I have the excellent Paris Opera Ballet version of La Bayadere but that recording was filmed prior to HD and the picture quality suffers accordingly. The subsequent Blu-ray version is only marginally better. However, this new Royal Ballet production is absolutely stunning, both in recording quality and from an artistic perspective. The colours of the costumes are absolutely sumptuous, with a pin sharp picture and fabulous sound recording - as we have come to expect from Opus Arte productions.
Tamara Rojo, Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nunez - a dream cast! They are all fabulous including all the supporting artists. They are all so good and I especially enjoyed Jose Martin who gave a stunning performance as the Bronze Idol in the final act - (see Cover picture). This is quite a lavish production and there are impressive set designs and staging in the final act in the Temple. The destruction of the Temple is effectively conveyed by interesting lighting effects - although perhaps a warning should be included for the strobe/flashing lighting!
An interesting booklet accompanies the dvd and the production also includes a number of interesting extras, all of which are presented in high definition. The disc has a user-friendly menu system and there are a total of 52 chapters. Another useful feature is a very helpful précis synopsis that introduces every scene. Altogether, I would thoroughly recommend this disc. Well done to everyone concerned in this glorious production!
One of the outstanding glories of this Royal Ballet performance from 2009 lies in the quality of the solo and ensemble dancers. Both Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta, once more clearly demonstrating their mutual empathy, deliver star quality lead performances. The supporting roles are also strongly portrayed with Marianela Nunez as Gamzatti being especially noteworthy. The male line-up is also of high quality with Gary Avis, Christopher Saunders, Kenta Kura and Valeri Hristov. Genesia Rosato makes a good servant to Gamzatti.
The corps de ballet deliver a performance of style and poise which will give considerable pleasure to the majority of viewers
The costuming and staging of the production are both traditional in style and sumptuous in effect.
This actual recording was made over two nights in January 2009 and is a first class example of the benefits of modern HD definition. The quality of the imaging is of consistently high quality with a good blend of close and full stage shots enabling the viewer to enjoy panoramic ensemble dancing as well as detail of the soloists in particular. The resolution of the colour is also excellent and completely capable of displaying the lavish costumes even in reduced lighting. There is no trace of movement blur. The equally excellent sound is presented in both 5.1 DTS and stereo.
The fairly extensive 'bonus' features offer real insights relating to several features of both the ballet generally as well as to this particular production. These bonus items should offer interest to both new comers and to those with greater knowledge and experience.
The first bonus is in the form of a 9 minute interview with Tamara Rojo as regards the particular challenges involved in dancing this role. This is followed by Leanne Cope and Francesca Filpi, members of the corps de ballet, who give their views on the challenges in dancing the famous shadows sequence in act 2. In particular they concentrate on the entry sequence involving up to 39 steps for members of the team as they descend to the stage.
This 8 minute feature is followed by a 20 minute series of rehearsal extracts featuring Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo individually and as a pair. The final feature is a short 4 minute film where Natalia Makarova explains her approach to directing this production, her choreography and the way it fits in with that by Petipa.
I would suggest that this is a particularly strong traditional production with excellent performances from the dancers and recorded with admirable sound and vision. As such it makes a very attractive option for potential purchasers.
La Bayadere is a difficult Ballet to bring off. For many years the soviet version ended at the conclusion of the Kingdom of the Shades scene, excluding the final destruction of the temple. This production for the Royal Ballet by Natalia Makarova provides a complete telling of the story which sees some of the dancing, normally seen in the first act transposed to the final scene prior to the temple's destruction. Not everything works dramatically, and the final scene does not match the rest of the work in inventiveness. That said, superb dancing from the leading pair of Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta as Nikiya and Solor, sweep all before them. Rojo is quite splendid both in the sultry sensuous choreography of the first Act and the ethereal beauty of the second. She is ably partnered by Acosta who always seems to be dramatically attuned when dancing with her. He is strong, virile and technically brilliant as the part demands, but seldom receives. Marianela Nunez is a fine Gamsatti, even though I cannot warm to her somewhat muted dramatic sense. The supporting cast is very good, notably Yuhui Choe as a solo Bayadere and Jose Martin as the Bronze idol. In spectacular HD picture and sound there is much to enjoy here. Extras include a voice only contribution from Makarova and an excellent interview with Rojo. Highly recommended
This was a most successful DVD and a marvellous production from Makharova. It is absolutely sumptuous and the dancing couldn't be faulted - with such a cast, does that surprise you?! It is to be highly recommended to all lovers of ballet.
Beware of these reviews. Not a single review is based on this listed 1991 production, but instead are all based on the 2009 production. Its time that Amazon got there act together in placing reviews against the appropriate items. I purchased this production for rare footage of Altynai Asylmuratova, Darcy Bussel and Irek Mukhamedov and was not disappointed, they are terrific. The picture quality is also excellent. The shades are not quite up to the standard of the other mentioned versions.
This production of the performance of La Bayadere,by The Royal Ballet, is splendid from the dance perspective. The performances of Acosta and the other leads is superb. However, if you wish to see a more spectacular production I would highly recommend the Paris Opera Ballet presentation, with choreography by Nureyev. It is a very much richer visual treat and has many extra dance sequences which add to the story and its development. BUT, the Royal Ballet production does included as a final ,and necessary conclusion, the union of the lovers. I do not understand why this finale is omitted from the Paris sequence. In the end it is best if you can see BOTH these productions, each has its own qualities and values. Each is well worth seeing. If only one I would say the Paris production.
This recording of a performance by the Royal Ballet in 1991 is based on Natalia Makarova's production, which generally follows the Soviet-era Russian choreography. The main difference between them is that Makarova re-created the final act of the wedding scene where the temple is destroyed by angry gods.
The main attraction of this DVD is the guest appearance of Altynai Asylmuratova, then a prima ballerina of the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet, in the role of Nikiya, the temple dancer ("la bayadere"). She brings out the heroine's inner emotions through her dancing and miming. The choreography for Nikiya is so demanding that it requires a dancer , like Asylmuratova, with technical as well as artistic maturity. In the Kingdom of the Shades scene in Act 2, she is an epitome of a classical ballerina.
Irek Mukhamedov is excellent as Solor - primarily in pas de deux as there are not many solo dances for him. These two Russian dancers show complete rapport.
Darcy Bussell is very good as Gamsatti; the role suits her style. The dramatic role of the High Bramin is acted by Anthony Dowell very convincingly. In the Kingdom of the Shades scene, the contributions from some soloists and the corps de ballet (only 24 girls instead of 32 in the current Russian versions) are generally good, although the soloists do not always achieve synchronization.
Finally, a negative point. The original score by Minkus was "arranged" by John Lanchbery (for Makarova's version) who also conducts the orchestra in this recording. Intrusive counterpoints and unnecessary variations on the original themes have unfortunately been added. Makarova could have used the traditional score currently in use in Russia. Minkus's ballet music is very good and danceable.
One of the most fabulous of Ballets. Not yet viewed the DVD as it has only just arrived. Promptly I may add. I saw these artists perform live at the Royal Opera House. Looking forward to a repeat performance.