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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bolshoi perfection and opulence with a marked sense of fun.
This production of The Sleeping Beauty was recorded at the Bolshoi in 2011. It differs from other productions in that the choreography, although referring back to Petipa, is largely the inspiration of Yuri Grigorovich. As such one might expect a ballet conceived on a grand scale with an enhanced awareness of the spectacular. This we experience and the effect is one of...
Published on 25 Oct 2012 by I. Giles

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over the top
I pre-ordered this version of Sleeping Beauty. It was at the refurnished Bolshoi Theatre and it had Sevtlana Zakharova dancing the lead. What more could I want? I was shattered. The sound and photography are amazing but those wigs and head gear! And why, when Zakarhova has such fair skin and beautiful black hair put her in a light brown wig that destroyed her looks...
Published on 6 Dec 2012 by Francis


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bolshoi perfection and opulence with a marked sense of fun., 25 Oct 2012
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sleeping Beauty - The Bolshoi Ballet [Blu-ray][Region Free] [2012] (Blu-ray)
This production of The Sleeping Beauty was recorded at the Bolshoi in 2011. It differs from other productions in that the choreography, although referring back to Petipa, is largely the inspiration of Yuri Grigorovich. As such one might expect a ballet conceived on a grand scale with an enhanced awareness of the spectacular. This we experience and the effect is one of unparalleled magnificence both in terms of the dancing and in terms of the staging. The recording does all of this proud.

To deal with the sets first: Russian ballet has always been famed for its splendid painted backdrops and this is no exception. The court scene for example shows a domed palace set within a harbour town with wonderfully detailed depictions of ocean-going sailing ships at anchor. In front of this to the side, giving a fine 3D effect, are columns of palatial proportions. There is extensive use made of curtain drops to superimpose different situations throughout the ballet. The whole effect is of visual opulence.

The costuming is of the same calibre, but all within the context of a traditional concept. Tutus, full-length dresses, male courtly costumes, country folk and all the characters in act 3 are arrayed without apparent regard to cost. The effect is of complementing sumptuousness.

The corps de ballet are justly renowned for their precision and in this recording they fully live up to their reputation. The occasional but telling use of cameras from a high viewpoint enables us to appreciate the whole choreographic patterns as well as the attractively patterned stage flooring and this enhances the normal range of views from ground level. The children are equally remarkable.

Rather than providing a list of individual points, it might be more useful to consider the way act 2 progresses in general terms as an indication of the whole.

The act starts with 4 maids gaily dancing together brandishing their knitting as they very humorously relish their home industries. Humour is a frequent element in this production as is a strong forward pace maintained by conductor Vassily Sinaisky. There follows the waltz sequence with the corps de ballet in full splendour as above. That and the following entrance of Aurora is a good place to point out the very special advantage of having this very Russian and top class orchestra. They bring a passion and thrilling intensity to the music that is unique to the Russians in this sort of repertoire. Aurora proves to be a spectacular means of showcasing Svetlana Zakharova who brings flawless technique as well as a grace to the role. The maids now return and are immediately arrested for their use of knitting needles. This balances perfectly in contrast to their last appearance and illustrated the way the choreography is designed to make dramatic links that are so often missed. After the maids are excused Carabosse makes her appearance, this time strongly characterised by the male dancer, Alexey Loparevich. He is able to bring an evil energy to the role that a ballerina would be hard to match and I would count this as an inspired idea. This whole act has a pace and cohesion that is quite special and is representative of the whole.

One must also mention the fine dancing of the American star, David Hallberg as Prince Desire, who shines on his own as well as providing sympathetic support for Aurora. The character dances in act 3 are all thoroughly enjoyable but one ought to mention Artem Ovcharenko as Bluebird with Nina Kaptsova as Princess Florine who produces near ecstasy in the audience as well as the humorous Red Riding Hood and Wolf sequence, the quietly amusing and well-observed Puss in Boots and White Cat plus the tender Cinderella and Prince Fortune sequence. None of the dancers for those last three character dances are named which is a pity as all are worth identifying individually.

The camera work is totally sympathetic and involving and the imaging is especially clear with no trace of movement blur. The sound faithfully reproduces the orchestra with depth and clarity and is presented in DTS 5.1 and stereo. As a recording I would be inclined to comment that this represents an arguably new pinnacle in the art of reproducing ballet in High Definition.

I have owned many fine video performances of this work over the years, my current favourite having been up to now the outstanding Royal Ballet version from 2007 on Opus Arte. However, for my taste, this new recording must now take at least equal place as a fine alternative.

I was hoping that this would prove to be a thrilling production as regards the dancing and in this I was right. I was also expecting spectacular and opulent sets with costuming to match and those are also here in abundance. I also have a personal fondness for Russian orchestral bite often to be experienced with Russians playing Russian music and this too can be heard. What I had not anticipated was the great sense of fun that permeates this whole production and it is that especially that makes this recording so very special for me.

If any future purchasers warm to those things as I do and that are listed above I would expect them to derive enormous pleasure from this recording. It may even come to be a favourite. The audience in Moscow certainly had a wonderful night judging by the enthusiastic support they gave. For these reasons it seems that this disc must join other recordings of the highest quality and therefore receive a full 5 star rating. Beyond that it will simply be a matter of the personal taste of each purchaser.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

The Royal Ballet version of 2007, a revival of their 1946 original production, has a lot of charm, but there is no comparison as far as dancing goes between that version and this new Bolshoi version. This version is light years beyond.
I think the Royal Ballet's 1994 version is better than the 2007 revival, which you mention is your favourite. Just my opinion. (U.K. review)

I have referred to your review in mine. I tend to agree with you most of the times... however, I have had a few points to make regarding this one, and am sure to get a few negative votes for it too. Please go through it and let me know what you think about it... I do respect your views... (U.K. review)

............................................
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over the top, 6 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Sleeping Beauty - The Bolshoi Ballet [Blu-ray][Region Free] [2012] (Blu-ray)
I pre-ordered this version of Sleeping Beauty. It was at the refurnished Bolshoi Theatre and it had Sevtlana Zakharova dancing the lead. What more could I want? I was shattered. The sound and photography are amazing but those wigs and head gear! And why, when Zakarhova has such fair skin and beautiful black hair put her in a light brown wig that destroyed her looks. I felt sorry for the four suitors in their extraordinary outfits. But the worst bit was the Wicked Fairy who was more a badly played pantomine figure than menacing. If I was the Lilac Fairy I would have waived my wand and banished him from the set. And as to the Lilac Fairy danced by Maria Allash, well she never smiled. In Spartacus she is the courtesan, full of life, wit and superb dancing. Also I felt there was too much gilt, even the rings of flowers were gilt.
I liked that they gave the Lilac Fairy more dancing and I enjoyed the dance of the four women knitters.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit 'under'whelmed..., 27 Oct 2012
By 
Satish Kamath (India) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sleeping Beauty - The Bolshoi Ballet [Blu-ray][Region Free] [2012] (Blu-ray)
I have tended to agree almost always with Mr.I Giles' reviews here, but this is one that I have my own points to put forward.

Bolshoi along with Mariyinski and Paris have an Aura about them. Anything less than meticulously perfect, and I do feel a bit disappointed.
Not that this production is disappointing, but I feel that in some places, they could have done much better than what Mr.Giles and another reviewer who wrote this before me have had to say.

HUGE PLUS POINTS:
The Corps de Ballet is about the best that I have ever seen. Their precision, their movements and just about everything else is just great. This comes through especially in the second act. Just hear the footfall... Thuds in absolute unison that it almost appears as though it emanates from the orchestra pit, and mind you, those thuds are not soft.

The video does full justice to the blu ray medium. It is far clearer and crisper than the 'other' Sleeping Beauty in this medium, ie, the Royal Ballet version.
The sound is wonderfully recorded, again, crisp with the post production editing deserving a lot of praise. The orchestra is simply WONDERFUL, and unlike Mr.Giles, I dont think the conductor had to do much. No surprises there.

This production thankfully incorporates the Farandole in the Act II as well as the Cinderella Dance in Act III along with one or two other pieces, left out by many companies like the Royal Ballet as well as Paris.

EVEN STEVENS:
I do really think Grigorovich is a great choreographer.. Just sample his 'Spartacus'. In this production, he is brilliant in parts, but very ordinary in some places. In the prologue, he crowds the stage, and the fairies are sort of 'lost' among the others. If you notice carefully, the audience applauded very few times and that too, mildly. See any other Russian production and the applause of the audience and involvement from the beginning and you will understand what I mean. The individual dances of the fairies is altered a bit and do not have the same kind of brilliance in the older versions by the Bolshoi. See these fairies in the 1983 Kirov production with Kolpakova or even earlier ones,or the earlier Bolshoi productions and you will know what I mean. But the especially ACT II and thereon, the choreography is breathtakingly wonderful.

About the Sets: Absolutely glittering. BUT With all the sets and backdrops at their disposal, did they have to repeat the backdrop of the Palace, opulent in the prologue, but shown again in the Act II covered with the woods and slightly worn out? Could just a forest backdrop have been sufficient? The Prince's entourage dance right in front of it... then how does the part of the lilac fairy's magical trip on a boat get justified? I think this is a directorial glitch of sorts. All the same, the sets are brilliant otherwise.

SOLOISTS:
Zakharova has been in the limelight for over a decade now. No doubt, she is a GREAT dancer. Her dancing is brilliant throughout, but I think her success has gone to her head - just a bit. In this production, she is dancing Zakharova and not Princess Aurora.... I honestly wish that (just wishful thinking) that Kaptsova (dances Princess Florine - blu jay here) was in the lead... definitely has to grow up a bit to be Zakharova, but her facial expressions and body language are more apt for the role of a vulnerable innocent princess Aurora, 16 years old.. Zakharova could also have avoided the wooden pasted smile with few variations, throughout the ballet.

Maria Allash, although an excellent dancer, does not have the acting abilities to match Mariella Nunez in the Royal Ballet production. Allash with her cold wooden expression throughout could shine as Myrtha in Giselle or roles such as those, but not the benevolent and crafty Lilac Fairy. The King... give me a Gary Avis or anyone out of the Royal Ballet anytime.. such limp acting...

Thumbs up to the Prince whatshisname David Hallberg is quite good. I wonder why the Ballet Production Fraternity cannot zero in on a name for the Prince... In the Royal Ballet he is Prince Florimund, here and in the older Kirov and Paris productions he is Prince Desire, and Prince Charming elsewhere.. LOL.

The other soloists, especially Kaptsova and others are just fantastic, EXCEPT -

LOW POINTS:
The witch Carabose to me in this production is a failure. She/He looks like the cross between the Gamache of Don Quixote and Widow Simone of Fille mal Gardee. Just look at the witch in the earlier productions of the Bolshoi or Kirov.. or the Royal Ballet where she is just as beautiful to look at as the various fairies... and you will know what I mean. I am sorry, but even her/his movements and dancing are disappointing - may be a directorial inadequacy... The Ghouls who accompany her too, are a disappointment, both costume-wise as well as choreography AND execution. They look a bit human instead of ghoulish creatures in spite of their tails and stuff...

With all these points, I still think this is one of the BEST Sleeping Beauty Ballets ever produced for the visual media. Between blu ray productions, Cojocaru pulls it off wonderfully for the Royal Ballet... between the two, although this is danced far far better, the sheer appeal of the former as a wholesome experience in the emotive aspects is more than well matched by the sheer brilliance in dance and recording of this one...

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How a ballet became a musical, 5 Dec 2012
By 
Philip Watts (Holmes Chapel, Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sleeping Beauty - The Bolshoi Ballet [Blu-ray][Region Free] [2012] (Blu-ray)
This is an undoubteldy spectacular account of one of classical ballet's seminal texts, but it sacrifices subtlety to scale. Part of the production's undoing is director Grigorovich's penchant for pyrotechnics over poetry: the famous and charming Colin Maillard
(Blind Man's Buff) of Act II is sacrificed to provide a flying entry for the Prince, for example, and even the rhapsodic Panorama, one of the highlights of this ravishing, score, is truncated, as if the director - choreographer is impatient to get to the next big set piece. The Bolshoi's dancing is accomplished in a rather soulless, gymanstic manner and the sets are pure Hollywood. Seekers after poetry, subtlety and musicality are referred to the Royal Ballet's production.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a perrenial favourite, 15 Aug 2013
By 
B. Van der Walt (Oudtshoorn, South Africa) - See all my reviews
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Having read quite a few negative critiques of Svetlana's dancing I decided I would be extremely critical.
I was completely seduced by the sheer beauty of her dancing. The Rose Adagio was wonderful and David Hallberg is an accomplished danseur. I was never bored as I have been with some productions. I can really say I was completely mesmerised by the music and at times found myself smiling with utter joy. A super treat
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous production of 'Sleeping Beauty', 19 Feb 2014
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Wonderful performances by Zakharova, Hallberg and Allash. Very lavish, new production. The filming was done from slightly below the stage, it seemed, which was a slight negative, but most balletomanes would love this..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic delight, 9 Jan 2014
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This is classical ballet at its very best. We watched it over Christmas and it was sheer delight. The sets are complimentary to the dancers and do not overpower, the music just perfect and overall a wonderful experience
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully danced and played but just a bit flat, 16 Dec 2012
By 
John Chandler (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sleeping Beauty - The Bolshoi Ballet [Blu-ray][Region Free] [2012] (Blu-ray)
The Sleeping Beauty is a ballet for dancing, the story is slight and there are few dramatics. It is no Spartak or Swan Lake! This production sensibley concentrates on the dancing, the costumes and sets are vey colourful and the orchestral playing is excellent. I have just two reservations: In both opera and ballet it is always a dilemma as to how much close up should be shown, the balance between the full stage and the individual performer or costume. Here we get pretty much full stage most of the time. This creates a wonderful spectacle but as Blu-ray viewers cannot whip out their opera glasses to take a close up peek at their favourite dancer the cameras need to create these moments. I felt there was not enough close ups in this production and this detracted from the performance on disc which on stage would have been magnificent. Individual performances come across as a bit flat as a consequence. The other reservation was over the picture quality which seemed slightly over digitalised. Despite these comments this is a colourful performance that ballet lovers can enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Dec 2014
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very good. as with most Russian ballet DVDs good to look at and very well danced
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 27 July 2014
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not as good as her Swan lake, but still the greatest ballerina!
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