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Ekman: A Swan Lake Ballet [Alexander Ekman] [Blu-ray] [2014]

3.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: The Norwegian National Ballet, The Norwegian National Opera Orchestra
  • Format: Classical
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Sept. 2014
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00M428DF6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,669 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

I wanted to do something big and wild and different. Something with water!' said choreographer Alexander Ekman and filled the Main Stage at the Oslo Opera House with masses of water. In A Swan Lake, his new full-length work created for the Norwegian National Ballet, the dancers are joined on stage by actors, a soprano, musicians and 1,000 rubber ducks.

Alexander Ekman is an internationally acclaimed choreographer, recognised and sought after for his unique ability to pair wit and playfulness. With a score by Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson and costumes by Danish fashion designer Henrik Vibskov, A Swan Lake takes a fresh look at Tchaikovsky's ballet of all ballets.

Sound Formats: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 5.1
Picture Format: 16:9
Blu-ray Disc: 25 GB (Single Layer)
Resolution: 1080i High Definition
Audio Language: GB
Running Time: 98 mins + 7 mins (bonus clips)
FSK:: 0

From Amazon.co.uk

A disaster at its 1877 premiere, the fantastical Swan Lake was revived in 1895 and has since established itself as the most popular ballet ever. Daniel Barenboim, conductor of this sumptuous performance at Berlin's Staatsoper Unter den Linden (of which he is Artistic Director and General Musical Director) says "Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake is a masterpiece that transcends its time!". The production uses choreography adapted and subtly modernised by Patrice Bart from the 1895 staging, which combined with elegant costume and set design results in a very traditional and thoroughly engaging evening's entertainment. Barenboim ensures that Tchaikovsky's score is a romantic delight, the ensemble dancing is highly polished, Oliver Matz passionately intense as Prince Siegfried, Steffi Scherzer making an enchanting fairytale heroine.

On the DVD: The generally excellent anamorphically enhanced picture is almost completely free of grain, a slight soft focus in mid and long shots probably more attributable to the live production being shot on video rather than any fault in the transfer. Mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, the sound mix is sensibly tied to the screen, the rear channels used to enhance live ambience, subtly establishing an effective sense of "being there". The only "special feature" is a plot synopsis, however, the superior booklet also provides a synopsis, notes on Tchaikovsky and the writing of the ballet, the performance and the performers. --Gary S. Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
All reviews you read here don`t describe this new Swan Lake presentation of the Norwegian National Ballet !
All of them are reviews of the Swan Lake presentation of the Ballet of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin in 1998 with Seffi Scherzer, Oliver Matz and conductor Daniel Barenboim!
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Firstly many of the reviews on here are incorrectly placed and do not actually refer to this Ekman production by The Norwegian Ballet. This is a very modern ballet with a score that only makes tribute passages to the original Tchaikovsky.
I certainly prefer the wit and charm of Mats Ek's Cullberg Ballet presentation of Swan Lake to the original score and so much appreciate his choreography (also his Carmen and Sleeping Beauty). So much was made of Matthew Bourne's male swans yet Mats Ek was there first!
For me there were few moments of beauty in this overlong production whose objective was to create a shallow lake on stage for the dancers to experiment with interesting new moves - sometimes almost a cross over to ice skating and body boarding water sport!
Sorry I found the first act overlong, the music and dancing repetitive but perhaps the complex lighting and scenery together with so much action made it difficult to understand.
I longed for some effective cutting as the lake scene was brilliant in places but became repetitive.
This is the only version Swan Lake that I would not wish to view again!
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This ballet will not appeal to purists, nor, given the logistics of staging Act 2, is it likely to become standard ballet repertoire. However, for those who like to see ballet taking new directions Ekman's A Swan Lake is like a breath of fresh air - exciting, innovative and at times laugh-out-loud funny (the scene where the soprano accidentally drops her hair dryer into the lake and electrocutes the swans/ducks/geese or whatever they are supposed to be is unbelievably hilarious). Producing this new work by the Norwegian National Ballet Company must have presented enormous difficulties, in partticular flooding the entire stage for the second act, but the company has responded superbly. Its amazing.
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Format: DVD
I will admit from the start that I am a ballet enthusiast rather than any kind of expert, but this is quite simply one of the most brilliant productions in any medium I have seen. The chemistry between the two principals has to be seen to be believed and I do not agree that either of them lack expression or acting ability, to me it's spot on. Svetlana is in turn a tragic, vulnerable Odette desperately in love with Siegfried and then a gloriously evil Odile taunting him, while Roberto is perfect in the role of misguided hero. He too brings a real vulnerability to the character of Siegfried, something I've not seen before.

When Svetlana/Odette comes on in the second act it is just one of those jaw to the floor moments, she is exquisite, just seems to be from a different galaxy to any other dancer. Her technique and sheer presence has to be seen to be believed.

In addition I can't see why anyone would object to the close ups, they are relatively few and it is fascinating to see the dancers' expressions. And of course both Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolle are outrageously beautiful.

Set in Seigfried's mother's palace, Act three has some extraordinary folk dances in it, all orchestrated by a glowering von Rothbart. Siegfried's bewilderment as he weaves among the dancers desperately looking for Odette is wonderful to watch, as is the Queen's bemused disapproval at all these weirdos who have rocked up and launched a massive party in her palace! At this point the energy is amazing, dancers and audience alike are having the time of their lives and for a few moments it's more like a festival than a classical ballet.
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The claim that Svetlana Zakharova is the best swan dancer in the world could well be true. While the La Scala corps lacks the precision of the Paris Opera Ballet they are still very good. Roberto Bolle is excellent as a dancer but falls short on dramaturgy. But it is the sheer paralysing brilliance of Svetlana Zakharova that makes this an absolute must for anyone who has even the slightest interest in ballet.
She does not have the same emotional input as some other ballerinas but that could just be an interpretation. Somewhere along the line she seems to have decided that the brilliance of her technique and artistry are not to be overshadowed by character portrayal.
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Format: DVD
A really enjoyable evening of ballet. I have seen this ballet performed in Australia, America, the UK and in the Netherlands and this gave me a real thrill - almost as much as the the 3D equivalent. The German Ballet Corps were wonderful and Steffi Scherzer magnificent. The musical score was well handled by Daniel Barenboim. Finally the reproduction from the tape to DVD was excellent - even on my very high resolution computer screen not a smudge was encountered. Real value for my money.
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Format: DVD
I think people should bear in mind that Russian dancers use their entire bodies to emote, rather than relying solely on facial expressions (which may be lost on audience members not close enough to see). This means sometimes people misconstrue the acting as being non-existent. This isn't the case: Svetlana Zakharova's dancing here is superb technically, and she really makes you 'believe' the story. It's beautiful. Her fragile white swan is juxtaposed brilliantly by her sensual, evil black swan. So yes, Svetlana is indeed the Swan Queen, but there are other areas that let this DVD down slightly.

I'm not a massive Roberto Bolle fan if I'm honest. His dancing is good, and he is gorgeous. However, sometimes I find him rather lacking in certain emotions, namely hysteria, grief E.T.C. This is more obvious in 'Giselle', also available on DVD (with Zakharova again), but it is sometimes noticeable on here. However, he is still perfectly agreeable to watch.

I much prefer the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Swan Lake's, mainly because of their use of Rothbart. Instead of a character role, he dances amongst the Swans and the Prince in Act 2 and 4, and I honestly feel this adds a lot to the story. It helps us to realise and understand his part in all of this, as well as his power over the Swans (and indeed the Prince in several Bolshoi versions).

The camera work is fine. It's not as great a quality as I was expecting to be honest. There are some less than perfect shots that are out of focus, but besides that it's fine.

The ending was somewhat different that the ones I am used to. It's a lot more happier, and I find it absolutely beautiful (even if I do prefer the somewhat tragic endings of others, this is a nice change).
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