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Romeo and Juliet [Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Natalya Bessmertnova, Irek Mukhamedov
  • Directors: Motoko Sakaguchi
  • Format: Classical, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Castilian
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Release Date: Oct. 19 2004
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0002TXSSA
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xb44d45a0) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb431a594) out of 5 stars For serious students and balletomanes only June 26 2006
By kaream - Published on
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
HASH(0xbee70b40) out of 5 stars Bolshoi at the Bolshoi March 14 2005
By Kevin - Published on
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.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xbee70b10) out of 5 stars Romeo & Juliet March 18 2007
By Gilles de Rais - Published on
Verified Purchase
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.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb431ff0c) out of 5 stars Traditional staging focused on dance, but Bessmertnova disappoints March 16 2014
By Eugene Tenenbaum Reluctant Reader - Published on
This 1989 staging by the Bolshoi demonstrates the essence of ballet more in the tradition of Diaghilev and Balanchine due to the somewhat conservative approach that dispenses with the usual pomp and pageantry to focus instead on predicament of the doomed lovers their passion better expressed by Juliet than by Romeo.

The cameras show the stage from appropriate distances allowing to see the dancers moving in space, i.e. not only the expression of their bodies and in correlation with each other, but also the dynamism of their stage crossings, which are somewhat neglected in the ballet-movies, such as those with Ulanova & Zhdanov of 1955 and with Fonteyn & Nureyev of 1966 with fancy costumes, stage design, and many close-ups focused on details that obscure the essence of ballet, namely performance dance, which is not silent movie, pantomime, or musical theater.

The facial expression and thus close-ups are secondary in the performance dance rendering the age and thus and the difference between the ages of the dancers irrelevant including 47 years of age of Bessmertnova (Juliet) versus only 29 of Mukhamedov (Romeo). However, in 1989, she was already lacking dynamism, flexibility, and balance shown in the 1976 recording of her famous performance with Lavrovsky also under Grigorovich on the stage with an unfortunate floor checker pattern causing the same effect as screen flickering, namely headache.

A lack of Bessmertnova's solos was not compensated by many lifts performed by Mukhamedov. Neither she nor even Fonteyn, who was relatively heavy and not easiest for lifting, match the 1995 Paris performance of Monique Loudieres choreographed by Nureyev, where Manuel Legris does not disappoint, but overall Fonteyn & unmatched in lyricism Nureyev are superior.

The Grigorovich's "concept" is valuable, as he was one of the world top choreographers, the Bolshoi's non-leading dancers are superb, and the orchestra under Zhuraitis was maybe not as good as the Berlin Philharmonic, but still decent considering its secondary role. The lighting especially, but also the recording are less than perfect, though bearable especially considering the circumstance of the communist Soviet Union, in and by which it was produced.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb432e4ec) out of 5 stars Average performance April 9 2012
By tk - Published on
Verified Purchase
The date in the credits is 1989 so I am disappointed that the picture quality is so
poor. There are streaks in the arm movements of dancers in Act IV. Costume colors
seem faded. Sound quality is not bad. I'm not thrilled with some of the choreography. I have to deduct one star for all the above.

The biggest disappointment is the Juliet. She appears much older than Romeo and
she isn't convincing in the role. There is a lack of chemistry with her partner
compared to, say Alesandra Ferri and her partner on another dvd. I deduct another

I applaud the dark stage (others may not like it). This is a dark story. There
are no sets but I find this appealing. As far as I can tell all of Prokofiev's
glorious music is there. Mercutio strikes me as the star of the performance. I
may be too generous but I give this 3 stars.