I didn't expect so much, at such a low price, but this is as good as anything going. The quality of the sound and vision reproduction, as well as sets costumes and dance. A bonus was the presence of Yulia Makhalina and Altynai Asylmuratova, which was also a pleasant surprize . In all, an excellent buy, much understated by the Amazon review.
A very beautiful DVD. Highly recommended for ballet fans. Wonderful music and ballet dancing. Nicely filmed sharp picture with just the faintest soft focus effect which adds to the attraction. A very varied programme leading to a terrific Paquita. Worth every penny. Miles better than 'The Kirov A Night of Classical Ballet' incidentally.
Beautifully and exquisitely choreographed by Fokine on Chopin music,Les Sylphides(a non-narrative ballet, or Chopiniana (as originally premiered in 1907,in St Petersburg), was revised and premiered again the following year at the Maryinsky, and revised again to its final choreography at Le Châtelet in Pari for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes(Pavlova,Karsavina,Nijnsky and Baldina).It does bring back the very essence of Romanticism which had begun with Taglioni's La Sylphide in 1832 - the two ballets not to be related at all!)is danced by "prima ballerina assoluta" Asylmuratova, appointed(2000) Director of Vaganova Academy,in St Petersburg.Paquita ( grand pas ) is quite dazzling,really fire-work( Makhalina and Zelensky),Barber's Adagio sublime,Fairy Doll extremely well danced,just to mention la crème de la crème of this worth-buying DVD.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, a classic indeed. Simply a must for all ballet lovers. Contents: Chopinina, Petrushka, Barber's Adagio, La Corsaire(Pas de Deux), The Fairy Doll, Markitenka,(Pas de Six) and Grand Pas from Paquita. Main stars include Faroukh Ruzimatov (in his usual La Coraire gymnastics), Yulia Makhalina and Igor Zelenka in a ravishing presentation of Paquita but all the stars and indeed Corp de Ballet are simply ourstanding in elegance, performance and poise. Chopiniana is indeed very beautiful and moving and the Pas de Six from Markitenka (new to me) is simply charming as is The Fairy Doll. While format is 4:3 and sound is PCM Stereo ,it is more than acceptable.The Marinsky Orchestra,(forwardly placed) under Fedotov is at its very best. One or two niggles though. The producers have inserted full credits after each piece. This tends to frustrate one when all one wants to do is to savour the next fabulous offering. Also the absence of a live audience tends to curtail(not always successfully with me!) ones desire to whoop with delight after each performance but this in itself gives an indication of just how wonderful these performances are. There is also quite good documentation which includes a very clear and concise history of the Kirov/Marinsky. Summary: Don't hestitate -just buy it. A must. You will treasure it for a lifetime. Newcomers, put this DVD on top of your list- together with "Essential Ballet"(Decca Label) which includes Kirov performances from Covent Garden and Red Square.
Of the seven works included, the best ones are Chopiniana (called "Les Sylphides" outside Russia) and Paquita. In Chopiniana which is a series of plotless dances to Chopin's atmospheric music, the dancing is simply breathtaking due to its expressiveness. The three leading female dancers are all excellent; Altynai Asylmuratova (prima ballerina) is superb in a mazurka and a waltz, while Yelena Pankova (one of the two soloists) is so fluid and soft in a waltz. These dancers and the corps de ballet appear to float and glide. The unity of response to the music by the corps de ballet is remarkable, reflecting their common schooling at the Vaganova Academy. The only male dancer (a poet) in the work, Konstantin Zaklinsky (Asylmuratova's husband in real life), is a noble-looking dancer with effortless jumps. They all produce ethereal atmosphere.
In Paquita (grand pas), choreographed by Petipa, classical dancing is so elegant and joyful, taking the viewer back to the days of the Imperial Russian ballet. Most other shorter works are very interesting. In Markitenka (pas de six), Pankova is a superbly delicate and light dancer. Larissa Lezhnina is charming in The Fairy Doll.
However, Petrushka (choreographed by Oleg Vinogradov, the former Director of the Kirov Ballet) is a modern work with dancers in strange costumes and is completely different from Fokine's original version; I find it uninteresting. In Le Corsaire (pas de deux), again choreographed by Petipa, Faroukh Ruzimatov is a virtuosic and narcissistic partner to Lyubov Kunakova.
Recording quality is good, and the stereo sound is very clear. This DVD is an essential purchase for lovers of Russian ballet and the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet, in particular.
The other reviews are all excellent, AS INDEED THEY SHOULD BE, but they say NOTHING about the dazzling update of Petruchka or the wonderful performance of Sergei Vikharev as the lead. I am thrilled to see that the cover of the DVD has been updated and now showcases Sergei centre-stage and triumphant, implying that Petruchka is the star-turn in this extraordinarily fine collection. Not that the original choreography was a bland little fairy tale. It remains a slice of biting political satire, aimed at the villain of Russian culture as about to be pilloried by Lenin &c., i.e., the Tzarist church and its God, to whom the little Petruchka is simply a pawn to be exploited, and whose miseries are are of no account at all. It did this very powerfully!
But times have changed and we have seen the Tzarist God replaced by a Royal Flush of Power Brokers in secular regimes that have swept the board. In this performance the masses are garbed in slogans and blunder about in a world literally covered in propaganda, where bullying standover enforcers swagger in and out amongst them trampling down any sign of individuality. What religion did in the view of the original choreographer, the states have done and redone in spades (all of them, it seems, for among them one discerns America and China as well as Russia). Into this horror scenario steps the innocent, naive oh-so-loveable Petruchka, who tries to explain the situation to his fellows, and then in desperation strips himself of the slogans that clothe him and symbolically naked, calls on them to do the same... of course he is arrested, tried, and having been rejected by the crowd, ends up on a cross as an iconic rallying point. The Christ story is replayed here with extraordinary power and pathos, but with no dogmatic posturing or glib religious overtones - any of the Soviet dissenters could be the Jesus figure at the centre: Shostakowich, Solzhenitsyn; or even outsiders like Martin Luther King, Steve Bikho, or, dare one add, Julien of Wikileaks... anyone in fact who dares to stand up and say, "The emperor has no clothes" and gets pulverised for their pains.