendelssohn's music by John Lanchbery are just as Ashton would have wanted I am sure.

The whole thing is topped by excellent camera work without any movement blur and in equally clear sound presented in DD 5.1, DTs 5.1 and stereo. Any snags? Well, at just 54 minutes total playing time without any extras, this seems rather pricey. On the other hand, judged purely as artistic value for money, this would probably still score 5 stars. However, we do live in a commercial world. This is still short playing time, there are no extras and it is not a Blu-ray issue even though, recorded in 2004, it could probably be presented as such.

For these purely monetary considerations therefore, I feel that, to be fair to other similar products being marketed in a competitive world, a drop of one star to 4 is probably a required judgement. I personally still get 5 stars of enjoyment out of it though!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2012
Superb music.
Superb dancing, with Puck seemingly defying gravity. His lightness and precision of movements are a joy to watch.
Nice dreamy setting.
Beautiful costumes, although I feel that Titania's dress lacks a bit of impact, perhaps too pale. Oberon's costume is very striking in comparison.
I drop a star like I. Giles because this DVD is too expensive for a 54 minute playing time while you can buy a box of 3 DVDs for much less.
But I also drop a star for the silly applauses not only at the end of each « number », but sometimes in the middle of it, covering the music. It's tacky and distracting, turning this beautiful ballet into some kind of circus.
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on 10 November 2014
wonderful film of a wonderful ballet. I loved it
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2009
The ballet does not rate as good as Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Draam which uses much of the same material and music. Good performance which I need for my collection. On this one and only time Sir Frederic Ashton comes second!
Rated on performance
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2013
I saw this ballet as a child (Royal Ballet production) and really enjoyed this version. Terrific performances by all the principals.
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