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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 7 November 2011
I have always found the music of Cinderella as one of Prokofiev's fascinating compositions, although the general opinion decades ago was that it was more of a Children's thingy. The ballet too, was relegated to the realm of slapstick and in some cases, experimented with to the point of Eurotrashy type of approach.(I have had the Fredrick Ashton choreographed version starring Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell for some time and enjoyed it tremendously - The Paris version disappointed horribly - The Monte Carlo version is Morose).

I would rate this one even better than the 1969 Royal Ballet production and many others for a few reasons:

1. Prokofiev's music points to a work that is complex. It is a mixture of fantasy, comedy, romance and quiet desperation. This production has less of slapstick and more of substance, quite unlike the Ashton production portrays in its approach.

2. There is some slapstick in this one too, but of the more subtle and difficult kind that Dumpy has brought out so well that she is really my star of this production....Skinny and stepmother are not too far behind...

3. They did not cast men as ugly sisters to make them look ugly. The ugliness brought out by Skinny (Gaylene Cummerfield) and Dumpy (Carol-Anne Millar) are those of their 'mind and attitude' - which makes them ugly rather than their physical attributes... The faulty footwork of Dumpy needs a lot of effort and work, and she has pulled it off brilliantly (Something like Alain in La Fille Mal Gardee)...Marion Tait as the stepmother is a wonderful actror which does a world of good for the ballet as a whole... her meanness is beautifully portrayed.

3.Elisha Willis dances the role of Cinderella and Iain Mackay portrays the Prince. Both are really good in their roles, nothing to complain....

4.Choreographer David Bintley shows far more maturity in his approach towards this work than any others I have seen. The sets, by John Macfarlane, are excellent and go well with the ballet and thankfully, they both have refrained from trying to make the ballet fit a different period and is thankfully devoid stuff and nonsense from the 22nd century or eurotrash. (The Paris version locates the story in Hollywood ...The Prince is a movie star and the Fairy Godmother a producer!)

5. The music is well performed and the recording and video are superb.

Well done, Birmingham... far better than was probably expected and certainly trumps most other productions of Cinderella by quite a few yards, although some music, therefore dance, has been deleted in this version. I did not miss those too much.

A Blu Ray that satisfies beautifully.... recommended highly.
11 comment| 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This performance is a brilliant example of how best to blend traditional expectations with modern inspirational qualities and I loved every minute of it, not least because it reinstates me within that magical world of childhood which, I have to confess, has never really left me. In the modern world it seems to me that children are deprived all too soon of their childhood sense of wonder. I simply loved the dancers dressed up as frogs, lizards, rats and mice. This kind of thing, along with the ugly sisters and much else besides was all so imaginative, and yet so realistic. The whole performance is a parody of how we all actually behave with our attitudinal machinations and social synchronising. Best of all, it causes us to laugh at ourselves and become truly happy.

Yes, that's what this scintillating dance performance of Cinderella is all about and I would not fault it in any way. If you're going to put on a performance, do it this way and create an all time great. That's why DVDs are such a wonderful invention. Now we can watch this inspiring performance over and over again whenever we feel like it. Here we have a strong, realistically, unsoppified portrayal of the relationship between Cinderella and Prince Charming, so admirably danced by Elisha Willis and Iain Mackay. In fact, all the dancers were first rate as they performed to the inspiring music of Sergei Prokofiev. The years pass and such great performances as this one recede further and further into the past. All I can say to that is: this one deserves to live forever.
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on 23 August 2011
Ballet the Cinderella performed by this troupe very much was pleasant to me. Very interesting and original statement of ballet, magnificent execution by ballet dancers of the roles me has impressed. To it it is necessary to add very beautiful suits, scenery and fine sounding of an orchestra. Quality of a disk good, very beautiful colors and good contrast. I live in St.-Petersburg, often I go to the Maryinsky Theater, saw many different statements of ballet the Cinderella. Performance on this disk - one of the best what I saw. Very much it would be desirable to get and other works of this troupe. If there are disks with ballets Quixote, the Nutcracker, the Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and other performances performed by troupe Birminghaim Royal ballet, I with pleasure will take them for the collection. Once again thanks theater for magnificent work.
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on 9 November 2011
I have always found the music of Cinderella as one of Prokofiev's fascinating compositions, although the general opinion decades ago was that it was more of a Children's thingy. The ballet too, was relegated to the realm of slapstick and in some cases, experimented with to the point of Eurotrashy type of approach.(I have had the Fredrick Ashton choreographed version starring Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell for some time and enjoyed it tremendously - The Paris version disappointed horribly - The Monte Carlo version is Morose).

I would rate this one even better than the 1969 Royal Ballet production and many others for a few reasons:

1. Prokofiev's music points to a work that is complex. It is a mixture of fantasy, comedy, romance and quiet desperation. This production has less of slapstick and more of substance, quite unlike the Ashton production portrays in its approach.

2. There is some slapstick in this one too, but of the more subtle and difficult kind that Dumpy has brought out so well that she is really my star of this production....Skinny and stepmother are not too far behind...

3. They did not cast men as ugly sisters to make them look ugly. The ugliness brought out by Skinny (Gaylene Cummerfield) and Dumpy (Carol-Anne Millar) are those of their 'mind and attitude' - which makes them ugly rather than their physical attributes... The faulty footwork of Dumpy needs a lot of effort and work, and she has pulled it off brilliantly (Something like Alain in La Fille Mal Gardee)...Marion Tait as the stepmother is a wonderful actror which does a world of good for the ballet as a whole... her meanness is beautifully portrayed.

3.Elisha Willis dances the role of Cinderella and Iain Mackay portrays the Prince. Both are really good in their roles, nothing to complain....

4.Choreographer David Bintley shows far more maturity in his approach towards this work than any others I have seen. The sets, by John Macfarlane, are excellent and go well with the ballet and thankfully, they both have refrained from trying to make the ballet fit a different period and is thankfully devoid stuff and nonsense from the 22nd century or eurotrash. (The Paris version locates the story in Hollywood ...The Prince is a movie star and the Fairy Godmother a producer!)

5. The music is well performed and the recording and video are superb.

Well done, Birmingham... far better than was probably expected and certainly trumps most other productions of Cinderella by quite a few yards, although some music, therefore dance, has been deleted in this version. I did not miss those too much.

A Blu Ray that satisfies beautifully.... recommended highly.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 October 2011
This is everything you expect from the Royal Ballet. Casting was perfect, scenery and costumes alluring and the dancing just stunning! This is truly a magical and shimmering fantasy which was made even more magical by Cinderella vanishing at midnight through the mechanism of an amazing large clock, the glittering frosted coach brought on by the mice and lizards and the principle dancers, Elisha Willis and her prince Iain Mackay, was a feast for the eyes. The score by Porkofiev and David Bintley's choreography will sear through to your spirit and elevate you towards the heavenlies. Enjoy!!
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on 29 September 2011
Far better I believe than the usual type of ballet. This cuts out most of the boring applause every few twirls,
and is "acted" well too, the plump sister steals the comedy credits, they are all good in it I reckon, only
thing missing is the backstage extra shown on Tv which was interesting.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Although this Cinderella is presented with new choreography by Bintley, the ballet could still be described as essentially the traditionally expected version. As such it will be very familiar to those who like the Cinderella story as related in most pantomimes.

Bintley's choreography has plenty of new ideas to present while remaining true to traditional expectations - a winning combination. There is clear humour in portraying the relationship between the two step sisters, Dumpy and Skinny, and their preparations for the ball with various attendants. The stepmother is suitably forbidding and together they combine to create constant unpleasantness for Cinderella without being unbearably cruel. Cinderella herself comes over as a pleasant but very ordinary girl where her own good nature wins through to the marriage of her dreams. The prince is presented as suitably elegant and attentively kind.

The dancing throughout is easily good enough to enjoy enormously and the key roles of Cinderella (Elisha Willis), the Prince (Iain MacKay), Dumpy and Skinny (Anne millar and Gaylene Cummerfield) are completely satisfying without exception and with much good humoured characterisation. Supporting roles are well done and the Corps de Ballet are also excellent with some very visually attractive supporting choreography. The staging is totally successful in creating both the dowdiness of Cinderella's home and the magical transformation in her fortunes.

There are two relevant press comments quoted on the cover and both are worth repeating as being accurate and as follows:

"This Cinderella is a theatrical banquet for the eyes" (The Telegraph)
"In ballet terms, this is a good Cinderella: as theatre, it is sensational" (Daily Express)

The recording values are good without perhaps scaling the heights of the recent productions by other labels such as Opus Arte, Decca or BelAir for example. Imaging is attentive to both detail and panoramic shots and the sound is presented in stereo or Dolby 5:1. I personally found it far more than adequate.

This is a strong visiting card for the Birmingham Ballet. For me it is by far the best of the current 'traditional' versions and offers both modern sound and widescreen to a most enjoyable production.

Overall therefore, and taking into account my previous minor comments about the recording comparisons as above, in my opinion this version from Birmingham is still well worth 5 stars for sheer entertainment and artistic values. Fresh and new while being essentially traditional - something to please everyone!

So overall therefore, the clear favourite for me is this version from Birmingham and well worth serious consideration as a purchase. Fresh and new while being essentially traditional - something to please everyone!

........................................

Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

Ian:
Thank you for recommending this Brilliant Ballet!
EVERYTHING works perfectly: Choreography, Videography(?) Dancing, Acting, Costumes, Sets, Special Effects, Prokofiev's Music, Koen Kessel's Conducting, Lots of Humour, and Fairy-Tale Magic... As you can imagine, it is hugely popular with my Retirement Home Audiences!!. (U.K. review)
22 comments| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 January 2016
This was an enchanting ballet and I cannot fault it. Elisha Willis was just wonderful as Cinders managing to be both the Princess and the poor girl with effortless ease. I loved the Ugly Sisters too - they were really very good dancers and are called Skinny and Dumpy. Everyone knows the story of Cinderella and as a Christmas ballet it was everything I hoped it would be. Unless you are a real non ballet fan I cannot see how anyone would not love this. It would make a much appreciated present any time of year and will be in my collection for years to come. Just magical.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Although this Cinderella is presented with new choreography by Bintley, the ballet could still be described as essentially the traditionally expected version. As such it will be very familiar to those who like the Cinderella story as related in most pantomimes.

Bintley's choreography has plenty of new ideas to present while remaining true to traditional expectations - a winning combination. There is clear humour in portraying the relationship between the two step sisters, Dumpy and Skinny, and their preparations for the ball with various attendants. The stepmother is suitably forbidding and together they combine to create constant unpleasantness for Cinderella without being unbearably cruel. Cinderella herself comes over as a pleasant but very ordinary girl where her own good nature wins through to the marriage of her dreams. The prince is presented as suitably elegant and attentively kind.

The dancing throughout is easily good enough to enjoy enormously and the key roles of Cinderella (Elisha Willis), the Prince (Iain MacKay), Dumpy and Skinny (Anne millar and Gaylene Cummerfield) are completely satisfying without exception and with much good humoured characterisation. Supporting roles are well done and the Corps de Ballet are also excellent with some very visually attractive supporting choreography. The staging is totally successful in creating both the dowdiness of Cinderella's home and the magical transformation in her fortunes.

There are two relevant press comments quoted on the cover and both are worth repeating as being accurate and as follows:
"This Cinderella is a theatrical banquet for the eyes" (The Telegraph)
"In ballet terms, this is a good Cinderella: as theatre, it is sensational" (Daily Express)

The recording values are good without perhaps scaling the heights of the recent productions by other labels such as Opus Arte, Decca or BelAir for example. Imaging is attentive to both detail and panoramic shots and the sound is presented in stereo or Dolby 5:1. I personally found it far more than adequate.

This is a strong visiting card for the Birmingham Ballet. For me it is by far the best of the current 'traditional' versions and offers both modern sound and widescreen to a most enjoyable production.

Overall therefore, and taking into account my previous minor comments about the recording comparisons as above, in my opinion this version from Birmingham is still well worth 5 stars for sheer entertainment and artistic values. Fresh and new while being essentially traditional - something to please everyone!

So overall therefore, the clear favourite for me is this version from Birmingham and well worth 5 stars in my opinion. Fresh and new while being essentially traditional - something to please everyone!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 February 2013
Here is a ballet production that really satisfies the need for an updated version. The story is told very well and the dancing is beautifully choreographed and performed. The costumes are a wonderful mix of traditional and "pantomime". I saw this production when it first came out and am delighted to be able to have a DVD of it.
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