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on 16 September 2017
DVD is great - vision (wide screen) and sound...
Content is, wow! A much more elaborate and stylish production than that, say, of the Mariinsky Company's (2015, on YouTube) and particularly Natalia Makarova's at ROH (DVD). (The size of stage may have something to do with that.) But the disappointment is that the Russian companies have omitted Makarova's Act 3 and have done since the 1940s if I understand correctly (though I did read somewhere that the Mariinski Company does include Act 3 on special occasions. [Nureyev also omitted Act 3]). It is a pity that Makarova left out so much of the Bethrothal Scene to be found in the Russian and Nureyev productions, though the "blacked up" juveniles might not be acceptable in the West! And I wouldn't mind not having the absurd Dance with Parrots... But the short "Manu" (Dance with water jar) is a real delight as is the Drum dance, neither in Makarova's production.
As I write this, I am watching the Bolshoi production - lovely and sets up the morning just fine! As a newcomer to ballet (but not to ballet music which I've always loved) Petipa and Minkus are a good place to start. So I suggest one needs both DVDs - this one and the Royal Ballet 2009 production, or possibly the Royal Ballet's 1991 version with a very young Darcey Bussell as Gamzatti... and for an encore, try Paquita (partly Petipa and Minkus) if you can find a used copy (Paris 2003 - TDK DVD).
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on 27 August 2017
I splashed out on the Bluray version and I'm glad I did. It looks spectacular, and in addition the camera manages to focus on most of the places and dancers which and whom one wants to see. The exception as usual is (just occasionally, not often) during mime sequences, when two characters are interacting and the camera gets stuck on one of them. Why don't we get a longer shot with both of them in it?
My old favourite bayadere was Komleva with the Kirov, but I admire Zakharova in this role even more.
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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.
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on 30 January 2014
I found the new interpretation of La Bayadere unsatisfactory. Firstly it lacked the vibrant colours of India and with Nikita and Gamzetti both wearing white at times I have to admit I sometimes confused the two as both were tall. When I first read that the final Act had been cut or shortened I thought it could be a good idea but when I realised that the Bronze Idol, so brilliantly danced by Jose Martin in the Royal Ballet version, was now just a rather ordinary dancer dumped in as an extra, I was totally disappointed.
Twice I have pre-ordered the Bolshoi's two new productions: this one and Sleeping Beauty and been totally disappointed. It is clear that the Bolshoi is no longer what it was.
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on 1 October 2013
I'll start off by saying how happy I am that they finally released this version on DVD. Now all there is for them to is to release the Limpid Stream (also streamed at cinemas like this one), with Alexandrova and Skvortsov, amongst others.

I'll start off with basics: the music & quality of the picture are both amazing, as is the costuming and sets. No issues there.

There are several different versions of La Bayadere available on DVD now. This one, to me, is the most superior. The final temple scene (re-added by Makarova and seen in the Royal Ballet's version), has been removed here. I actually prefer this ending; I like the ambiguity of it. It brings forwards a lot of questions that don't necessarily get answered, like what happens to Solor? Is he insane? What happens to Gamzatti and those in the real world? I personally like these questions that arise as a result, but I'm sure other people would prefer a definitive ending.
Other changes include a longer second and third act, with the addition of several solos.

Another difference is that Gamzatti isn't the one who orders the poisonous snake in Nikiya's flowers, in the second act. I think this is usually done, but I do know in the POB version it is Gamzatti who orders it, and not her father as it is here. It helps sum up Gamzatti's character more. She's not completely evil, just adamant on having Solor.

In regards to the dancing, the Bolshoi delivers in typical perfect fashion. The corps, the soloists, and of course the principals are technically brilliant. In this version, there is the added bonus of the drum dance, which is very exciting. And a rather sweet solo danced by Anna Rebetskaya, with two young girls en pointe. Rather impressive the way she balances that jug to be perfectly honest! Denis Medvedev as the Bronze Idol is very good, but I cannot help but compare him to Ivan Vasiliev's Idol, which was very explosive.
Other dancers worth mentioning are the three shade solists: Anastasia Stashkevich, Anna Tikhomirova & Chinare Alizade. All are brilliant in the third act.
Finally: Alexey Loparevich as the Rajah, and Andrey Sitnikov as the High Brahmin, are very good in their character roles.

Now on to the main dancers.
Svetlana Zakharova appears here as Nikiya, and in usual fashion is perfect. Her technical abilities really come into play in the final act, and you can't help but admire her impressive foot work. Her second act Snake solo is mesmerising. Very beautiful. Her withering glances in this solo are very good; she really does dance her heart out.
I think she embodies Nikiya well. Nikiya isn't a strong character, and I doubt would be prone to overreacting. In the confrontation pas de deux with Gamzatti, this is seen. She's shocked to see Solor's portrait on the wall, but not completely hysteric about it. She knows Solor has sworn his commitment to her and relies on that, staying quite regal in manner.

Next on to Maria Alexandrova, who plays Gamzatti. People always have their favourites, yet here Maria Alexandrova burns all other Gamzatti's to the ground with the ferocity of her glare. She annihilates Nikiya in the first act confrontation scene. Everything about her is strong: her technique, her actions, her expressions. She is truly amazing, and it's a shame she is absent for the final act. Her facial expressions are very, very good, showing her emotions clearly. But even her body language shows how she is feeling. I truly see her as the definitive Gamzatti, and I truly cannot rave enough.
For once there is another dancer who overshadows Svetlana Zakharova; not an easy feat. Of course, this could be down to the characters (Nikiya is weak), but in my opinion Maria Alexandrova is underrated, and perfect in this role.

Finally: Vladislav Lantratov. Not yet a principal in this recording, but he was very recently made one. The reasons for this are clear in this DVD. He has those big jumps synonymous with Bolshoi dancers, yet remains very graceful. He is a convincing Warrior, and a good actor in his limited role. When he first meets Gamzatti, after his oath to Nikiya, his emotions are very clear. At first he is adamant he belongs to another, yet when Gamzatti appears, he is struck by her beauty. And wanders off with her in a slight daze.
In this version the third act is slightly longer, so we see more of Lantratov. He floats down from his jumps. He holds his own against Zakharova, which is impressive. I find Lantratov's Solor to be the best available on DVD. It's nice to have a younger Solor, who can easily show the Warriors strength and passion.
On a side note, all dancers are absolutely beautiful here. You can easily understand how Solor gets torn between two beautiful women.

My one gripe about this DVD is the absence of any bonus features. Of course this doesn't affect the performance, but it's always nice to see behind the scenes/rehearsal footage.

In conclusion: buy this for the amazing acting and dancing. Svetlana Zakharova usually entices buyers, but here she is outshone by Maria Alexandrova, who to me is THE Gamzatti. Of course, don't misunderstand me: all dancers here are impressive in their own right! This version is very high quality, in all aspects.
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on 7 September 2013
This is a beautiful piece. The dancing is exquisite however the story telling is a bit lacking compared to the Royal Ballet La Bayadère. As the story is told very differently in this Bolshoi version there is no need to choose which to get, buy both. But if you are going to choose only one, get the Royal Ballet version as despite the official review above Marianela Nunez is the definitive Gamzatti.
The one very minor downside on this disc is the intrusive clapping from the audience, this seems to be a feature of Bolshoi performances.
The production itself is very well done with the picture and sound quality both very good. No extras though.
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on 9 December 2014
This is as close as I will ever get in lifetime to seeing a performance by Zakharova and not to be missed. Was not disappointed.
Quite apart from her performance the rest of the cast, choreography, sets, sound were of epic proportions. I wouldn't have changed a thing without diminishing the spectacle.
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on 12 May 2016
I returned my disk because it did not have the DTS soundtrack as advertised, only PCM Stereo. And, given that I have only just got around to purchasing a top-of-the-range bluray system, I was not prepared to put up with inferior sound. Nor, after many years, am I likely to trust Amazon with DVD/Bluray discs ever again...this is the third time this has happened. I'll stick to books from Amazon in future.
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on 17 October 2013
An excellent production of this beautiful ballet, which has the great merit of giving virtually no close-ups of the dancers' faces or extended sequences of the principal dancers only. Not, of course, that one is averse to seeing such things, but not when the choreographer has gone to such great trouble to create a full-stage spectacle (and spectacle is what La Bayadere offers).

I have sat and fumed at so many DVD presentations where what the dancers are doing with their legs seems less important than how they're twitching their eyebrows. And as for the work of the corps de ballet, forget it -- you hardly ever see it. There are times in some DVDs when some business at the side of the stage (King talking to Queen, that sort of thing) takes precedence over the dancing. The editing often seems to have been done by someone with an attention disorder, the scene flitting from head to arm, to foot, apparently randomly. There's none of this to impair one's enjoyment of the present DVD production of La Bayadere. We are treated to wonderful, full-stage views showing all the dancers, and allowing appreciation of the delightful choreography.

The only time when this important rule is broken is, astonishingly, during the Dance of the Shades, 32 of whom (the Royal Ballet 2009 production had 24) emerge in sequence, winding down a series of slopes to the stage: this certainly needs to be seen in full, to get the dramatic effect. One's appreciation of this unique piece of corps de ballet choreography is not helped by the fact that the Shades each carry long lengths of chiffon from shoulder to shoulder, which flap about and obscure the movement (the Royal Balleet 2009 production mercifully omits the chiffon, though it was there in the splendid Royal Ballet 1991 production directed by Makarova). Also (I'm sorry if I'm banging on about this) in this latest DVD only three Shades emerge before the lead Shade turns, and then again on the second stage; this rather loses the effects of the long line of Shades; the Royal Ballet productions allow a longer first and second line. But apart from that (and it's not much, really), I found this to be relaxing and enjoyable. Well worth he money, and if you have other DVDs of La Bayadere, buy it and compare it with them: this one will show you how a DVD of a ballet should be made.
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on 1 September 2013
Well this is ballet a la grande. And nobody does it better than the Bolshoi. The staging is very rich and the dancing is of another league. The production has one of the best Golden Idols I have ever seen. I know the Idol makes a small appearance but I really regard it as one of the highlights of this ballet. The corps de ballet is simply breathtaking. I took one star off because this is the short version and I quite enjoy the omitted Temple Act. Also, I must say that although the dancing of the leading couple and of everybody else is technically more than perfect, there is something missing from the theatrical mystical atmosphere achieved in Nureyev's production for l' opera parisien as captured on film and sold by Amazon.
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