Having owned four of the five currently available DVD versions of La Bayadere, I thought I knew the work--and actually didn't think much of it.... But this Bolshoi Ballet HD Collection release on BelAir has made me an ardent believer. The dancing of all three principals, the soloists, and the corps is of the highest order; it is sublime, beyond reproach. The costumes, and the monumental sets, are far and away the finest I have ever seen in any ballet on film, with every detail lovingly attended to. (As one example, in the first act, the "sacred fire" flares up and extinguishes at appropriate moments, in time with the music and choreography; a small effect that lends interest, and underscores the action on stage.) The white ballet of the third act is absolutely stunning, the dancing impeccable, the costumes snowy white and supremely elegant, the stage floor a lustrous bluish-green, the dancers bathed in a soft, bluish-gold light. It is simply magnificent. The Entrance of the Shades is "kaleidoscopically" beautiful. (Watch it, and you'll see what I mean.) .... The audio and video are of course state-of-the-art, and the camera work, flawless--generally wide angle, to pick up the entire stage, with occasional closeups and mid-range shots, all of it feeling perfectly natural. The only real, current competition on video is the Paris Opera Ballet release, with Guerin, Hilaire, and Platel. That, too, is quite a fine version--but for my money, Zakharova, Lantratov and Alexandrova leave it in the dust.
....I wonder whether this sublime crew, Bolshoi & Co., has lately done Raymonda? That would surely, by my lights, be one to die for.... Well, dream on (a la Solor).