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4.6 out of 5 stars56
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 27 December 2010
It is difficult to describe with mere words the sheer beauty and magnificence of this production. Every aspect of it is a pleasure to watch .... BUT, when the snowflakes have finished their superbly choreographed dance and the angles glide across the stage heralding the crystal sleigh of Clara and her prince taking them to a magical land it is sheer beauty and wonder.

I cannot imagine anyone not being moved by this sequence as to me it literally represents the passage of the mind from the world of reality to another place full of beauty and grace.

The production is stunning ... exactly the same as the 1985 and 2000 productions, both on disc and both I have ... BUT this is in BLURAY and the crystal clarity of the sound and picture is worth every penny of the price ... better than the best seats at Covent Garden which I can no longer afford.

Look no further, treat yourself to the very best version of this ballet by far and you will want to watch it again and again
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This is the same Peter Wright choreography as in the previous, much loved, Royal Ballet production of about a decade ago. I, like many others no doubt, was rather hoping that that earlier recording would be transferred to the new Blu-ray medium. That was not to be, but instead we have a brand new recording of the same production, albeit with different or older, dancers to consider. For those interested in the DVD version only please note that Amazon does not allow such a distinction to be made when submitting a review of a disc available in Blu-ray. Please make allowances for that when reading the following and which may well contain useful comment anyway .....

As in all re-makes there is a mixture of pluses and negatives. The negatives will be most keenly felt by those who have formed a strong allegiance to the earlier issue of course. The same will no doubt be true of this issue in the fullness of time. As this recording was made during the current run with different lead dancers on different nights there will also be those who would wish the recording had been made on different nights.

None of that matters however when considering this new recording as the earlier one is not being transferred to Blu-ray and this is the only recording of this popular production now in its 25th year now available in the new medium. So this disc simply has to be considered entirely on its own merits as a recent example of this particular production. Bemoaning the lack of the previous production as a Blu-ray, or complaining about the choice of cast on this disc as some do are simply irrelevant considerations and not in any way helpful. Offenbach summed up this sort of situation as quoted at the end of this summary review.

In my opinion, given the circumstances and choices concerning this disc, it does very well indeed. All the lead parts are well danced technically and they are supported by excellent ensemble work. The magic of the ballet is fully caught and transmitted - one has only to listen to the enthusiastic support of the audience during the performance and the extended and rapturous 7 minutes of curtain calls at the end before the final fade-out to be sure of that.

The staging and costumes are both traditional and sumptuous in terms of ballet productions and the narrative is traditional and kind to all. The orchestra, under the direction of Koen Kessels, delivers attentive and high quality playing throughout, and what a fine score Tchaikovsky provided for our enjoyment. Pure musical bliss!

The actual recording is well up to the standards of Opus Arte with crisp and well defined visuals which provide a nice balance of close-up detail and panoramic views. The sound is both full and clear and is provided in both DTS-HD and stereo.

For me personally, much though I loved the earlier production referred to in the first paragraph, I feel more than compensated for by the many advantages of this new production, not least by the marvellous recording quality. Especially for those fresh to this production therefore, I am sure that 5 stars would seem to be an easily justified assessment. The same might be said for others such as me - I hope so, as in my opinion, it seems to be fully deserving issue and likely to give plenty of pleasure and satisfaction to many future purchasers.

As Offenbach advises in La Grande Duchesse 'If you cannot have what you love, then you must love what you have' .................... Appropriate advice perhaps for some enthusiasts in this particular case.
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on 10 March 2011
Though I am not the prime ballet lover in the household - distaff side is an ex dancer -, I was extremely impressed with this recording the story line came through to me. The staging was brilliant and performances by all concerned were outstanding for me. My wife was highly appreciative of the present. The original disc contained a bad track flaw but was duly and quickly replaced by Amazon.
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on 31 January 2016
A really lovely production and with the same Sugar Plan Fairy as the Nutcracker production with Anthony Dowell playing Drosselmeyer which I have also reviewed. However in this one the principle lead dancer playing Clara is English. She is very good but she is not quite as good as the principle dancer in the Nutcracker with Anthony Dowell. Both the principle dancers in the Anthony Dowell Nutcracker are Russian and it shows.. I would like to stress that there is very little to chose between the two productions however. This Nutcracker is exceedingly good and you will not be disappointed if you buy it. It is a wonderful ballet and it is danced extremely well with beautiful costumes, colours and stage sets. For me however the Russian dancers in the Nutcracker with Anthony Dowell just have the edge. They seem to eek more from every second they are on stage and give even more to every single tiny movement, even facially they just are more expressive and more artistic. Anthony Dowell's ballet and Anthony Dowell as Drosselmeyer I would give 6 stars to as it is just THE best I have ever seen. This Nutcracker however gets and fully deserves its 5 stars because it is absolutely wonderful and a joy to own and these 2 productions are the best you will find anywhere. Absolutely superb.
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on 4 September 2010
I have long been a fan of the 2000 Release on Opus Arte of the Royal Ballet's current production of the Nutcracker, featuring Miyako Yoshida as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Anthony Dowell as Drosselmeyer and Alina Cojocaru as Clara. So I was looking forward to the release this month of a new recording of the same production, under the same director, Ross MacGibbon, but this time in High Definition and on the Blu-ray format.

What a disappointment! Whilst Miyako Yoshida, now ten years older and nearing her sell-by date continues to charm as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Gary Avis fails to convince as the great magician, Drosselmeyer, and although I have long been a fan of Iohna Loots she just does not present the same vulnerability as Clara as did the then very young Alina Cojocaru - not surprising perhaps when Ms Loots, in her mid-thirties is attempting to portray a thirteen year old girl!

From a technical point of view, Ross MacGibbon who also directed the earlier 2000 version, seems to have lost the plot and in scenes as important as the transformation scene when the Christmas Tree just grows and grows accompanied by Tchaikovsky's magnificent score, the spectacle is completely lost through extremely poor editing.

So far as extras are concerned, the earlier version contained a detailed back stage look at the transformation scene and how it was achieved - far more interesting than watching the young pupils at White Lodge rehearsing their roles. Since both releases are by the same company, Opus Arte, it is difficult to understand why the earlier footage of the transformation scene was not included as an extra.

Two other technical issues - the performance came across as a silent movie with an orchestral soundtrack. The images did not seem to be married to the music. There was no sense of presence at the performance. Clearly there were no mikes picking up the dancers' footfall and this is a great shame.

Finally, my copy of the disc appears to be faulty in that quick movements appear jerky and frozen- as if frames are missing. Perhaps the programme needs re-mastering.

What a shame that Opus Arte did not re-release the definitive 2000 version in High Definition - it has so much more going for it.
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on 26 June 2013
Firstly this is a very good production. (though I still prefer the earlier version with Sir Anthony Dowell)
I did have the DVD video of this 2009 production but unfortunately it froze a few times so I ordered a blueray.
I can see very little difference between DVD and Blueray. The Blueray looked to soft and not sharp which is what you expect from a modern recording, but the colours are very good in both formats. Very well filmed technically for the dancers, lighting and scene changes.
Lets hope we get the Evgenii Svetlanov version upgraded, but it is nice to have this one as well.
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on 5 September 2011
Un magnifique spectacle, je suis très satisfaite de cet achat, ainsi que de l'emballage et de la vitesse d'expédition.
Encore merci
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on 8 October 2010
Having looked at a number of different DVD versions of the nutcracker, I decided that I would wait for this 2010 version to be released and it was well worth the wait! The film quality is excellent with beautiful colours and wonderful surround sound. The performance itself is exquisite, the costumes and staging are gorgeous! I bought this DVD to show to a class of 11-12 year olds for music project leading up to christmas, they haven't finished it yet but both they and I loved it!
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on 31 October 2010
I agree with Robin.

We went to see this Ballet at the Opera House, at my wife's request. I must confess to not being a ballet fan but I was immediately captivated. By the end I would have happily stayed in my seat and watched the whole performance again!

Nothing quite matches "being there" but this comes close. Sprinkle a little magic into your life- watch this!
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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2013
I do not normally watch ballet these days, but having heard The Nutcracker Suite a few times over the years, I was tempted to purchase this version after reading so many positive reviews. I am glad I did because I enjoyed it tremendously. It has given me a new taste in Ballet so I ordered a version of Swan Lake on Blu-Ray and absolutely loved that as well. This is a wonderfully staged and extremely entertaining version which every fan of Ballet will be delighted to watch. Good picture and sound (DTS if you have the right equipment) even though it is not a Blu-Ray. An excellent buy of a very popular ballet.
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