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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 3 April 2010
Incredible as it may seem, this 3 record set contains as many important productions of the eighties, each of them a treasure filmed live at Covent Garden, choreographed by Sir MacMillan:
l. One of the best "Romeo and Juliet" ever (1984),the title roles danced by Alessandra Ferri and Wayne Eagling - two of the greater interpreters of this Shakespearean tragedy, music by Prokofiev, unforgettable and impressive in their portrayals.
2. The original "Manon"(1982)danced by Anthony Dowell(a prince among dancers,an icon of classic perfection)and Jennifer Penny - both Macmillan's choice for the main roles, music by Massenet.Dame Monica Mason dancing the role of Lescault's mistress.
3. The fairy story "The prince of the pagodas)created for a 19 year-old Darcey Bussel( 1990), quite a beautiful, lavish production, surprisingly vivid and danceable music by Britten. Darcey Bussell partner is Jonathan Cope, Dowell playing the Emperor,Fiona Chadwick princess Epine.
These three 4:3 picture format dvd are essential pieces of collection for a ballet lover, and a bargain!Do rush and get the set.
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on 13 January 2012
I spent most of my pre married life at Covent Garden queuing for tickets and watching performances and was fortunate to be at many a world premiere of Kenneth MacMillans ballets. This DVD includes two of my absolute favourites and it was wonderful to see the Royal Ballet as they used to be in the "good old days".

Great value and very watchable.
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on 19 December 2012
Romeo and Juliet was fabulous. Having seen the Tamara Rojo and Lauren Cuthbertson versions, I think Alessandra Ferri outshines them, her dancing is so beautiful. Wayne Eagling is well-suited to her as a partner and, although not as spectacular as her when dancing alone, portrays Romeo very well. The story-telling is everything you would expect of the Royal and then some. The corps de ballet were generally very strong, the lead harlot lacked some of the spark of the other two productions but still danced well. It's worth buying for this DVD alone.

Manon I find it more difficult to love. I cannot fault the dancing but I find this ballet difficult to get into. The famous bedroom pas de deux is very good, however I find it hard to be drawn into the storyline and struggle to watch it all the way through, personally I find the heroine unlikeable, though I understand she is a very awkward character to portray and to understand. Worth a watch but I'm not convinced by it.

Prince of Pagodas is possibly the weakest of the three on this disc. As before I have no fault with the dancing and Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope excel in their roles. Again the storyline is difficult to get into and I find it difficult to maintain interest in the characters. Worth a repeat viewing however as there are some good moments.

It's worth it for R and J, but Manon and Prince of Pagodas deserve a viewing. Many people will disagree with me over Manon and Prince of Pagodas and that's fine, I won't fault the dancing but they weren't to my taste.
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on 13 May 2016
My reason for four stars? Well, this is such a bargain set, to quibble at the DVD transfer quality seems cavalier. However, when one sees what can be achieved technically with restorations these days, it is disappointing that a better transfer could not have been managed. Had the original tapes been trashed? OK one can say that the production is over-lit - but that is a price one paid for televised theatre in that period, given that cameras needed more light. And bear in mind these are in the 3 x 4 format - the standard ratio for broadcasting then, so on your 16 x 9 TV you will have black bands at the side.
That said, these are performances to be treasured - in R&J, Ferri delivers a performance of great beauty and lyricism - compare the use of her arms to other interpreters. Her acting, as always, is highly detailed and totally true to the character. The whole company were on great form, all giving rounded performances.
Dowell and Penny are as perfect as I remember them in Manon at the Garden in the 80's - and as for David Wall's Lescaut - well what an artiste he was. Superb. Again the whole company is working towards one goal.
Sadly, the audio track for Manon is not of the highest quality, and does not do justice to what is a fine score, compiled as it is from Massenet's works. The recording with the ROH orchestra conducted by Richard Bonynge of the complete ballet score (Decca July 2002) is worth listening to, as it delivers what is missing on the DVD.
For some reason, I have always resisted Prince of the Pagodas, but having just watched the first act I look forward to settling down and seeing it all in one hit. The DVD quality seems to be better.
The extra documentary about Macmillan and his work is superb and a real eye opener - with clips from his early works this is a real must.
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on 2 January 2014
Having seen Anthony Dowell dance in the 70s, jumped at this DVD
Really good value for money.
Superb reproduction.
Brilliant ballets. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
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on 3 November 2015
Video quality is exceptionally poor due to old recordings which haven't been remastered which is disappointing after having the luxury of watching widescreen, HD ballets from the Royal Ballet filmed in recent years. I bought this version to experience Prince of the Pagodas but found it lacklustre because of the poor quality.
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on 10 February 2013
This dvd is excellent,the 3 ballets being well reproduced. The pieces are technically much better than my original video copies.
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on 3 April 2015
To be watched many times. Macmillan at his best, with wonderful artists from The Royal Ballet. You won't be sorry you bought this DVD.
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on 17 June 2015
Three great ballets for a very reasonable price.
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on 15 April 2016
Good service.as always
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