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Bournonville: La Sylphide [DVD]  [NTSC]
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'La Sylphide', which first appeared in the 1830s, was the world's first Romantic ballet. The story of James, a young Scottish farmer enchanted by a sylph, or tree fairy, on the eve of his wedding, combines reality and fantasy. This production, recorded at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, in 1988, features Lis Jeppesen as La Sylphide and Nikolaj Hubbe as James.
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Top Customer Reviews
Recorded at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen in 1988, this famous film has been available on laserdisc some ten years ago and its release in the DVD-format was long overdue. The staging by Henning Kronstam and Arlette Weinreich, based on the authoritative production of Hans Brenaa is nothing short of ideal, while the cast led by Lis Jeppesen (the Sylph of her generation), a youngish Nikolaj Hübbe (in his debut as James) and Sorella Englund as Madge, is simply outstanding. Supporting roles include Morten Munksdorf as Gurn, Ann-Kristin Hauge as Effy and Silja Schandorff as the leading sylph in Act 2.
The video-transfer is excellent, the sound is simple stereo. "La Sylphide" is a short ballet (just over an hour) and some bonus features should have been included, such as a documentary on August Bournonville, the Royal Danish Ballet or its School.
But for the performance itself, nothing but the strongest recommendation.
The stories of the two LA Sylphides are the same but the music, dramatic presentation and choreography are very different.
The version with music by Løvenskjold is a much more folksy affair, with a great deal of mime, and the role of James (danced by Nikolaj Hübbe) is more supportive and gives the dancer little chance for virtuoso display. The role of Sylphide the tree fairy is a much warmer human role and is beautifully danced by Lis Jeppesen wonderfully projecting the helpless love of La Sylphide. This is a warm involving story that captures the imagination from beginning to end.
It is fascinating to compare the Schneitzhoeffer with this version, but for me Løvenskjold wins every time.
It is a short ballet,with much crammed into it,sylphs that disappear up chimneys leading on to the entrance of the bride to be with her friends,a very merry party indeed,this being the point where the groom disappears into the forest to look for his sylph.
Act2 is the more moving as James ends up killing the sylph and dying his self,Im sure you havent seen many ballets where both the main characters die but if you miss this one you`ve missed a masterpiece,that will keep you glued to the set...
This is a more dramatic ballet that that of that danced by Ballet de L'Opera national de Paris with Pieree Lacotte's Reconstructed version.
As another reveiwer has commented this is a short ballet and the DVD would benifit from a documentary on the history of it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delightful music and ensemble dancing in one of the oldest ballets of them all .
And set in scotland . Read more
I use this as a teaching and training tool for my dance department as an accurate account of the Bournonville version of La Sylphide. Read morePublished on 23 Sept. 2013 by Nigel Hannah
My teenage daughter and I were going to see Matthew Bourne's 'Romantic Wee Ballet' called Highland Fling - which is a modern Scottish reworking of La Sylphide - but hadn't seen the... Read morePublished on 29 Jun. 2013 by Alison S
This production of La Sylphide by the Royal Danish Ballet has all the appearances of being performed by well trained imitators going through the motions of how it should be done... Read morePublished on 26 Mar. 2013 by H. A. Weedon
This is one hour of happiness. The Danes are one of the happiest people in Europe and it shows. The ballet company is superb and perfect for this ballet classic. Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2011 by M. Compton Sally