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on 8 October 2006
This interesting DVD consists of two parts. The first part ("Kirov Ballet at Covent Garden") is a very good gala performance of divertissements by the Kirov Ballet at the Royal Opera House (in the presence of the late Princess Diana) in 1992. It is conducted by Valery Gergiev. There are eight works in total. Larissa Lezhnina, fresh in her early career, in "Diana and Actaeon" is excellent, displaying her artistry. The young students from the Vaganova Academy are most charming in excerpts from Paquita (polonaise and mazurka) and The Nutcracker.

The programme also includes excerpts from Swan Lake (pas de deux and the Russian dance in Act 2), Paquita (Grand pas) and a polonaise (music only and not danced) from Act 3 of Tchaikovsky's opera, Eugene Onegin. All of them are performed beautifully to the Mariinsky Theatre's high standard.

The second part ("Gala Performance in Red Square") also shows a high standard of dancing. It is another gala performance - this time on a temporary stage in Red Square in Moscow. Most of the dancers come from the Bolshoi Ballet (Ananiashvili, Ilse & Andris Liepa, Maximova, Vasiliev and Fadeyechev), with some others making guest appearances. The programme, consisting of seven items, includes excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird, Le Corsaire and Don Quixote. Maya Plisetskaya dances the Dying Swan solo with remarkable suppleness for her age. (She was in her 60s then!)

The recording is slightly marred by unsatisfactory camera work - frequent long-distance shots of the stage rather than focusing on the dancers at a shorter distance.
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on 18 May 2017
A great gala performance from Covent Gardens, the dancers were all great, the gala performance in red square was good too, thoroughly enjoyed both performances.
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on 28 December 2015
The Kirov Ballet is simply perfect! A wonderful introduction to classical ballet.
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on 24 September 2013
Ist part at Covent Garden was interesting, I already own a video entitled 'Welcomr back St Petersburg' which is the same performance , but with some different entries
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on 21 May 2013
First off, this DVD features fantastic dancers; their technique nowadays wouldn't be out of place, and was way ahead of their time. Secondly, and unlike another reviewer, I think their 'soul' and emotional capabilities are perfectly in sync with their technical abilities. Yes, it's not over the top and in your face, the way some people need emotion to be utilised on a stage, but the subtle nuances and phrasing makes you actually feel what they're dancing.

A lot of people equate Russian dancers with high extensions and no emotions. I suggest you watch any full length ballet (with Russian stars: present and past), to see that this is simply not true. Obviously, in this particular DVD, you're not going to get a massive impression because only small segments are shown, and a lot of the ballets used in this DVD are not big dramas (and the few that are aren't long enough). But still, this DVD is amazing and timeless, and one I fully recommend to any ballet enthusiast.

Now for my one issue with this DVD. For the age this was filmed in, the video quality is amazing (especially in the Covent Garden section). However, the camera work itself is somewhat lacking, and often you miss things that are going on on the stage. Some parts aren't covered by the camera, whilst others are too zoomed out and not focused enough on the lead dancer. In that case you end up missing expressions and what not.
The second segment is less polished, but hosts a lot of amazing dancers (Maximova, Vasiliev E.T.C. Even Maya Plisteskaya dancing the Dying Swan, which I think is perfect. Her arms are made of rubber!). However, the camera work, again, lets this section down. There are a lot of weird shots from behind the dancers, which I find strange. Also: one thing someone else has mentioned. It appears not all dancers are shown who were taking part in the gala. This is quite a shame, and we are possibly missing some excellent variations.

Overall, this is a gem. It might not be a classical masterpiece, but showcases talent from the past at its best. I will also add that the price is excellent! You definitely get your money's worth.
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on 15 May 2004
As I watched this DVD, at first I was impressed by the quality of the photography of the Convent Garden segment. As far as the dancing goes, Russian dancers lack 'soul'. All you see is dazzling technique. When I came to the Red Square segment, I was delighted to see a couple of French artists in their wonderful rendition of the Giselle pas de deux. I did not enjoy Pliesetskaya's Dying Swan. She was then approaching 70 in her years. She should have retired.
I was really incensed when the credits for the Red Square segment came up. There were these names: Julio Bocca, Eleanora Cassano, Vladimir Derevianko, Rose Gad, Noella Pontois & Lloyd Riggins. The final shots even showed these artists taking their bows, but their dance numbers are totally absent from this DVD. It was very insensitive of the producer of this DVD to have eliminated at least three dances, but showed just a glimpse of the six wonderful artists at curtain time. It's most annoying!!
Another annoying thing is: The picture on the cover shows a couple in the White Swan Pas de Deux. The female could have been Makhalina, but the male surely is not her partner in this DVD.
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on 16 February 2004
I saw this dvd lying in a Dutch apartment store, and not really wanting to buy it untill I spotted my favorite ballerina was also on it. Larissa Lezhnina in "Diana and Acteon" she's so beautiful. But she's not the only star on this DVD. So many. My favorite has to be "The Leaves Are Fading", "Diana and Acteon" and of course the Beautifully and powerful performance of the "Dying Swan" It's Sheer Brilliance and I Truly recommend it to anyone...
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on 22 October 2002
This video shows highlights from some beautiful ballets performed by the renamed Kirov Ballet at Convent Garden under the presence of Lady Diana and at Red Square under the presence of Russian people.
Although most of the excerpts chosen are famous I would not say they are essential as the title of this DVD suggests. There are far more important and interesting works which is not included in it. However there are remarkable moments as Larisa Lezhina and the Faroukh Ruzimatov are shown in great shape dancing "Diana and Actaeon at Covent Garden and Maya Plisetskaya dancing "Dying Swan" at the Red Square.
In spite of some noises and inadequate lights at Red Square performance I thought the quality of sound and image goods.
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