Asylmuratova, Bussel, Muhammadov and Dowel.... No need to comment on or further glorify these dancers through this review.... As expected, these dancing deities did their job as expected of them - divine.
So why just 4 stars?
Well, there is no ballet without a good score and rendition. I have great respect for Lanchberry for his other arrangements and conducting, but in this one, I think he kinda screwed up just a bit. A bit too brassy at times, and I am afraid they go out of control in some places, and the OOM-PAH of the Tubas and other Base brass Instruments are sometimes a little overwhelming. I think the post production sound editing too did not come through too good. The balance between the brasses and the rest of the orchestra is found terribly wanting at times.
The orchestra too, was a bit off colour, with the woodwinds sounding a little brittle at times, and the strings 'tired' in spite of the high treble equalization. Lesser said about the solo violinist, the better. He somehow managed to squeak through his passages. Why could the original score not be used?
I would any day go for the Paris National Ballet rendition. For one, the music is much better played and recorded. The costumes are far more authentic (in the sense they are far more 'Indian' unlike the caricature types used here), and so also many little details like even the hairstyles are far better attended to. The only exception is the Rajah who, in this edition, is just fine in those aspects. In the Paris edition, Guerin is simply fantastic (though definitely no match for Azylmuratova), and the clarity of the picture (recorded much later than this one) enhances the DVD experience exponentially.
This is more of a collector's item for those who like me, literally worship Asylmuratova and the rest of the main cast.