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on 4 December 2015
For lovers of this ballet, this production should be a 'must have' purchase. The magnificent Mariinski Theatre with it's huge stage is the spiritual home of this Tchaikovsky ballet & this spectacular version does it more than justice.
Not since Natalia Makarova has Russia produced an 'Odette/Odile' as heart-rending & captivating as Ulyana Lopstkina who's performance brings a unique combination of emotion, flawless technique & that exciting almost heart-stopping flourish of fouettés - every other a double - in the celebrated 'Black Swan' solo of act III. She is ably partnered by the 'Siegfried' of Danila Korsuntsev who gives a an assured performance with flashes of virtuosity in his solos & is entirely believeable as a Prince who is drawn into this drama, which of course being a Russian production has a happy ending rather than European versions which has Odette & Siegfried drowning in the lake, to be re-united in a redemptive eternal life.
However, the rôle of the'Jester', no matter how brilliantly danced, (here by the obviously talented Andrei Ivanov), tends to upstage & distract from the action & ultimately becomes tiresome!
The evil 'Rothbart' is in the capable hands of Ilya Kuznestsov, a character artist/dancer with years of experience in this rôle. Mention must also be made of the non-dancing rôle of the Queen, here given the finest interpretation by Alexandra Gronskaya. Tall, regal, with acutely delivered mime perfectly conveying all facets of feeling, expectations, & finally shock & heartbreak at the end of the ballroom act. After Lopatkina delivers a devastating beguiling and transfixing performance as Odile to hypnotise Siegfried into believing she is Odette, there is one of the most dramatic and upsetting scenes in all ballet. The evil couple reveal their true intentions and depart, throwing the court into chaos, Siegfried, distraught, dashes off into the night leaving his mother to collapse into the arms of her attendants....
The final act by the lakeside Is heartbreakingly beautiful and Tchaikovsky’s music is nothing short of miraculous.
All the music is included here, some of which is always cut in European productions & will be unknown to many.
The designs have been realised into stunning scenery & sumptuous costumes. Thankfully, the usually over-done hand gestures from corps de ballet members & courtiers, as soloists dance by, have been eliminated! All Russian ballet suffers from this distracting practice!
The huge orchestra gives a thrilling account of Tchaikovsky's famous score & this DVD has the added bonus of Valery Gergiev as conductor.
It will be a long time before Swan Lake will be given a production to top this!
This is arguably the best Swan Lake ever to be placed before an audience!
Excellent booklet included.
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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 19 August 2014
Ms Lopatkina is THE (not “one of”, but I do mean, “the”) most exquisite Swan Queen (and her mysterious counterpart, of course) of our time. No one else but Ms Lopatkina has that mixture of delicateness, sincerity and purity, innate warmth and soulfulness, genuine forgivingness, and regalness. She has the most profound of expressions. She does so without letting anyone see her strictly disciplined minds and totally controlled body from head to toe (to finger tips); and without needing to show off her skills like most others do.
Her artistry goes beyond just being unequalled; because her soul becomes that of a character, and above all, that of the music; with music, she floats on stage (cheating gravity, as someone has once described; it is a wonder how she can express all the human emotions from the deepest of her heart and with warmth, while she “is” airy and weightless); and her soul transcends audiences into a timeless space, in which we become hypnotised as we breathe in the magical air.
– During Mariinsky’s London tour at the ROH in the summer of 2014, I was so privileged to have been able to travel to the lake side where Ms Lopatkina’s story unfolded. Her maturity, in particular, as an artist, is apparent in her all-embracing reactions to her fans. These qualities are the quintessence of entertainment in her comical roles as well. Ms Lopatkina was also in Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, my favourite ballet. She was the passion, happiness, devastation, forgiveness, and in the end, death. –
This Blu-ray will be for ever my treasure in the memory of her appearances at the London stage (I hope she will come back to London during the Mariinsky’s next tour here).
Mr Korsuntsev was not able to make to the London stage in 2014, but here, he is a noble prince, creating such breathtaking scenes especially in Pas de Deux both in Act I and II with Ms Lopatkina. All the supporting casts also have strong techniques and sophisticated expressiveness; Mr Kuznetsov’s von Rothbart is particularly deliciously evil (!), Mr Ivanov is an amazing Jester, Mr Korsakov is an excellent friend to the prince, so are the two ladies.
Small or Large, Swan Quartets are also fantastic in complete synchronisation. All the folk dances are beautifully choreographed and danced. Everyone could not help themselves for commenting on the level of Mariinsky’s Corps de Ballet during their London tour; and with a good reason. Only the best of the best dancers can be in the Mariinsky’s Corps, and this recording was able to capture that.
Sets and costumes are gorgeous; in particular, the use of colours are wonderful.
Orchestra is amazing, too. Mr Gergiev has the ability to bring out the best in each player. My special congratulations to Violin and Cello soloists for their genuinely impressive performances.
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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 5 August 2013
What can one say... The orchestra is great, the conductor is highly regarded by all musicians, the venue is opulent, and the ballet company is the largest and best trained in the world. The pas de trios is utterly amazing, and the soloist is unbelievable! When you then add the most perfect corps de ballet all moving as one.... Perfection.
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on 25 August 2017
ten out ten.
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on 30 March 2015
Saw this performance live in St Petersburg and fell in love it. This disk does that performance full justice.
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on 8 January 2014
If you like ballet - this is the version of Swan Lake to buy. (According to my wife) Though I'm not sure that there's a lot of benefit in getting the Blu-ray version.
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