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Minkus;Leon La Bayadere [Import]

 NR (Not Rated)   DVD

List Price: CDN$ 35.99
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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: BBC / Opus Arte
  • Release Date: Feb. 22 2011

Product Description

Marius Petipa's exotic ballet, set in legendary India, is a story of love, death and vengeful judgement. Natalia Makarova's sumptuous recreation of Petipa's choreography, with atmospheric sets by Pier Luigi Samaritini and beautiful costumes by Yolanda Sonnabend, stars Tamara Rojo as the Bayadère (temple dancer) Nikiya, Carlos Acosta as Solor, and Marianela Nuñez as Gamzatti whose
alluring presence challenges Solor's love for Nikiya. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nunez is lovely, but no one else is March 8 2011
By Sarynka - Published on Amazon.com
La Bayadere - Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet comes from long line of amazing, gorgeous dancers: Fonteyn, Shearer, Nureyev and Sibley are names that evoke some of the best in ballet. However, it seems that England's own has gotten a little lost.

The staging of this Bayadere--set by Natalia Makarova--is lovely, taken after the former Kirov (now Mariinsky). It is in all senses of the word, a classical ballet. While not Petipa's strongest work, the choreography is nothing less than what you would expect from him. Minkus's score is pleasant and suited to the ballet, and one can see why it is a standard, long lasting composition. I have no issue with any aspects of the staging or spectacle of this ballet. On top of it, the Blu Ray recording is absolutely stunning in quality, and well filmed. There are no missing dancers, chopped off feet, or misplaced shots. Additionally, the costumes are so stunning that Blu Ray makes them dazzle. One can see every detail, down to the Swarovski stones glittering on Nikiya's bodice in the Kingdom of the Shades.

Quite possibly the best part of this production is not Tamara Rojo's Nikiya, but the ever charismatic Marianela Nunez as the devilish Gamzatti. While Nunez does not have the same lines as Royal Ballet predecessor Darcy Bussell, her Gamzatti equals--if not surpasses--Bussell. Nunez presents the powerful princess in many dimensions; she is a seductress; a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it; a guilt wracked temptress; a scared little girl. While the tendency is to play Gamzatti as the girl you hated in high school, Nunez uses her ice cold control and smooth technique to give a performance that juices the choreography for depth in the character. By the final act, I found myself almost rooting for Gamzatti in spite of her actions--something I have never done in seeing La Bayadere. Suffice to say, Nunez is the Royal Ballet's gem.

Disappointing were the performances of Rojo and Carlos Acosta as tragic lovers Nikiya and Solar. Having never seen Rojo in a full length production outside of her incredible Isadora, I was looking forward to seeing her dance Nikiya. While Rojo's technique had that lovely measure of control and strength that is trademark of Royal Ballet ballerinas, her emotional performance was lacking. She seemed set on one expression, tragic angst, throughout the entire ballet. By the end it seemed she was wallowing in self pity, and one wondered why it is the gods seemed to favor her so much. Solar, on a similar plane, seemed chronically depressed and unsure, if not flat. While Acosta has some brilliant technique, it did not seem to shine through in this performance. Instead, he seemed a bit behind on his game.

Overall, the DVD is worth a purchase for just Nunez's performance as Gamzatti. Additionally, the corps work in the Kingdom of the Shades is stunning and well performed. Do not hope for a stunning or moving performance by Rojo and Acosta, however, as you will find yourself disappointed.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sumptuous traditional production with excellent performance and recording values July 22 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
One of the outstanding glories of this Royal Ballet performance from 2009 lies in the quality of the solo and ensemble dancers. Both Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta, once more clearly demonstrating their mutual empathy, deliver star quality lead performances. The supporting roles are also strongly portrayed with Marianela Nunez as Gamzatti being especially noteworthy. The male line-up is also of high quality with Gary Avis, Christopher Saunders, Kenta Kura and Valeri Hristov. Genesia Rosato makes a good servant to Gamzatti.

The corps de ballet deliver a performance of style and poise which will give considerable pleasure to the majority of viewers

The costuming and staging of the production are both traditional in style and sumptuous in effect.

This actual recording was made over two nights in January 2009 and is a first class example of the benefits of modern HD definition. The quality of the imaging is of consistently high quality with a good blend of close and full stage shots enabling the viewer to enjoy panoramic ensemble dancing as well as detail of the soloists in particular. The resolution of the colour is also excellent and completely capable of displaying the lavish costumes even in reduced lighting. There is no trace of movement blur. The equally excellent sound is presented in both 5.1 DTS and stereo.

The fairly extensive 'bonus' features offer real insights relating to several features of both the ballet generally as well as to this particular production. These bonus items should offer interest to both new comers and to those with greater knowledge and experience.

The first bonus is in the form of a 9 minute interview with Tamara Rojo as regards the particular challenges involved in dancing this role. This is followed by Leanne Cope and Francesca Filpi, members of the corps de ballet, who give their views on the challenges in dancing the famous shadows sequence in act 2. In particular they concentrate on the entry sequence involving up to 39 steps for members of the team as they descend to the stage.

This 8 minute feature is followed by a 20 minute series of rehearsal extracts featuring Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo individually and as a pair. The final feature is a short 4 minute film where Natalia Makarova explains her approach to directing this production, her choreography and the way it fits in with that by Petipa.

I would suggest that this is a particularly strong traditional production with excellent performances from the dancers and recorded with admirable sound and vision. As such it makes a very attractive option for potential purchasers.


Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Feat for the Royal Ballet Sept. 21 2011
By danrubin06 - Published on Amazon.com
La Bayadere, with music by Ludwig Minkus, shines in a new light in the Royal Ballet's production by Natalia Makarova.
Altynai Asylmuratova and Darcey Bussell provide a spectacular performance, in both their technique and artistry. Asylmuratova transforms into a delicate creature, with near-perfect port de bras, and beautiful hyperextended arms. Bussell dances a virtuous Gamzatti, extremely dramatic in acting scenes, while very joyful in some dances. Irek Mukhamedov does a solid job of Solor, proving to be a brilliant partner for both Asylmuratova and Bussell, while showing true mastery of all of the technicalities and variations that are demanded in the ballet. Testuya Kumakawa dances a brilliant Bronze Idol; at times transfixing the viewer in awe of a human statue. In this production, the High Brahmin was selected immaculately, showing Dowell's dramatic and frightening acting ability. However, the corps de ballet does not represent the cleanness and perfection of the Russian version of La Bayadere, particularly in the first act (where it is clear that some fall out of their lines). Although at times lacking in the technique and together-ness of the corps de ballet, the ballet is carried on by it's stars. I definitely recommend this version of La Bayadere, both to who is new to classical ballet, and to avid ballet DVD collectors.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall in love with love! Jan. 15 2012
By Hannah Banana - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For me Bayadere has a gentle beauty to it. Nikiya's variations do not have the jaw dropping acrobatic moments that create a frenzy from an audience, but her variations are still so hard and yet so beautiful when danced by someone like Altynai Asylmuratova. She makes you fall in love with love! I have watched this dvd 4 times since buying it a few weeks ago. The music is gorgeous....not as opulent or deep as Tchaikovsky but moving nevertheless. The sets are wonderful too. I have read reviews that this is the stream lined version of Bayadere, and I do have the Nureyev version and have seen non-commercial videos of both the traditional and reconstruction of the Mariinsky's Bayadere which, I suppose, are overall better to watch for the structure and the dancing and choreography. However, the beautiful sets, costumes, great dancing by Asylmuratova, Mukhamedov, Bussell, etc. all come together to just take your breath away, in my opinion. I love this version of Bayadere. Even with some of the traditional dances cut out of this version (Makarova's version), it has a beauty to it. This version is a true Gesamtkunstwerk. Sets, costumes, choreography, dancers, etc. Everything comes together for me to provide a wonderful experience. I watch this dvd and think, "This is how ballet should move us!"

I am on the fence about whether the Nureyev version is the one to have after watching this. Nureyev's version is probably more true to the original Bayaderes from Russia, and the dancers are amazing in that too. However, despite the Paris sets being expensive supposedly, I much prefer the sets of the Makarova version.

One quibble....when Mukhamedov smokes the opium he looks like a beginner. Laurent Hilaire (in the POB version) looks like a pro! LOL LOL

Overall, I think anyone who loves this ballet should have both the Nureyev and the Makarova versions.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but...... May 28 2013
By Wanda Garofalo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although I am a major fan of this ballet and of the Royal Ballet, I was disappointed in this production. As I also have a copy of Nureyev's Paris Opera Ballet production, which is superb, this one suffers by comparison.I usually admire Acosta's work, but he was oddly bland in the role of Solor. Nureyev's attention to detail (corps de ballet is perfection), his taste for the sumptuous in sets and costumes, his selection of placement of Minkus' music, and his casting, Hilaire, Guerin, and Platel. gives the POB production 5 stars.

Wanda Garofalo

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