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At last - a good 'traditional' version in good sound and vision,
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This review is from: Prokofieff: Cinderella [Blu-ray]  [Region A & B & C] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
Although this Cinderella is presented with new choreography by Bintley, the ballet could still be described as essentially the traditionally expected version. As such it will be very familiar to those who like the Cinderella story as related in most pantomimes.
Bintley's choreography has plenty of new ideas to present while remaining true to traditional expectations - a winning combination. There is clear humour in portraying the relationship between the two step sisters, Dumpy and Skinny, and their preparations for the ball with various attendants. The stepmother is suitably forbidding and together they combine to create constant unpleasantness for Cinderella without being unbearably cruel. Cinderella herself comes over as a pleasant but very ordinary girl where her own good nature wins through to the marriage of her dreams. The prince is presented as suitably elegant and attentively kind.
The dancing throughout is easily good enough to enjoy enormously and the key roles of Cinderella (Elisha Willis), the Prince (Iain MacKay), Dumpy and Skinny (Anne millar and Gaylene Cummerfield) are completely satisfying without exception and with much good humoured characterisation. Supporting roles are well done and the Corps de Ballet are also excellent with some very visually attractive supporting choreography. The staging is totally successful in creating both the dowdiness of Cinderella's home and the magical transformation in her fortunes.
There are two relevant press comments quoted on the cover and both are worth repeating as being accurate and as follows:
"This Cinderella is a theatrical banquet for the eyes" (The Telegraph)
"In ballet terms, this is a good Cinderella: as theatre, it is sensational" (Daily Express)
The recording values are good without perhaps scaling the heights of the recent productions by other labels such as Opus Arte, Decca or BelAir for example. Imaging is attentive to both detail and panoramic shots and the sound is presented in stereo or Dolby 5:1. I personally found it far more than adequate.
This is a strong visiting card for the Birmingham Ballet. For me it is by far the best of the current 'traditional' versions and offers both modern sound and widescreen to a most enjoyable production.
Overall therefore, and taking into account my previous minor comments about the recording comparisons as above, in my opinion this version from Birmingham is still well worth 5 stars for sheer entertainment and artistic values. Fresh and new while being essentially traditional - something to please everyone!
So overall therefore, the clear favourite for me is this version from Birmingham and well worth 5 stars in my opinion. Fresh and new while being essentially traditional - something to please everyone!