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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner!, 15 Jun 2007
By 
Georgios Xenias (Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Prokofiev: Ivan The Terrible [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Eisenstein's "Ivan the terrible" -considered one of the greatest films of all time,- is a grand epic, narrating Ivan's rise to power and bloody reign, and, at the same time, a study of a dictator's psychology and his gradual descent to madness. Despite a superb musical score by Prokofiev and a spectacular dance sequence near the end, this could hardly be considered ballet material.
Although he uses Prokofiev's score, Grigorovich, who created the ballet version, wisely tries to avoid comparison by always keeping a safe distance from his source. Unfortunately, Fyodor's dance is sacrificed in the process, -the only disappointing bit in an otherwise fascinating work. Instead of the chief-henchman dressed as a fairy-tale princess, here we get Ivan himself dressed as an old man, butchering the Boyars, while his guards dance around him.
The plot has, of course, been simplified. The story centers on Ivan's love for his first wife, Anastasia. The choreography is typical Grigorovich: an extremely demanding, classical concept, incorporating modern dance elements. The result is a striking, very expressive, dramatic ballet.
It is hard to imagine any dancer, other than Mukhamedov, in the part of Ivan. His dancing abilities verge on the superhuman and his acting manages to portray Ivan's mental decline with frightening effect.
Bessmertnova, dancing Anastasia, was in her early forties when this was filmed. If it weren't for a couple of unwise, -but I guess, unavoidable,- close-ups, nobody would notice it. Her form and movement are wonderfully elegant and expressive.
Gedminas Taranda is Kurbsky, Ivan's friend and rival for Anastasia's affections. Had he been dancing next to anyone other than Mukhamedov, he would have certainly stolen the show. Even here, though, he manages to hold his own against his co-star's tempestuous performance.
All in all, a superb performance of a very interesting ballet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sparky the terrible, 24 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Prokofiev: Ivan The Terrible [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
The dancing was wonderful; athletic, aesthetic, impressive; the music was psychologically exactly right, clever, atmospheric, utterly apt; but why, why, why was the stage so darkly lit that I wanted a torch to be able to see the virtuoso dancing?
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Prokofiev: Ivan The Terrible [DVD] [2005]
Prokofiev: Ivan The Terrible [DVD] [2005] by Natalia Bessmertnova (DVD - 2005)
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