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Chopin: La Dame aux camélias [Blu-ray] [Import]


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Amazon.com: 11 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A resounding delight Oct. 8 2009
By Roger L. Sayer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
When I first heard of this piece I thought it would be another ballet danced to Orchestrated Chopin, like Les Sylphide, but it isn't. The music is authentic Chopin played on the piano. The first act is danced to the second piano concerto so there's an orchestra involved in that but it's the real thing. There on after it's just piano solo. This beautiful music combined with a beautiful visual performance by young dancers makes it an absolute joy to behold. And this is combined with a technically brilliant blue ray DVD. You can't go wrong.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Ravishing choreography, flawless dancing and the magic of Chopin--irresistible ! March 11 2010
By Chhan Thuan Kiat - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
If you ask me 2 of the best neo-classical ballet productions that came out in blu-ray in 2009 would be Frederick Ashton's whimsical version of Herold's La Fille Mal Gardee with Carlos ACosta and Marianela Nunez, and this wonderful Lady of the Camelias disc with the stars of the Paris Opera Ballet. Completely different in character they nevertheless represent the cream of last year's crop.
The tale of a French courtesan,torn between amour of the professional kind and personal love, withs its inevitable tragic ending has been made well known in opera by Massenet and Puccini( Manon Lescaut) and Verdi (La Traviata). Indeed Verdi wrote the story of his famous work after attending Dumas' play La Dame Aux Camelias, so we know who begot what. Now, along comes John Neumeier's creation of a full length narrative ballet based on Dumas's play using the piano music of Chopin, and what a tour de force this is.
First off, the choreography is astounding. And the famous stars of the the Paris Opera Ballet do it full justice, with flawless dancing that will take your breath away. Agnes Letestu shows why she is so highly regarded in the rarefied world of the ballet etoile with a stunning performance here as Marguerite Gautier, the famous courtesan. Her male partner Stephane Bullion, whose smoldering looks would set more than a few female hearts palpitating,is equally brilliant and their riveting pas de deux in Acts 2 and 3 can only be described as ravishing. In equal parts tender, passionate and even erotic, and set to the slow movement of Chopin's Opus 58 piano sonata in B flat minor, these are magical performances you would want to watch and re-watch. Noteworthy too is Dorothee Gilbert, whose beauty and grace make a deep impression. The sets are interesting, the costumes beautiful and the dancing by the corps de ballet excellent and especially in the Country scene exuberant and memorable. If you are like me (so used to lavish orchestral scores for ballet), you may wonder whether a sparse piano solo, even if it is Chopin, would really 'do' for a full length dance drama, but have no fear, it works very well with the wonderful choreography. So there you have it. Five stars , nothing less.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Another excellent Paris production Sept. 7 2009
By Mr. John A. Coulson - Published on Amazon.com
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Chopin: La Dame aux Camelias [Blu-ray]The essentials for enjoying a ballet video are 1. great dancing 2. great music 3. well produced. All 3 come together in "La Dame aux camelias" with bonuses of colourful costumes and a poignant storyline. The first Act impressed me less than the other two as I did not feel the Chopin Piano Concerto particularly apt for either the dancing or storyline but I was won over with the beautiful Act 2, danced only to lovely piano music. It was surprising just how effective a solo piano can be to evoke emotion when so beautifully choreographed as is the case in this production. The story does not follow the same path as in Verdi's opera but is faithful to the essential Dumas tale.
There is no doubt the Opera National de Paris is one of the world's leading ballet companies with some superb dancers in its ranks. Some of that dancing is spectacular with lots of tricky lifts all melded in seamlessly and gracefully. If you love ballet and like a moving story then this is a must for your collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Common Man's Point of View. Jan. 1 2012
By Richard Rawls - Published on Amazon.com
At first I did not much like Agnes Letestu as a ballerina. I thought her stage presents was a bit standoffish. She did not seem to like the parts she was playing. On the other hand I think she is a beautiful technician. I have now changed my mind based on this ballet, "La Dame aux Camellias", and "Paquita", another ballet she is exceptional in.
To even bring this story to the stage in the form of a ballet, and tell it as well as Neumeier did, was a feat in itself, and even though some people did not like the choice of music, I thought it fit the scenes perfectly. In some places Chopin's music was simply dripping with pathos. If anything, Agnes looked a little old for this part, because Marie (her real name) was only 23 years old and considered one of the most beautiful women in Paris when she died, but Agnes played the part of a woman dying of tuberculosis brilliantly. Have you read the novel "La Dame aux Camellias?...La Dame aux Camï¿1/2lias (Oxford World's Classics).... If not, I can tell you it is a very touching love story. It's a story about a prostitute, pure and simple, but told in such a way that by the end of the novel you may believe this prostitute was a virgin, the way the author toys with your sympathies. Agnes may have you believing the same thing; her portrayal of the poor beauty is that good.

This story is very close to the story of Manon Lescaut by Abbe Prevost....Manon Lescaut (Oxford World's Classics)....In fact a portion of Manon Lescaut is danced in this ballet, portraying Manon and Marie (her real name) as alter egos of the same woman. Neumeier weaves the two stories together brilliantly. It is known that Marie Duplessis owned a copy of Manon Lescaut, and that fact bears on the telling of her story. There are a few things told in the novel that could not be brought out in the ballet, but the same is true in the telling of the story in the opera "La Traviata" by Verdi....Verdi: La Traviata Special Edition Blu-Ray - Exclusive Bonus Feature

This ballet is available in DVD and BluRay formats, wide screen, very good sound, and since it was taped in hi-definition, even a standard DVD is very good quality, as mine is a standard DVD. I think you will like this ballet. Have a few hankies available while you watch the ballet.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A treasure to keep March 29 2010
By Jose Brito - Published on Amazon.com
Acclaimed John Neumeier created this ballet (premiered in November 1978)for the Stuttgarter Ballet and his friend Marcia Haydée who danced the first Margerite. He followed Dumas'novel closely and chose Chopin's music as score to his choreography (one of the two composers suggested by conductor Gerhard Markson - either Chopin or Berlioz, or both). In fact, Chopin's music proved to be essential to the drama, the polish composer having been a contemporary of Dumas Fils and Marie(Alphonsine)Duplessis whose real three-year love affair the writer himself immortalised first in a novel(1848)and later in a play (1852).Curiously, Chopin had also died of tuberculosis, like Marie - Marguerite Gautier in the novel.Chopin's exalted music thus underlines truthfully the whole ballet contributing to its great romantic dimention.Neumeier chose to paralell the story of Armand and Marguerite to Abbé's Des Grieux and Manon whose passion also meets death in the end.The ominous performance of Manon Lescault in the theater where they first meet will follow their own destinies,Neumeir ingeniously creating a drama within a drama.
Étoiles José Martinez and Delphine Moussin are Des Grieux and Manon:they dance beautifully, bestowing their solid technique as well as Dorothée Gilbert(Prudence Duvernoy) and Karl Paquette(Gaston Rieux).A chance to watch again Michaël Denard(a retired étoile who dances, along with Nureyev and Thesmar,Lacotte's Marco Spada - Rome,1982 - on a DVD released last year)playing Armand Duval's father.
What about Marguerite er Armand? In fact, in my humble opinion, Agnès Letestu is undoubtedly unforgettable as a dancer and as an actress.Her beauty and her superior technique have the companionship of her acting which overwhelms you.If the close-up reveals not a 23 year-old Marguerite but a mature woman, on the other side it gives the viewer the chance to feel Letestu's immense, pathetic sadness (Marguerite knows death is approaching), her eyes filled with passion and despair, each gesture crying out her misery.Stéphane Bouillon(certainly a future étoile) offers a passionate Armand, executing Neumeier's difficult steps with brilliance,responding accurately to Letestu's chemistry.A special reference to the pianists(F.Vaysse-Knitter and E.Strosser)who play Chopin's music warmly.The costumes are superb(Jürgen Rose), Schmidtsdorf's conducting excellent.Absolutely not to loose.Last but not the least, the blu-ray offers a most perfect image.


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