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Prokofiev;Sergei Romeo and Jul [Import]

Natalya Bessmertnova , Irek Mukhamedov , Motoko Sakaguchi    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 23.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bolshoi at its best Sept. 15 2006
By Kaye
This performance of Romeo and Juliet is magnificently danced by all. Juliet is lovingly danced although Natalia Bessmertnova is rather too mature for the part and there were too many close ups of her. Irek Mukhamedov as Romeo was charmingly boyish and as usual danced excellently. Aleksandr Vetrov was a terrific Tybalt, an accomplished street fighter with a wicked smile, the villians as always are the most interesting of the characters. Mikael Sharkov was also quite amazing as Mercutio, I wonder why he doesn't feature in more recordings. The quality of the recording however, is not good, very dark at times and does not do justice to the performers work and the lovely costumes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I agree Dec 17 2006
By Big Fan
I like all the three male dancers. Their dancing is so powerful. Yet, Juliet is too old. There should not have benn so many close-ups on her wrinkled face, just because she was famous.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For serious students and balletomanes only June 26 2006
By kaream - Published on Amazon.com
Having seen most of the available DVD versions of Romeo and Juliet, I still greatly prefer the more traditional MacMillan choreography, which sticks closely to Prokofiev's original conception in his scoring, to either Nureyev's idiosyncratic 1995 Paris National Opera, with Loudieres and Legris, or Grigorovich's radically revisionist 1988 Bolshoi, with Bessmertnova and Mukhamedov.

I'm not a dancer, and leave appraisals of technique and skill to other reviewers. For all I know, this late-Soviet-era Grigorovich Bolshoi production might be a dancer's delight, but it's performed bare-stage with dim lighting, uninspired costumes, acting which -- unless you count a lot of stern looks -- generally ranges from poor to nonexistent, little comprehensible story line, and a musical score frequently so pushed, pulled, and twisted out of shape (and at times simply badly played) that the film's middling audio quality and inattentive camera work are the least of its problems.

Of the three productions based on MacMillan that I know, the 1984 Ferri/Eagling Royal Ballet is the least desirable, but not at all bad. The 2000 Ferri/Corella La Scala is superb in all respects -- dancing, acting, 'chemistry', sets and costumes, orchestral conducting and playing, and filming -- but my personal favorite remains the 1966 Fonteyn/Nureyev Royal Ballet, despite Kultur's failure to bother with a needed remastering. Fonteyn at 46 shows some ravages of age for a 14-year-old, but she remains a strikingly beautiful woman, and she inhabits, rather than 'plays', the role of Juliet, with utter conviction. In this same 1966 production Paul Czinners' film direction is flawless, David Blair as the mocking Mercutio is the best on film, and Desmond Doyle's depiction of Tybalt's cold haughty rage, in his every stance and expression, is a wonder to behold. The entire fight scene is a major highlight of this production, putting all other versions to shame.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bolshoi at the Bolshoi March 14 2005
By Kevin - Published on Amazon.com
After watching a couple more times, I lowered my rating from 4 stars to 2.

The score is as demanding as the dancing. It must have been a cold night in Moscow because the orchestra downright stank. The Russian government should have executed the brass section. There were some really nasty and obvious mistakes that have been digitized for all posterity. Imagine a member of the brass section living this down. Cringingly horrid and almost killing the whole thing. I think the producers should have considered taping two or three performances and picking the best one.

Mercutio stole the show for me. He makes the purchase worthwhile. Effortless with beautiful flourishes. His death scene was awesome: (c'mon Romeo, I'm fine, mixed in with pain/anguish and somberness, Then he finally kicks the bucket). It looks like it required more technique that Tybalt's stomping and rolling around. Tybalt seemed overplayed to me. IMO he was portrayed as a really hot headed fellow who needed to sort out his attitude. Yes, its Tybalt but its overdone in this performance.

Again, the orchestra stank. This I cannot overemphasize. Please don't be practicing and tuning before the conductor calls you to order, which required pretty loud baton banging. The audience was also distracting. Please let the audience know the performance is being recorded. One or two fellows stood out with their obnoxious sounding bravos.

Video and sound quality leave lots to be desired but I guess this is an old performance.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We have no other choice for the most authentic and complete version of this great ballet. Sept. 22 2012
By balletomane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My favorite version of Romeo and Juliet is definitely Leonid Lavrovsky's, the first official version(except the one for Brno) of this great ballet, and this DVD is the only choice for the complete performance of Lavrovsky's choreography. The DVD featuring Ulanova(VAI) is an abridged version, and the Kultur DVD by Bessmertnova and Lavrovsly doesn't contain their whole performance. To be honest, I can't stand what Kultur had done to the film. The original playing time of the performance is about 150 minutes like that of Maximova and Vasiliev(VAI), but Kultur cut out about 40 minutes worth out of the film. The Bolshoi Ballet performed the whole of the work, and all of it was filmed without any part of it being cut out. Anyone who ever saw the whole of this very performance like on TV could see what I'm saying. I suspect why Kultur cut out 40 minutes is because they didn't want to make dual layered DVD(DVD-9) which can contain more than 120 minutes(up to 240 minutes). They just put in 108 minute performance in a single layered DVD(DVD-5) which can contain up to 120 minutes.

Although this DVD(VAI) is not good in terms of the quality of video & sound and camerawork, this is the only complete performance of Leonid Lavrovsky's choreography, and Vasiliev's and Maximova's dancing and acting is simply the best. What else could I say about them?
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romeo & Juliet March 18 2007
By Gilles de Rais - Published on Amazon.com
Of a half-dozen Bolshoi performances from the 1980's that I've seen on DVD so far, I give this one the most points in all categories. You can't get better than Bessmertnova & Mukhamedov working as a team, with Mikhail Sharkov and Aleskandr Vetrov in large supporting roles. The chemistry across the entire cast, as well as the artistry, is superb. It also has some wonderfully inventive choreography.

I thought all the dancers acted out their roles very well (Vetrov is shamelessly hammy here, but it works), and the plot line was laid out very clearly with no wastage on the type of interminable filler scenes that you get in many other ballets. The black background allowed them to do the frequent scene changes (by suggestion) without distraction or interruption. With good colorful costumes and effective lighting, I didn't miss the scenery.

A terrific performance, and a must-have for anyone who's a fan of any of the principal dancers.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Be warned!!!!! June 20 2010
By Thomas E. Ascher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This should never have been released. Two of the finest, most charismatic dancers in the world at the time this was taped, captured in some of the poorest lighting, fuzzy images and distorted sound imaginable! It looks like a pirated edition except it was shot from several different camera perspectives. Add to this, or rather subtract, minimalist, almost non-existent scenery and you get an idea of what you don't get. Too bad Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev had not fled Russia with their compatriots! Truly, a disappointment. I had such high hopes for this!
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