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Enjoyable version by Balanchine
on 6 November 2006
This recording was made at a live performance in 1999 in London when The Pacific Northwest Ballet (of Seattle, USA) was on tour. It is an enjoyable version choreographed by George Balanchine. Whereas Frederick Ashton's version ("The Dream") has only one act, this version has two acts. Since Mendelssohn's incidental music is not long enough for a full-length ballet, other music by the same composer is used. Not only additions were made, but also the original music has been arranged, which may not be to everyone's taste.
The entire action of the story takes place in the first act. The dancing and acting by all the soloists are good. The role of Tatiana is danced by Patricia Barker sensitively. The humourous Puck's role is acted well. The four lovers show tenderness and humour. The children who act as fairies are charming. The second act has no narrative and is pure classical dance. It celebrates the three weddings: of Theseus to Hippolyta, of Hermia to Lysander, and of Helena to Demetrius.
If you are a purist and want to see a version which uses only the original incidental music, then "The Dream" by Ashton (danced by The American Ballet Theatre, and on the DVD issued by Arthaus Musik) will be for you. However, if you don't mind about the purity of music used, and if you like Balanchine's classical choreography, then this version under review will be very enjoyable. The picture quality is very good, and the digital sound clear.