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on 9 September 2016
I enjoyed these ballet performances very much.
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on 8 April 2015
Excellent. Was very pleased with it. Some ballets I hadn't seen before.
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on 30 April 2015
Excellent, a great addition to my collection.
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on 29 July 2015
Wonderful.
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on 19 November 2014
Brilliant recording. Thoroughly wonderful throughout.
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on 14 September 2014
All arrived on time, dvd as described, very satisfied.
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Frederick Ashton has claim to be my favourite choreographer and whose work unfailingly exudes style, charm, poise and humour to name but few of its attractions. All of these are clearly exhibited in this marvellous disc of choreographic confections.

Les Patineurs depicts various scenes set in an imaginary world of ice-skating. The music is by Meyerbeer arranged and orchestrated skilfully and wittily by Constant Lambert in 1937 and seemingly just as fresh today as it was then. The ballet remains a popular repertoire ballet with revivals most years. The key figure is the `Blue boy, who takes on the role of the `King of the Ice' demonstrating his superior skill at various moments throughout this 27 minute ballet. This role is expertly despatched on this occasion by Steven McRae whose star role is surrounded and enhanced by equally expert pairs and small groups of featured `skaters'.

This fun piece is followed by the 42 minute `Divertissements' which consists of 6 unrelated highlights from previous creations. It is invidious to single out particular pieces or dancers for special mention in such exalted company but for me the `Voices of Spring' pas de deux featuring Carlos Acosta at the height of his considerable powers with Leanne Benjamin must get a special mention. The complete highlight for me however, is the show-stopping performance by Tamara Rojo in an Isadora Duncan cameo where her acknowledgement of applause, still in role, is worth the price of the disc alone!

The final short 24 minute ballet, Scenes de Ballet with music by Stravinsky was reputably Ashton's own favourite ballet and one in which he felt he had achieved the nearest to `symmetrical geometric movements' which achieve their effect from any angle including that seen from the wings. (Information derived from sleeve notes). This is an abstract and modernistic ballet and as such fits the music. It is conceived in eleven short continuous sections and features groups of `four boys, eight girls and two soloists' (sleeve notes) all of whom perform to perfection on this occasion.

This disc, recorded in 2004 and 2010, features current and recent stars of the Royal Ballet all in sparkling form. The costuming is as stylish as the choreography and the music is performed as well as possible. The chosen repertoire is simply wonderful and performed to a very high standard and with evident enjoyment throughout. The camera work complements this balletic feast perfectly and the sound is presented in fine DTS surround or stereo formats. There is an engrossing 30 minute bonus in which we see three extended rehearsal extracts with explanations taken from Les Patineurs.

The whole experience is a total delight and is sure to give enormous pleasure to any purchaser. In my opinion, this is pure 5 star gold!

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

Sounds like fun!
(U.K. review)
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on 11 May 2012
Les Patineurs is perhaps one of the first sequences of Ballet Music I fell in love with and became ingrained into my musical psyche - I still have the Vinyl record of Charles McKerras conducting this from my dad's collection dating from 1962. (Seeing) The very name of this ballet recorded on DVD - and I just ordered it. All that is to be said about the ballet has already been reviewed by Mr.Giles and I have little to add. Yes, like one reviewer mentioned, I think the Blue Boy could have been a little better, although I have not seen any other version of this ballet live or otherwise. But I can imagine.

BUT SURPRISE :

I thought the other two ballets, whose music by itself is not as popular as a sequence unlike the Patineurs, was a revelation - A further revelation about Ashton's genius, that could be matched only by another great, Ronald Petit... I find a great deal of similarities in the approach, especially their objective of making an evening of ballet both absorbing and entertaining, no questions asked.

The choreography in the Divertissements is a work of a genius and beautifully danced. Of all those, the only one I found to be a little on the superficial (meaning no great treatment, just the usual grind) side was the Tamara Rojo's Brahms solo. Somehow it didn't match the magic of the others.

As far as the Stravinsky Scenes de ballet was concerned, I was blown away. I have known the music well, and to see it danced exactly the way I imagined it could be, was so satisfying. The whole reminded me of the comment telegraphed by the person who commissioned it in the first place who wrote to Stravinsky, "YOUR MUSIC GREAT SUCCESS STOP COULD BE SENSATIONAL SUCCESS IF YOU WOULD AUTHORISE ROBERT RUSSELL BENNETT RETOUCH ORCHESTRATION STOP BENNETT ORCHESTRATES EVEN THE WOKS OF COLE PORTER." To which Stravinsky replied: "SATISFIED WITH GREAT SUCCESS."

So was I with this DVD. Pity those lovers of Ballet who dont have this one in their collection. How I wish ballets like 'La Boutique Fantasque' or 'Gaite Parisienne' and Glazunov's 'Scenes de Ballet' and 'Seasons' are produced and recorded.... I hope this DVD and its sales may prove that point to the powers that be...
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on 27 July 2012
At last the Royal Ballet has published a decent swag of the works of Frederick Ashton. The whole DVD is a treat for Ashton fans, and for anyone who likes classical ballet. How wonderful to see Scenes de Ballet (and to be able to return to it time and again to study its marvels), not to mention Les Patineurs, Thais pas de deux and other treats.
The dancing is of a high standard, the camera work is straightforward and unfussy. Highly recommended.
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on 17 April 2012
Two very different Ashton ballets, & a series of pas de deux & solos, all very well done. They show Ashton's musicality & versatility.
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