Top positive review
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on 7 September 2015
There are currently several DVDs of this masterpiece of classical ballet created by Petipa in St. Petersburg in the 1870s. I have watched recordings made by the then Kirov (now Mariinsky) Ballet (in the 1980s), the Royal Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet (Nureyev's). Following many revisions to its original choreography and costumes since its creation, the Kirov's (now Mariinsky's) Soviet-era production is probably considered to be authentic since the company tries to preserve their old tradition. Although the dancing by the Kirov is splendid, the DVD (transferred from the original video) inevitably suffers poor picture and sound quality.
Now we have a modern digital recording of the Bolshoi Ballet's production, made in 2013. The choreography, slightly modified by Grigorovich et al, appears to broadly preserve the current Soviet-era version.
The dancing by the three principal dancers is excellent. Svetlana Zakharova dances the tragic role of Nikiya superbly. Technically accomplished, she imbues the role with deep emotions. Vladislav Lantratov, a rising star of the company, dances the role of Solor, while Maria Alexandrova dances the role of Gamsatti.
The dancers in the secondary roles - particularly Stashkevich, Tikhomirova and Alizade in the three variations in Act 3 - are very good indeed.
But, the real stars in this work are Corps de Ballet in Act 3. At the beginning of the celebrated Kingdom of the Shades scene, all the thirty-two girls dance in complete unison. This is indeed the vision of Nikiya that appeared to Solor in his opium-induced hallucination. That is why their physical uniformity and their dancing in unison are very important.
The accompanying music by Minkus is played sensitively by the Bolshoi Orchestra under the direction of Sorokin. This DVD should not be missed by lovers of classical ballet.