Before getting this version of The Firebird I got the recently relesaed version by the Bolshoi called "The Firebird Returns", and I can testify to the London version's superiority, as far as dancing and stgaing are concerned. Leanne Benjamin is exquisite as the Firebird, her first pas de deux with Johnathan Cope is a marvel of precision and balance between dancing and pantomime, as she desperately tries to free herself from the Prince's arms. Mr Cope does not have much to do, no solos nor variations, so it's difficult to judge his talent from this tape - get a copy of The Prince of the Pagodas to see what he is capable of! Mr. Drew's Kotschei is a marvel of characterization: evil with a touch of humour, so far superior to his Russian counterpart!
As for the sets, I believe they do not reproduce the 1909 originals, which were destroyed by humidity, but the new ones made for the 1922 revival.
As for Les Noces, I found the version released by the Paris Opera Ballet better danced. They sing a French translation of the Russian text and their male soloist - Kader Belarbi - transmits a sense of dignity to the nuptial ceremony that is lacking in Mr. Pickering.
One should not neglet to mention Mr. David Drew's funny account of how Ms. Bronislava Nijinska taught the choreographyto the first cast in the 60'.