This 2006 presentation by the Mariinsky Ballet provides very enjoyable entertainment on most counts although perhaps it should be mentioned that it has drawn criticism from some ballet perfectionists on particular points. However, for those without particular insider knowledge and concerns, this performance is of sufficient quality to give considerable satisfaction and is up to the standards expected of this ballet company.
On that basis therefore, it is perfectly clear that one of the main strengths of this ballet company is the excellence in considerable depth of its corps de ballet who provide an exciting and flawless performance of their respective roles throughout. This comment would also apply to the children in the company who are equally outstanding in their more limited contribution.
Other well-known and obvious areas of strength are the Mariinsky's costuming and sets which can only be described as sumptuous throughout and which manage to convey the Spanish situation and atmosphere as envisioned initially by Petipa. The orchestra is also excellent and plays with consummate ease and virtuosity under their conductor, Pavel Bubelnikov. The walk-on character role of Quixote is well portrayed by Vladimir Ponomarev who has just the right bearing and gaunt appearance for the role.
Kitri, as danced by Olesya Novikova, is a spectacular role and this dancer is able to carry the role off well enough to satisfy the increasingly rapturous audience. The same can be said of the highly athletic and youthful looking Basilio of Leonid Sarafanov who clearly has an enormous range of skills to offer.
However, it must also be admitted, that both of these can be out-danced with even more spectacular `joie de vivre' by Viengsay Valdes and Romel Frometa in the Cuban National Ballet production for example. Romel even manages to throw his partner way above his head (and catch her!) in a bravura passage towards the end as well as managing all the one-armed lifts with nonchalance. I mention this comparison as it illustrates why some enthusiasts find this Mariinsky performance by some of the stars a little lacking in sheer bravura at times.
The remaining highlighted dancers will also give the same levels of satisfaction but with some of the same reservations. Rather than itemise each point, perhaps it would be fair to summarise this situation with the comment that it is difficult to satisfy all the people all the time but possible to satisfy the majority of people most of the time - and this performance will do that.
The imaging as caught by the experienced Brian Large team is crisp and with involving camera work. The sound is good and presented in DTS 5.0 and stereo.
As commented on at the beginning, this presentation should give lots of pleasure to many but the absolute ballet perfectionists and most knowledgeable viewers. I have some sympathy with this response and have made a passing reference to the fine Cuban production to illustrate it. However, despite these reservations, I would suggest that this disc will give much satisfaction to many if not most viewers.
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