Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / Makarova, Dowell, Royal Ballet Covent Garden
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It is difficult to believe today that Swan Lake was a failure on its production in 1877 and was not successful until the Petipa/Ivanov version of 1895. Today it is regarded as one of the greatest works in the art of ballet. The magic of Tchaikovskys music, embodying the love of Prince Siegfried for the enchanted Swan Queen, has greatly contributed to making this the best loved of all classical ballets. This production, with designs by the late Leslie Hurry, stars Natalia Makarova as Odette-Odile and Anthony Dowell as Prince Siegfried. Prince Siegfried celebrates his twenty-first birthday; his mother tells him it is time to marry, but he prefers to go hunting. Alone, by a lakeside, he sees a swan who turns to human form. She is an enchanted princess who can be saved only by true love. He promises this, but is tricked by the wicked magician who disguises his own daughter as the swan-maiden. In despair, Siegfried and the swan-maiden leap to death together and their sacrifice destroys the evil power.
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Miss Makarova is a great ballerina but she lacks elegance in her manner. This she covers up with her beautiful lines and delicate form. She is more suited for roles such as Don Quichotte and Romeo and Juliette where more dramatic expressivness is needed rather than regal restraint and otherworldly airiness.
Her portrail of Odile however is unparalled! She is bewitching.
The rest of the production is outdated and the renditions made by Ashton are not worth mentionning.
Inspite my criticism of miss Makarova's performance she is the only reason to buy this dvd IF, that is, you must have it!
One of the things I look forward most to in Swan Lake is the White Swan Pas de Deux, mostly because the music is some of the most beautiful I have ever heard. Sometimes, the dancers just don't embody the pathos in the music for that section much to my disapointment, but in this production, the dancers not only performed a wonderful pas de deux, but truly felt as the music sounded. The music sounds sad, just as Odette's fate is, and I was very pleased to see this piece reflect that emotional range. I think this may be my favourite version of that Pas de Deux so far.
Of course, the Black Swan Pas de Deux, as well as the rest of the black swan was equally impressive, and an impressive contrast to the white swan. In contrast to the gentle sad Odette, Odile is played with assertiveness and confidence. Nina Ananiashvili played both parts so well, each differently. Of course the dancing part was very exciting, including the traditional thirty-two foutté turns.
This production surprised me with a happy ending. Most versions of Swan Lake I have seen have a sad ending with the death of Odette and her prince. In this one, they both live and conquer the villain.
Now usually I compare the dancing component to the story-telling component. I would say that this production was very strong in the dancing, but other than a few instances, I did not get caught up in the story as much as I would have liked, though I could follow the story. This did not detract from my enjoyment of the production though, and so I still give it a perfect score.
Most recent customer reviews
I did not personally used the product, as it was my gift to my sister. She told me she like it.Published on Jan. 9 2014 by Jeffrey Chan
A beautiful performance, everone can enjoy it from their armchair. Excellent Sound and Picture!!!! It is like you are right there in the theater, even better, because of the close... Read morePublished on July 26 2013 by Helga J.
This was one of the most beautiful performances I've seen......and I've seen a lot. It was a gift for a friend who was a ballerina in her youth and she was so enthralled with it.Published on July 9 2013 by nature girl
Makarova is, as one might expect, superb. But I really liked Dowell as well. He has a shy, yet confident quality. All in all, one of the best ballet performances I've ever seen.Published on Dec 25 2012 by Nigel Joseph
According to Blue Ray standards, this CD is a bit out of date. I wish I had bought a blue ray.Published on Dec 22 2012 by GEORGE
The first scene of the first act was pretty boring but I have to say that the scene 2 of act 1, act 2 and act 3 were the best I have ever seen. Read morePublished on Jan. 28 2007 by Rach
This is a very good performance of Swan Lake from the renowned Bolshoi. However there is an updated version on film, again under the direction of Yuri Grigorivich, performed in... Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2003 by Amazon Customer
The performance is lovely. Makarova is simply brilliant. But I was really disappointed with the camera angle. The dancers' feet were cut off most of the time. Read morePublished on July 31 2003
I nevered viewed Swan Lake until I purchased this DVD. I found the music and the ballet breathless. There were other DVDs of Swan Lake available which I watched as well. Read morePublished on July 31 2003 by DANIEL BORN
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