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Stars of the Russian Ballet [DVD] [2008] [US Import]

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00197YZAE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,667 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Format: DVD
An extremely abridged Swan Lake gives us the unique chance to watch mythical Ullanova in her forties dance Odette and Dudinskaya (also in her forties)dance Odile,two rare examples of how ballet technique changed.Then two curiosities: A soviet ballet "The fountain of Bakhchisarai" music by Boris Asafiev(1934), choreography by Zakharov, after a Pushkin's poem.A chance to watch Ullanova and Plisetskaya(who would take the former's place in 1960 and become the leading ballerina of the Bolshoi)dance together two short and not thrilling roles.Then a third ballet(also by Asafiev) called "The flames of Paris"(1932), choreographed by Vainonen,based on songs of the French Revolution,a chance to watch the great dancer CHABOUKIANI dance the male role most brilliantly.A document for those who love russian ballet.
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This is a DVD for persons who are passionate about Ballet and are familiar with the form and of course, the interpretation and music. It is indeed rare to see a modern production of the Fountain of Bachisarai and no great interpretations of the Flame of Paris exist as of now on DVD to the best of my knowledge. This makes this DVD even more special....what more can you ask for than Plisetskaya and Ulanova on the same stage, that too at the pinnacle of their careers? Never mind the tacky Soviet animation marauding in the middle... Never mind the overt Sovietski stuff written all over the Flame of Paris... The artistes and their technique is more than just great.

This collector's item could have featured more than just 82 minutes of the stuff. That is my only grouse. There are ever so many vintage films of the greats of Soviet Ballet that are yet to be made available on DVD. I guess they are just waiting to cash in on them little by little.

A collector's connoisseur's item it is.. not meant for those who insist on a 5.1 or DTH or 1080p resolution.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b46466c) out of 5 stars 1 review
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b3556cc) out of 5 stars First Magnitude Stars 11 July 2008
By customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is one of the greatest DVDs I own. The three selections on this DVD give us a glimpse of the magnificent talent that was hidden behind the Iron Curtain in the early 1950's. Fortunately, the film maker Gebbert Rappaport thought to preserve some of the work of these phenomenal artists.

These are compelling excerpts from the Russian repertoire. The first, Swan Lake, features the supremely gifted Galina Ulanova, whose grace, delicacy and beauty of form awarded her the title Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the Bolshoi. There's a bit of predictably silly Soviet animation tacked into Swan Lake, but it's irrelevant. Ulanova must have had the most gorgeous feet in the world. It's a pity there isn't a complete Swan Lake with her.

The second feature, The Fountains of Bakhshiserai, based on a Pushkin poem, is the only time Ulanova and Plisetskaya were filmed dancing together. This segment has some of the marvelous legendary Russian male power dancing that had its roots in the folk arts. Plisetskaya, who was given the title Prima Ballerina Assoluta upon Ulanova's retirement, bares her flawless midriff in an erotic dance that is so hot my television started steaming. One of factors that contributes to the splendor of the Russian dance tradition is the quality of the acting. All the participants in Fountains are fabulous actors as well as very great dancers. The scene between Ulanova and Plisetskaya is perfection.

The last segment, The Flames of Paris, is a Soviet homage to the French Revolution. It is one of the only videos I can find with the tremendous Georgian dancer Vakhtang Chabukiani. What a pity he is not well known in the West. His speed and strength are miraculous. The speed with which he spins around the stage seems to defy the laws of physics. It was as if the editor fast-forwarded the film, but he didn't - Chabukiani had superhuman velocity. There is also a wonderful dancer I had never heard of - Musa Gottlieb, a beautiful, graceful artist who knocked of 32 fouettes like it was nothing at all.

This DVD, along with Ulanova's Romeo and Juliet, Plisetskaya Dances and Plisetskaya's Swan Lake are among the crown jewels in my collection of dance videos. Most highly recommended if you are interested in historic dance, Russian ballet, or just want to see some of the greatest dancers ever captured on film.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b355720) out of 5 stars A common man's point of view. 6 Jan. 2010
By Richard Rawls - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The picture you see on the cover of "Stars of the Russian Ballet" is Maya Plisetskaya dancing the part of Zarema, the favorite concubine of Khan Girzi, in the ballet "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai". There really is such a fountain. It is located at the Bakhchisarai Palace in the Crimea near Yalta. It is known as the Fountain of Tears. The ballet is adapted from a poem by Alexander Pushkin written in 1823. The music is by Boris Asafiev. Of course, what makes this ballet such a collectable work is the fact that two prima ballerinas of the Bolshoi Ballet are dancing in it together. The only known filmed record of both Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya dancing together. Both these ballerinas were awarded the title Prima Ballerina Assoluta, but not at the same time (I don't think). I think Galina had left the Bolshoi before Maya was given that title. If you really love Maya Plisetsksya, get her autobiography....I, Maya Plisetskaya....and don't be afraid to get a used copy if can't afford a new one. I bought a very good used hard back copy at a very good price through Amazon. Read my review on it. By the way, only TEN ballerinas in the entire history of ballet have been honored with the title PRIMA BALLERINA ASSOLUTA. FOUR of those so honored are still alive, they are Maya Plisetskaya, Anneli Elisabeth Alhanko, Alessandra Ferri, and Alicia Alonso. The other SIX are, Pierina Legnani (the first), Mathilde Kachessenska (the second), Galina Ulanova, Margo Fonteyn, Philis Spira, and Alicia Markova. (Ref. Wikipedia)

The first ballet on this disc is Swan Lake, a shortened version, only 35/40 minutes, but uses two ballerinas in the roles of Odette/Odile. Galina Ulanova is Odette and Natalia Dudinskaya is Odile. It was a depiction of Odile as a bird and not a swan. Maya Plisetskaya tells us that the Russians always depicted Odile as a black bird until the West began depicting her as a black swan. They then, began depicting her as a swan also. Rothbart is depicted as an Owl. The transformation of Odette the swan into Odette the human was trick photography of perfection, you could not see any overlapping of the scenes. It is a typical Russian ending with the destruction of the evil Rothbart and the transformation of the white swans into beautiful maidens.

The third ballet is The Flames of Paris, which I think the the Soviets consider is propaganda at it's best. There are several very good solos from Vakhtang Chabnukiani and Musa Gottlieb, neither of whom I have heard of before. This music is also by Boris Asafiev.

There are three good little ballets on this disc, which has a running time of 82 minutes, only fair color, fair sound they claim to be Dolby 2.0, but which I doubt. Both the Bolshoi and Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theatre are featured on this disc. It is worth the price of admission to see Galina and Maya in the same ballet......Richard.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b35a084) out of 5 stars A document 15 April 2010
By Jose Brito - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
An extremely abridged Swan Lake gives us the unique chance to watch mythical Ullanova in her forties dance Odette and Dudinskaya (also in her forties)dance Odile,two rare examples of how ballet technique changed.Then two curiosities: A soviet ballet "The fountain of Bakhchisarai" music by Boris Asafiev(1934), choreography by Zakharov, after a Pushkin's poem.A chance to watch Ullanova and Plisetskaya(who would take the former's place in 1960 and become the leading ballerina of the Bolshoi)dance together two short and not thrilling roles.Then a third ballet(also by Asafiev) called "The flames of Paris"(1932), choreographed by Vainonen,based on songs of the French Revolution,a chance to watch the great dancer CHABOUKIANI dance the male role most brilliantly.A document for those who love russian ballet.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b355f24) out of 5 stars Vintage Stuff 10 Mar. 2010
By Satish Kamath - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a DVD for persons who are passionate about Ballet and are familiar with the form and of course, the interpretation and music. It is indeed rare to see a modern production of the Fountain of Bachisarai and no great interpretations of the Flame of Paris exist as of now on DVD to the best of my knowledge. This makes this DVD even more special....what more can you ask for than Plisetskaya and Ulanova on the same stage, that too at the pinnacle of their careers? Never mind the tacky Soviet animation marauding in the middle... Never mind the overt Sovietski stuff written all over the Flame of Paris... The artistes and their technique is more than just great.

This collector's item could have featured more than just 82 minutes of the stuff. That is my only grouse. There are ever so many vintage films of the greats of Soviet Ballet that are yet to be made available on DVD. I guess they are just waiting to cash in on them little by little.

A collector's connoisseur's item it is.. not meant for those who insist on a 5.1 or DTH or 1080p resolution.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b3557a4) out of 5 stars Balletomane. 16 Aug. 2013
By Balletemane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Another gem for those interested in what happened in the ballet
world under the "iron curtain".
THE FOUNTAIN OF BAKHCHISARAI and THE FLAMES OF PARIS
are seldom seen in the West so it is good to have access to original
works emanating from Russia performed by amazing dancers who
have become legends in Ballet world.
SWAN LAKE is presented with the original story line and features two
wonderful exponents in their roles as Odette/Odile. Dudinskaya as
Odile is magnificent and I would have bought this simply to see that.
Given the era in which these were staged, the costumes,
choreography, sets and dancers are nothing short of amazing.
Another treasure for ballet lovers but the mere enthusiasts might
find some of the work repetitive in the 2 lesser known ballets ... hence the 4 stars.
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