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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Swan Lake: Mariinsky Ballet [DVD] [2002]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£12.70+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 25 September 2011
I agree with most what was said about this performance and I won't repeat that. My addition to that is the following:
1- This is the only performance I know of, where the tutor and the magician are not the same person. In fact, the tutor appears here as an old and weak guy that everybody like to make fun of
2- Regarding the figures of Odette and other dancers, I think there figures are better than in other performances except in close-ups where there necks and upper chest reveals the missing "meals".
3- The bonus material is very nice. This is the first bonus where I found some attention to explain the meaning of some dance movements.
4- Beware not to view the bonus material before viewing the performance (like me) because it has some demonstrations from old and newer performances and none of them have blu ray quality and I worried about the picture quality of the performance.
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on 23 February 2014
Many years ago I saw the Bolsoi ballet perform Swan Lake at Covent Garden but I don't remember seeing anything like this. It was marvelous to watch, and with Gergiev conducting the music was as faultless as I could tell. I rate this performance extremely high.
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on 6 October 2015
Sorry, but in my opinion this is not a patch on the Makhalina/Zelensky performance. I found it painful to watch a dancing skeleton!Tchaikovsky : Swan Lake [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
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on 25 August 2017
ten out ten.
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on 7 January 2011
I am surprised that this performance has only been reviewed by three people! It is such a good performance. Leading artists under the famous Mariinsky Company, absolutely top notch recording - what more could you want!

This is a simply amazing performance. Ulyana Lopatkina is fabulous as Odette/Odile. Yes, I agree with another reviewer that from a visual perspective she would look better after a few good meals but I'm not going to drop a star for that! Andrei Ivanov, who plays the Jester, is magnificent and is worthy of a special accolade.

Technically, this disc is amazing. It is now my number 1 demonstration disc. Pictures are pristine sharp showing wonderful natural colours and with excellent sound. There is a good menu system and the disc comes with a number of interesting extras, most of which are also in high definition. Darcey Bussell introduces several of these extra features, including a brief talk and demonstration of the 'fouettes en tournant' which features towards the end of the 2nd Act.

I heartily recommend this purchase to anyone who is thinking of purchasing this wonderful ballet. Although price should not be the deciding factor, it has to be said that at just under £15 this is an absolute bargain! Ironically, it is a few pennies cheaper than the standard dvd. The disc comes with an informative booklet.
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on 20 September 2010
A richly enjoyable rendition of Swan Lake produced by the BBC at the beautiful Mariinsky theatre St. Petersburg.

Gigantic, awe inspiring backdrops and impeccably detailed, opulent costumes contibute to the visual feast. The music is flawless and perfectly timed. The lighting is also extremely well balanced leaving the set visible but not distracting.
Camera work is razor sharp at all times switching between full stage, principal dancers and single dancer close-ups at well rehearsed moments.

But it is the male leads who steal the show, especially the Jester (Andrei Ivanov) who, although a good foot shorter than the prince, leaps about the stage like a gazelle. The acting is also very good. Rothbart's gaze is especially expressive.

The disc is provided with a 30 page programme in English, German and French listing the scenes, acts and players and describing the story of the ballet and the history of the Mariinsky production.

There are seven short documentaries included the disc:
1. What is Swan Lake?
2. The Story
3. The Music
4. The Origins
5. The Dance
6. The Corps de Ballet
7. The Prima Ballerina

Each run at about 10 minutes. Some scenes appear to be high-definition while others are clearly of a lesser quality. All are fairly enjoyable and informative.

My only criticism concerns Odette (Ulyana Lopatkina) who, although clearly an incredible dancer, is completely emaciated. To me there is very little which is beautiful or feminine about her wirey arms, odd bulges, square jaw and sinewy neck. Some of the corps would also be far more attractive but for a hearty meal or two. The uglyness of these dancers can be a distraction, especially in glorious HD, but fortunately, their on-screen moments pass quickly.

I'm very pleased with this product and my disappointment with Odette is outweighed by so much beauty in this impressive and lovingly produced disc.
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on 3 March 2012
One of the glories of this expertly-filmed performance is the vivid realisation of Tchaikovsky's score, under the baton of Gergiev. There is nothing like a St.Petersburg orchestra for Tchaikovsky ! Here this thrilling music sounds brilliantly colourful and expressive.

On this dvd there is a great deal to admire in the dancing of the Mariinsky Company, their sheer technique is often stunning. Nevertheless it has to be said that this performance of "Swan Lake" is in several respects disappointing.

This performance sometimes has the quality of a marvellous dance-exhibition. This is the most famous Ballet in the world -but it is not simply a choreographic exhibit, or relic of a bygone era, it is a living human drama which speaks to the heart.

The wonderful choreography of "Swan Lake" needs constantly refreshed inspiration -not necessarily to change it, but to bring it to renewed life. The Mariinsky artists on this dvd are superb, often breathtaking. But so much effort was given to keeping this wonderful ballet as it was in the past, life-giving creativity was apparently overlooked. It feels stylistically preserved, like something in aspic.

This performance often lacks the spark of fresh feeling, which injects meaning and new vitality into famous choreography -and which lifts and excites the imagination of the audience. For example, the role of the Jester is here brilliantly danced, but despite all his stunning jumps the effect is oddly serious and unspontaneous. The lively opportunity the Jester presents for amusing contrast is missed. There aren't many smiles from anyone in this performance.

"Swan Lake" has a theme which haunts the mind. It is a dazzling vision of an unseen emotional dimension. The stage designs for this magical drama must somehow open up and set free the viewer's imagination. Visually, "Swan Lake" calls for something that will make an audience gasp. But as a frame for some of the world's greatest dancers, what do we see here ?

The scenery and costumes are in a sense appropriate, but where are magic and originality, where are stimulating ideas and fresh inspiration ? There is nothing here to seize our glance and surprise us, nothing to make us catch our breath and look twice. Visually, this production is completely predictable in almost every detail.

Everything is bland, the designs are routine 'pantomime gothic', and would be just as suited to "Babes in the Wood". This is not good enough for a world-class company like the Mariinsky. Except for a striking Genghis-Khan outfit for Baron Rothbart, the costumes generally lack individuality, definition, or even interesting colour.

"Swan Lake" is not just charming entertainment or a pantomime fairytale, no matter how skilfully performed by the dancers. Tchaikovsky's glorious music tells us: this is a disconcerting drama about the dark and dangerous magic of beauty, and the devastating power of love in human lives.

Like all the most uplifting theatrical experiences, "Swan Lake" is paradoxically a tragedy. Modern audiences expect, and are hoping for, a truly inspired production of "Swan Lake" which takes seriously all the drama which explodes from this unforgettable work of art.
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on 14 May 2014
The glorious Uliana Lopatkina is surely the most memorable Odette/Odile of her generation and you couldn't find a more attentive Siegfried in Danila Korsuntsev. The swans are superlative in this and sharp-eyed fans might spot the young Evgenia Obraztsova, Olesya Novikova, Daria Sukhorukova, Alina Somova and Viktoria Tereshkina - now stars in their own right in various companies- among the cygnets and solo swans. Ilya Kuznetsov makes an authoritative Rothbart (this is the Russian version of the role where Rothbart is danced rather than mimed). As with any Mariinsky performance of Swan Lake, a highlight of this recording is their elegant and commanding rendition of the mazurka and czardas in Act 3 - unmatched elsewhere. If you can only ever buy one recording of Swan Lake (or a first time purchase for a newcomer to ballet), I would pick this one.
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on 12 March 2008
Having had the privilege of seeing Lopatkina dance this on the stage of the Mariinsky in 2005, I'm at a loss to understand how 1996 can have been considered by another reviewer to have been too late in her career. She moves with grace and a sense of absolute tragedy - exactly what Odette requires from a prima ballerina. Her portrayal of Odile is fiery and, while not outright sexy (in my opinion), is compelling and dangerous. The corps de ballet is superb - a trademark of the Kirov - the orchestra is to-die-for, and I believe any balletomane would be delighted by this production of Swan Lake.
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on 3 December 2010
With superb camera work and excellent production only the Bolshoi stand any chance of beating this! Has the edge on the London and Paris bluray versions which are very good
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