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on 20 August 2001
The disc contains 18 extracts varying from just over a minute to 20 minutes and includes a marvellous piece from 1913 which shows that male dancers were somewhat differently regarded in those days. The restorations are excellent and match the quality of the photography.
My first moan is the abrupt endings. Performing soloists always give at least a tiny pause at the end of their piece (unless the audience is in utter uproar, which justifiably happens here a couple of times). It's just a small professional nicety and we are robbed of this, the fade-outs starting before the closing chords have had much of a chance to start. A bit disconcerting.
My second moan is there's hardly enough. Are we to believe that THE Bolshoi Ballet can only come up with 90 minutes of archival material? Russia was never short of pride over their Ballet and I'll bet there's enough for a few volumes.
Ballet fans should have no trouble accommodating the imperfections of old films with these transfers. A nice program.
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on 23 January 2004
Very interesting video for learning about bolshoi's history watching wonderful excerpts of some of the best dancers in the history of the company.
Dancers appearing are:
Natalia Bessmertnova, Vakhtang Chaboukiani,Ekaterina Geltzer, Musa Gottlieb, Pyotr Gusev, Mikhail Lavorvsky, Olga Lepeshinskaya, Maris Liepa, Ekaterina Maximova, Asaf Meserer, Irek Mukhamedov, Maya Plisetskaya, Marina Semenova, Vasili Tikhomirov, Galina Ulanova, Vladimir Vasiliev
The tape includes:
Les Sylphides- Waltz, Moment Musical-Pas de Deux, Moszkowsky Waltz,White Swan pas de deux, Black Swan pas de deux,Ribbon dance
The Nutcracker-pas de trois,The Nutcracker-Sugar Plum Fairy solo,
Sequence of solos:Le Corsaire,Laurencia,Don Quixote,Spartacus Excerpts,Shuraleh-Pas de Deux,Etude,The Fountain of Bakhchiserai-excerpts,Ravel Waltzes,Paganini excerpt,The little Humbacked Horse
Specially interesting for me is:
-The Black Swan Pas de deux danced by a very young Maya Plisetskaya.Difficult find excerpts of this wonderful dancer so young.
-The Nutcracker pas de trois danced by Ekaterina Maximova and her husband Vladimir Vassiliev when they were still kids from Moscow ballet school. Totally surprising and delightful.
-The Nutcracker Sugar Plum Fairy solo- with a very young Ekaterina Maximova. Beautiful.
-The Fountain of Bakhchiserai-excerpts- Unique opportunity of seeing two of the greatest Bolshoi prima ballerinas, Ulanova and Plisetskaya, dancing together. Wonderful.
-The little Humbacked Horse-with Plisetskaya and Vassiliev. Nice excerpt of a not usual ballet.
The picture quality from the excerpts is pretty good and carefully treated.
In conclusion, a worthy video for whoever interested in russian ballet and that wants watching how danced some of its legends.
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on 24 September 2005
The Bolshoi are a strong contrast in style to the pretty and neat Royal Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet. This is not ballet for vegetarians. The role of the male dancer is enhanced and he revels in his masculinity.The performances will usually but not invariably go for the big effect. Occasionally this may appear slapdash but usually the performances almost bounce out of your screen. They are much more naturalisic than stylised. If you like red meat and red wine you will love this.
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