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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 2006
Out of all the 'Swan Lake' productions I have seen, never have I seen one as amazing as this one! With absolutely beautiful costumes, designs and choreography, the Kirov Ballet present us with the best production of theis most famous and popular of classical ballets. With the beautiful choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with the familiar happy ending in this version by Konstantin Sergeyev in this fabulous production by Oleg Vinogradov, this is a production that all ballet fans should definitely watch! But of course, this production would not have been complete without the amazing dancers of the Kirov Ballet, which includes prima ballerina Yulia Makhalina and international star Igor Zelensky.

Yulia Makhalina is the Swan Queen!! In this performance, we see her performing her best role. Yulia's remarkable Odette stole my heart! Her beautiful soft and smooth technique, her upper body strength, her long legs and her swan-like arms are all suited to the role and her acting is absolutely superb with her tragic innocence and her passionate tenderness. As Odile, she certainly swept me off my feet! Her amazing upper body strength, her jerky technique and her amazing evil face expressions definitely helped me to realise how she can seduce Siegfried - she nearly seduced me! And I have never seen someone perform Odile's 32 fouettes so well. Yulia's fouettes are far more impressive than Darcey Bussell's talent of dancing! She is the best Odette/Odile I have ever seen in my entire life. She makes it look as though she is a real swan in disguise!!

I fell in love with Igor Zelensky's Prince Siegfried. Igor is at the height of all his jumps, his spinning is superb, his acting is so charming and he partners Yulia extremely well. The role of Siegfried is a very demanding role, but Igor makes it look easy with his amazing jumps and his incredible upper body strength. His Siegfried is passionate, desirible, believing and real. His amazing acting makes it look as he is the real Prince Siegfried, he definitely is the greatest Siegfried I have ever seen.

Igor and Yulia's partnership is absolutely outstanding! They certainly filled the White Swan Pas de Deux in Act 1, scene 2 with much passion and love. In fact, throughout the whole Pas de Deux, Igor had a look on his face that suggested that all he wanted to do was to hold Yulia in his arms and never let her go - amazing! The White Swan Pas de Deux has always been one of my favourites and I have never seen it being performed in a more beautiful way. This definitely shows us why Yulia Makhalina and Igor Zelensky's partnership is one of the greatest partnerships ever formed.

In other parts, Yuri Fateyev as the Jester certainly does bring a lot of fun, colour and excitement to Act 1, Scene 1 and Act 2. But it is Eldar Aliyev's Von Rothbart that very nearly steals the show. Eldar's rock hard technique is certainly suited to the role of the evil sorcerer. His extremely evil looks and glares sends a cold shiver down my spine! He looks as though he is staring at me with large amber eyes. In Act 2, he certainly shows that he is extremely determined to stop Odette from escaping his spell, especially when she appears at the window during the Black Swan Pas de Deux. He is definitely one evil sorcerer you do NOT want to mess with!!

This is the best production of 'Swan Lake' I have ever seen in my life. So a word to all ballet fans - 'Buy this DVD because it is the best production of 'Swan Lake' ever! It is especially better than that hideous production by the Royal Ballet!' All praise to the Kirov Ballet.
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on 1 April 2008
Recorded at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1990, this is the current Kirov Ballet version, choreographed by Konstantin Sergeyev in 1950 after the original by Petipa and Ivanov. It is a very stylish and classical version.

The two main roles are danced by then rising stars of the Kirov Ballet. Yulia Makhalina - then 22 years old - had just been promoted to a principal in the previous year. Igor Zelensky - then 21 years old - was promoted to a principal in the following year. They look fresh and display impeccable Russian schooling.

Makhalina, slim and lanky, is a very good Odette and Odile: her dancing is stylish and lyrical. She is particulalry good as Odile in the ballroom scene in Act 2, although she is a little cool in the lakeside scenes in Acts 1 and 3. Zelensky is very good in both technique and style.

The supporting soloists, notably Larissa Lezhnina and Veronika Ivanova as Ziegfried's friends in Act 1, are excellent. Another important factor supporting this performance is the superb corps de ballet in the lakeside scenes. They are very well drilled and the synchronization is remarkable. They all obviously feel the pulse of the music and breathe together.

The Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre performs the music beautifully under the sensitive direction of Victor Fedotov.

My only minor reservation is that this is not a live recording so that the viewer does not hear any response from the audience. It would have been better if they had made a live recording as the viewer will be able to feel the atmosphere of the famous theatre.
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on 21 July 2006
I first saw the Kirov perform this in Edinburgh and was amazed. Pure classical ballet. If the amazing Andre Ivanov was jester then 105% but he wasn't with them at the time. For some reason they filmed this with no audience in St Petersburgh. Does anyone know why not live? Better atmosphere. But just amazing with close ups done at all right times. If you just buy one version I would say it has to be this.
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on 27 July 2010
Having ordered this I was a little worried that it would not work on UK DVD players - it being NTSC.

I needn't have worried. It plays perfectly and the quality of sound and performance is excellent. I am very pleased with it.
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on 31 March 2007
This is a lavish Kirov production of the Tchaikovsky ballet. Wonderful sets, fabulous costumes, a great corps-de-ballet, a magnificent orchestra, plus very good cinematography and recorded sound... It could have been a dream-Swan-Lake-come-true, if it weren't for the two stars. Yulia Makhalina and Igor Zelensky are two excellent dancers, with very solid classic technique and, unfortunately, rather blunt personalities.

Zelensky does some astonishing jetes (jumps), but his interpretation seemed quite detached and cold to me.

Makhalina is more expressive, but she lacks the personality that would make her portrayal of Odette-Odile truly memorable. Her White Swan (Odette) is classical, not in the Ulanova way (regal and tormented), but more in the porcelain ballerina tradition. Her first turns, taken at a verrry slow pace, impressed me, as they were keeping perfect tempo with the orchestra. Later on, though, it seemed like she just was a rather slow turner.

Her Odile was pretty and smiled a lot. Never would it cross my mind that this was a dangerous, villainous, or even particularly sexy, creature. She did perform all her movements, plus the infamous 32 fouetes, without any excitement.

It's a pity, really. With such a high level of production this might have been a "definitive" version of Swan Lake.
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on 4 August 2008
I was knocked out of the ring by this production! I've seen many versions, but this one comes first by a long way. Yulia Makhalina and Igor Zelensky were amazing in their precision, energy, grace &c., &c., &c. Yuri Fateyev, however, as the jester was the special ingredient that made this an absolute masterpiece for me, instead of just a glorious success - he makes it worthy of 6 stars instead of 5. Eldar Aliyev as Rothbart was far and away the best I've seen. Most of all though, the Kirov Theatre Orchestra's performance was what won my heart and stirred my blood (7 stars instead of 6!!). Under Victor Fedotov the music had all the pathos the score demands, and more, but it also had extraordinary crispness and punch when the action needed it (tympani and trombones, especially, at their wondrous best in the climax to the second act). WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T MISS THIS. Although Zelensky might not at first seem handsome enough to be a credible Prince Siegfried, he grows on you, if you give him a chance. At least that's what happened to me.
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on 14 June 2015
This ballet is from 1990 and it is not a live filmed production. However the Kirov ballet are superb and they do not disappoint. This is a very good ballet and production of Swan Lake to own. Please note however that this version contains the court jester and also a happy ending.

Not being live does make the filming feel a bit stilted and it must feel like that for the dancers too because there is no applause, no feedback appreciation for their excellent dancing and superb talents, and Prince Siegfried is really something special to watch in this. On a few occasions the camera also pans out when it really should have panned in on the dancing but they are just my own very minor gripes. The theatre where it was filmed is also beautiful and this is a lovely ballet very well done.
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on 4 May 2012
As good as Yulia Makhalina is in this production, Igor Zelensky steals the show and makes this a story about Prince Siegfried. He has the technique and the power, and he is also very expressive. Nothing is overstated in this production which may put some viewers off. Makhalina is alluring in the third act (called the second act here because the first two are combined) but does not engage in any of the sterotypical "sexiness" many dancers think is required, for example. Dancing of all the other soloists and the corps de ballet is of top quality. Potential buyers should be warned that we get the happy ending in which Siegfried and Odette are united in life rather than death (it does look corny when Siegfried tears of Rothbart's wing) because this is the Ivanov version (minus some variations). It is also filmed on stage but without an audience.
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on 12 August 2013
I purchased this DVD from Amazon UK, as it stated viewable in all regions.
As it turned out it was not viewable in Region 1, which is Canada & USA.
After contacting Amazon UK & supplier The Sigma Group, I received very
informative replies from both, that I could return the disc & get a full refund.
ThankYou for the great service.
I have since purchased this DVD from Amazon Canada. It is a great performance
by the Kirov Ballet.
I have a friend who is a local ballet dancer, and her mother was as well in Europe.
They have both seen this DVD and say it is a superb performance.
I highly recommend it if you like Swan Lake.
Robert The Bruce
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on 9 July 2016
Disappointed. Jus been to see swan lake and wanted to purchase a DVD. Wasn't impressed. I would have enjoyed it more if the camera was pointing at the whole stage at all times. They showed parts they wanted u to watch only. Ballet dancing was amazing and beautiful to watch.
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