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Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection, for my taste, has been achieved here, 27 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Tchaikovsky - the Sleeping Beauty [Ovsyanikov] [DVD] [2007] [2010] (DVD)
This 2006 performance and recording of the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty has achieved a level of popular success that it could almost be described as having reached cult status. The only issue to decide is whether it deserves this level of popular support. The short answer, in my opinion, is a resounding 'Yes'!

In greater detail therefore:

Having owned several visual productions of note of this ballet I can truthfully say that this has completely replaced all the others with some ease. The staging is traditionally sumptuous with no expense spared on the glorious costumes. The backdrops and general settings are of the same order. The only similar attention to detail and visual beauty that I have seen previously has been by the Kirov ballet. Perhaps the additions to Petipa's original choreography by such luminaries as Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell and Christopher Wheeldon provide part of the answer.

As regards the dancers themselves - this particular recording has the benefit of many outstanding artists who perfectly fit their roles. In particular Alina Cojocaru and Marianela Nunez make a perfect coupling of Princess Aurora and the Lilac Fairy demonstrating limitless grace and charm. Genesia Rosato's enthusiastic portrayal of her role as Carabosse is a delight and Alastair Marriott clearly has a great time in his somewhat extravagant costume with spectacular feathery hat! Federico Bonelli lends appropriate support as Prince Florimund.

The corps de ballet and numerous supporting fairies, members of the Court and the character dancers are all equally excellent in their roles which are too many to itemise here. Suffice it to say that this is a state of the art production of the Royal Ballet at its very best.

The imaging is crisp with fully involving camera work providing excellent colour rendition without a trace of movement blur. The sound is provided in faithful PCM 5.1 surround and stereo formats. Initially this may seem a little dry but the ear quickly adjusts to the correct acoustics of a packed theatre with masses of soft clothing to soak up reverberation which fortunately has not been added artificially to compensate.

The bonuses are limited to an illustrated synopsis and a cast gallery. There are interesting sleeve notes giving some historical perspective to the development of the ballet from its inception to the present.

It all adds up to an unbeatable combination which fully warrants its lasting popularity. This will be the dream recording for a great number of purchasers and as such can only be rated with any seriousness as a clear 5 star issue.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jun 2012 00:31:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jun 2012 00:40:30 BDT
Ian, Ian:

ALL of my Retirement Home Residents (and their Friends & Relatives), LOVE this Production: Dream Cast, Glorious Costumes, Russian Conductor, Huge Orchestra, Catalabutte, etc!

I am sorry to say that the Music was Recorded before The Great Leap Forward In Audio Quality, as the Bass is Tuneless/Boomy and the Distortion rises alarmingly when the music gets louder, particularly with Brass and Violins. Try comparing it with the recent "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", which sounds so clear and natural that it may well have been a Studio Re-Recording, because I haven't noticed any Audience noises except Applause...

Just last night at Carlton House of Oak Bay, the Daughter of one Resident was enquiring how she could get to see Act 3 (The Wedding) which she had missed a few months ago, so it's not only Senior Citizens who love Sleeping Beauty!!

Last night, we all "Thoroughly Enjoyed" 45 minutes of "La Dame aux Camelias" (Paris Opera Ballet) including that Passionate "White Organzina Pas de Deux" which is probably The Most Sensuous Ballet Performance I have on Blu-Ray - Agnes Letestu literally "Lets down her Hair" in THAT performance! If you saw the documentary, you may have noticed the Costumier mentioning that they have to repair that Costume after almost every Performance. Sorry to say the Audio Quality is a long way from Perfect, but it's Chopin, so one can more easily ignore the shortcomings.

We finished the Evening with the ageless Martha Argerich playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto #2 at Verbier (2009?) - she is still so full of Joie De Vivre and Charm after 50 years of Performing - just delightful, and truly inspiring for anyone over 3 Score Years and Ten!

Best Wishes.

p.s. I NEVER mention my reservations about Poor Audio Quality to any of my Audiences: They are already getting the best possible sound from each Blu-Ray, so why spoil their fun with Carping Criticism?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jun 2012 23:29:17 BDT
I. Giles says:
John, I am not surprised that this is so popular with your audiences. The problem with advances in technical equipment as you well know is that it not only shows up all that is good, it also illustrates all that isn't to at least the same extent! Ian

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 01:25:54 BDT
Doctor Giles (Honoris Causa),

Luckily, I still have my Sennheiser HD 600s which (with a 1 Watt Valve Amp) make just about ANY Blu-Ray sound mellifluous, while I'm ironing a White Shirt, and watching on the 46" TV at Home.

That Sleeping Beauty Performance SHOULD have the Soundtrack Re-Recorded, so that we could enjoy it in all its Glory. They have been Re-Recording Movie Dialogue for years, instead of using the often unintelligible On-Set Dialogue, so why not!?

Best Wishes.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 11:24:07 BDT
I. Giles says:
John, I think re-recording ballet soundtracks and synchronising them well enough to pass purchaser scrutiny would be very hard to do. It might even be cheaper to just do a new recording from scratch which is what happens anyway! The same synchronising problems would apply to any musical venture. I watch instrumentalist's fingers and on that basis I have got rid of some recordings as the visuals have obviously been patched with a different sound take. Ian

Posted on 28 Apr 2016 23:29:39 BDT
Stevie says:
Yes Ian, all you say, also including Sarah Lamb, Lauren Cuthbertson, Laura Merera, Yuhui Choi and many other top dancers thrown it at no extra cost. A true feast of talent brought out for this production.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Apr 2016 08:16:36 BDT
I. Giles says:
Thank you for your supportive comment Stevie. Glad you share my enthusiasm for this issue. Best wishes, Ian GIles.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

I. Giles
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Location: Argyll, Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 13