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Glazunov: Raymonda La Scala 2011 (Arthaus: 108051) [Blu-ray] [2012]

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Olesia Novikova, Friedemann Vogel, Mick Zeni, Orchestra And Corps De Ballet Of The Teatro Alla Scala
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • 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: 9 April 2012
  • Run Time: 154 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007C7FDRE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,035 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The last great work from the glorious era of the Imperial ballets has never before been performed by the La Scala ballet. Its La Scala premiere marks the most faithful version of Raymonda yet to the original, which met with triumphant success in St. Petersburg in 1898.

Based on a medieval legend, with ladies, knights, crusaders and Saracens, cathedrals and castles, the libretto had all the ingredients needed to spark the imagination of the young Alexander Glazunov in his first ballet score, and the infinite wisdom of Marius Petipa, who complemented it with an enormously rich and endless succession of dances, classical variations, exotic dances and character dances, with a grandiose finale, pantomime, lyrical pas de deux and a heavily featured corps de ballet. Drawing on notation from the Harvard archives, original designs housed in the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Theatre Library, La Scala presents the last great work from the glory days of the Imperial Ballet.


We see what the piece first looked like… Opulent massive, unlikely, with a wild generosity of forces and with costuming to encourage maniac giggles, it is huge fun, and as the heroine, Raymonda, the Mariinsky ballerina Olesia Novikova is ravishing in style. The recording is well done and Michail Jurowski is a wonderful advocate for Glazunov's score, played with enthusiasm by the La Scala orchestra. --Clement Crisp, Financial Times

The stunning settings are a continual feast for the eye… highly recommended. --Julian Haylock, International Record Review

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 19 April 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This ballet was written in 1898 with choreography by Petipa. At that time the fashion was for medieval settings featuring spectacular pageant set-piece displays by the corps de ballet as the main focus of attention. It is important to realise that this production aims to be a recreation of the original and should only be considered on that basis therefore.

In order to faithfully recreate the original 1898 concept an enormous amount of care and expense has been lavished on this production and much research and time has been spent investigating and studying the original illustrations and instructions as regards costuming, staging and choreography. The final results can only be described as being a total success and as such completely recreate an earlier age in ballet history.

The set piece corps de ballet scenarios in this production are totally impressive in both delivery and panoramic effect when seen with the 1898 concept in mind. The camera work supports this by giving a greater viewing time than usual to whole-stage imaging rather than close-ups. This seems to me to faithfully match the visual intentions of the original choreographer. In general terms the courtly dances are more sedate and contrast with the more energetic dances performed by the rest of the population.

The relatively limited amount of solo time is well danced in my opinion with the main focus naturally concentrating on guest artist Olesia Novikova in the title role of Raymonda. The camera work illustrates her technical skills by picking out some details of her footwork in addition to the normal coverage. However, these examples of detailed technical focus did not bother me in contrast to some others.
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This Raymonda is the genuine article. Long awaited, Sergei Vikharev's reconstruction of Marius Petipa's last known masterpiece (we can but guess at the marvel which the 1903 'Magic Mirror' must have been) answers all the questions raised by, and adresses all the inconsistencies of well-known versions of Raymonda - rendering all of them insipid. A word of caution though: This over 3 hour ballet is not for people who think ballet should be a thirty minute plotless 'pure dance' affair, or have been conditioned into thinking that it is allowed to cut and alter bits and pieces to fabricate a classic into something that suits the 'present day taste' (Compare: A true opera fan -or professional- would A D 2012 not dream of slicing words out of, or cut music from a Wagner or Mozart opera). About the filming I am somewhat less enthusiastic: Most ballet filming directors fall into the trap of wanting to show too much, and their cuts alternate too eagerly between close-ups of happy faces and the corps de ballet and their patterns - which as a result are not allowed to unfold. The zooming in on the pointe shoes of the lady dancers is dilletantish. On the other hand, the much debated shots of Raymonda's last act variation, where the dancer shares screen with the pianist I thought a nice touch, especially since a ballet solo being accompanied by a piano was an artistic novelty in ballet of composer Glazunov. The camera work of a crucial scene such as Raymonda's dream has been treated with care. The sound in general comes off good. The Scala dancers have been coached well, they are enthusiastic and possess rawer dancing qualities than, let's say, their Russian colleagues, but that gives the performance an edge.Read more ›
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I understand if other ballet enthusiasts got the impression that this production was "underdanced". This is a actually a reconstruction of the original Raymonda from 1898 as staged by Petipa. The choreography was carefully recreated from notation dating back to 1903. Scenery and costumes (wigs included!) are faithful to those created in 1898. The overall end result may not be to everyone's taste. Also the reintroduction of the original pantomime and the absence of male acrobatics (particularly for the role of Abderahman) can be dissatisfactory and boring for today's viewers. I personally thought that the story (although being still very thin) made much more sense in this version than the Russian reworkings by Boshoi or Maryinsky. I have been a ballet enthusiast for 30 years now and this was one of those ballets which I was really looking forward to seeing reconstructed. The final result was magnificent and Petipa's choreography both for the solists and the ensembles still shines.
Some of the costumes could be a little dated, but I was expecting it considering it was a reconstruction! Overall I found them truly grand and lavish and one could really appreciate, even through the screen, the high quality fabrics that were employed for the production.
I agree that the direction of the video was somewhat disappointing and this is why I gave only 4 stars. Recurrent close shots of the feet of the ballerinas, which I personally found really annoying. During the pantomime scenes, the cameras often tend to linger on the reaction of the ensemble instead of focusing on the active main characters, making it even more difficult to make sense of the story being conveyed through gestures. A lot has already been said elsewhere about the split screen during the 3rd Act highlight solo of the prima ballerina, so I won't add more comments.
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