Top positive review
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A high quality DVD that captures an exquisite production
on 11 June 2014
Having seen this production live last year, I was concerned that watching it again on DVD would not be able to capture the same magic. Whilst it was not the same as seeing it live, the filming gave a completely different perspective to my amphitheatre seat, allowing me to really appreciate the detail and beauty of the production.
The DVD itself is beautifully packaged and quick to arrive. Inside it features a useful synopsis, cast list and short article about the ballet in English, French and German, alongside some production photographs. Coupled with an interesting introduction to the ballet, which can either be played between acts or as an extra feature, plenty of information is available to help new viewers understand the production, as well as give those who are familiar a new insight.
The filming is simply excellent. Whilst the camera does inevitably constrain one’s gaze, the seamless transition between camera angles ensures that the viewer can appreciate both the whole and the detail. I particularly enjoyed seeing the intricacies of the dancers’ acting - from the villagers chatting on the balcony to the realistic and never overemphasised facial expressions of the main characters, this was a perspective I never would have gained without sitting at the front of the stalls. Even on my laptop, both the filming and the sound are crisp and clear, with an option for surround sound.
The production is a real credit to Royal Ballet Principal Guest Artist and choreographer Carlos Acosta (Basilio). Don Quixote marks his first foray into classical choreography for the Royal Ballet after a departure into more contemporary work, and he certainly does not disappoint – the performance has real excitement and raw energy, even if it means the synchronisation of some of the faster steps is at some points a little out amongst the group dances. Acosta finds the right balance between Marius Petipa’s original choreography, athleticism and more modern elements, such as the floor work performed by the gypsies and the use of on stage sound. This is fully embraced by the company, and particularly by Marianela Nuñez (Kitri), Ryoichi Hirano (Espada) and Laura Morera (Mercedes), who all embody a strangely endearing Spanish cockiness that shows their love of dancing and makes for a truly entertaining production from start to finish. Whilst the Garden of the Dryads scene in Act II gives classical ballet fans their fix of a tutu-clad ethereal corps de ballet, the ballet is dominated by a more modern strength that gives both the men and women a chance to shine and show off. In particular, Acosta pulls out some show-stopping ticks in the wedding scene, and Nuñez’s turns and leaps throughout are effortless –she is a true joy to watch, and the camera captures her skill beautifully.
Overall, this is a DVD that I would highly recommend to new and old audiences of all ages. It is a truly ravishing production that shows ballet at its best and leaves you with a smile on your face, and having this preserved on DVD for you to pause and rewind ensures that you can continue to relive the best bits.