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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2007
This is a very classical production of Giselle by the Kirov forces in the early 1980s. Sets and costumes are exactly what one would expect in this kind of production: traditional and beautiful. In the second Act there are some impressive tricks (dancers floating above the stage, etc.), which are perfectly executed and quite effective. The picture and sound quality are good. The performance was filmed live, so you get the audience's responce (which I like), as well as some thumping from the dancers' feet (which I could do without).

I believe there is no need to stress that the corps is great. Anyone who has seen Kirov performances from that era knows that they carried sort of a guarantee of excellence.

Terekhova, who dances Myrtha, the Queen of the ghosts, is pefect. The absolute control of movement combined with an icy expression, gives a spooky and at the same time fascinating feeling to the part. I wish she had more to do -I couldn't get enough of her.

Zaklinski is Albrecht, Giselle's controversial lover. I had seen him before in the Kirov's Corsaire, dancing the slave-trader, which is almost a character role. He was great there too, but what a surprise to see him here. He is an excellent noble dancer, very stylish, very handsome, and a good actor, too. Acting abilities were mandatory in this case, not only beacause of the complexity of the part, but also because he was coupled with such a Giselle!

Which brings us to Mezentseva, the Giselle. She is the main reason I'm writing this review. I've read reviews describing her as "an ancient anorexic" or even -in the American Amazon,- "a bag of bones". True, she is not pretty. She is tall, her shoulders are broad and she is VERY thin. If I were the costume designer, I'd have covered her arms and bust by all means. But a great artist does not need looks. And a great artist she is. One minute after she appears, the "look" issue was forgotten for me. Her dancing is excellent, in the best Kirov tradition. Wonderful, fluid movement, absolute control, perfect form, -everything you'd expect from a Kirov prima ballerina,- but her ACTING is what absolutely took my breath away. What a wonderful Giselle she is! Her Act I finale almost had me in tears. In fact she IS in tears, herself. You can see them streaming down her cheeks as she turns from her mother to Albrecht in despair. Her madness and death-scene are unforgetable. And how naturally she slides into the un-natural state of Giselle in the 2nd Act. Somehow she is and is not the village girl anymore. She is gentle, compassionate and detached. A spirit.

This was a very rewarding purchase for me, and, unless what you are looking for is a lovely creature dancing pirouettes, I would definitely recomend it.
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on 2 October 2006
Recorded live at the Kirov (Mariinsky) Theatre in 1983, this performance by the Kirov Ballet is based on the traditional staging of the ballet. As a result of the continuity of performance in St. Petersburg/Leningrad since 1842, the Kirov staging is generally considererd to remain an ideal realization of this work.

Galina Mezentseva, who dances the title role, is very good indeed, although she doesn't look like a young and innocent village girl. Konstantin Zaklinsky (Albrecht) looks like a rare "danseur noble". He is a superb dancer. In the Act 2, all the leading soloists, including Tatyana Terekhova (Mrytha), are excellent. Mezentseva's dancing has an ethereal quality.

The corps de ballet are simply sublime. Their musicality is excellent, performing with grace, reacting to music and conveying the atmosphere in Act 2 superbly well. Understandably, there are frequent bursts of applause from the enthusiastic audience, this film being a live recording. But, who could blame them?

The costumes and stage sets are very beautiful. The stereo sound is very clear. Adolphe Adam's music is beautifully played by the Kirov (Mariinsky) Theatre Orchestra under the direction of Victor Fedotov.
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on 4 November 2008
I agree entirely with other reviewer's comments as regards the excellence
of this very moving and unforgetable performance.

I have watched it on countless occasions and often back to back.It is so beautiful and compelling,it has frequently left me in tears. Galina Metsenseva as Giselle is absolutely perfect-such grace and fluidity,amazing.(Yes,she is a little thin, but so what!) Konstantin Zaklinsky is an equally perfect Albrecht. "Queen of the Wilies",Tatyana Terekhova, is breathtaking also.

The Corp surpasses itself as one had come to expect of this 1983 production by the Kirov. (Typical Russian Classical Ballet ,a la Kirov)

Fedotov conducts to his usual high standards and sound is fine.Of course,Adam's score is very beautiful indeed. Picture quality (shows it's age) is the only snag,if slight, and certainly should not deter any ballet lover.

A must for all ballet lovers.
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on 13 July 2004
The only reason to buy this dvd is Ms. Mezentseva and buy it you must! I give her ten stars! Ms. Mezentseva is one of those rare dancers who posses the unique ability of making a role her own by force of her sublime lines, her long arms and her radiant soul which come through in her every gesture. They remain ingraved in your mind like pidtures. This is the russian school at it's purest.
A ballet of the romantic era, Giselle is also one of the hardest to interpret since it requires gestures and body language very different from the classical era and because of it's being devoid of anything superficial or superfluous. This is a different dicipline all together. Ms. Mezentseva takes you through a voyage in time without being outdated. She is every inch the simple vilage teenager of the 19th century inlove with Albrecht. In the second act she is the otherworldly willy and a protective and compassionate SOUL.To perform this ballet in it's integrity one must forget about the self and concentrate on being the incarnation of love. If you are looking for passion and romantic love in the second act you will not find it here.
Ms. Mezentseva is the last truely great russian ballerina which the communist regime produced. It is left to be seen what russian ballet will look like in the future. At the moment it does not look very promising.
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Immediately the corps de ballet appears on the scene it is obvious this is a Russian performance, their natural empathy with ballet shines through.

Mezentseva as Giselle is sublime; "michaelfraydon's" review sums up her performance excellently. There is a light fluidity about her dancing that is perfect for the part both in Acts 1 and 2, and she has a sensitive partner in Konstantin Zaklinsky as Albrecht who also gives us some fine dancing.

The only audio option is Dolby Digital and unfortunately this imparts a bright hard edge to the strings. The photographic quality is good but this production cries out for widescreen, there is simply too much panning in full screen resulting all too often in sections of the performance being left out.

But the DVD is all about Mezentseva and should not be missed.
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on 17 March 2013
I especially chose a Russian version of this ballet, as I have seen many productions at Covent Garden, and wanted to compare these versions with their version. It does not disappoint, and as for the prima ballerina being an older woman, I am a much older woman myself and anyway, Fonteyn dancing with Nureyev shows how the inner soul comes through the ageing physical self. Its the body movement one looks at, and the acting ability of the dancer. Bravo, I say.,
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on 12 April 2003
It has taken me a long time to watch this ballet. I started on it about 18months ago and have never passed act 1! The music is great, the costumes colourful the dancing OK. The prima ballerina, who is supposed to be a young village maiden, looked to be an ancient anorexic! It totally put me off and I shelved the disc.
1 star.
Recently I dusted the disc off and played it for the music while I was working so I finally got to the ghosts.
Gain 3 stars!
The ancient anorexic suddenly fits to perfection – she was wonderful – light airy dancing, just as a ghost should be.
The Kirov’s dark, depressing stage also suited the mood – So, if at first you do not enjoy – keep trying.
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on 6 March 2015
As lovely as I remember it when I showed it yo my children 30 years ago and have now introduced if to my grandchildren. The quality of the dancing is second to none
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on 3 May 2015
Very good quality video. The plot starts a little slow for my taste but builds up towardsthe endinto some fine dancing.
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on 8 June 2016
Purchased as a present for another. Was accepted with pleasure!
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