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Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / Makarova, Dowell, Royal Ballet Covent Garden

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Natalia Makarova, Anthony Dowell, Michael Coleman, Sandra Conley, Angela Cox
  • Writers: Marius Petipa
  • Format: Classical, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • 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: Universal Music Canada
  • Release Date: Jan. 28 2003
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00008AOR4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,557 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

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 Tchaikovsky’s 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.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 1 2004
Format: DVD
Is Odette a swan or a princess? I suppose that this has been a longstanding question for many balerinas. For my part I am inclined to think that she is first of all a princess! However Miss makarova portayed Odette as a BIRD throughout her career and won considerable acclaim for it. I must admit that no one since has been able to do this more convincingly. The first time I watched this video was 19 years ago. I was 17 years old and was mesmerised by her performance. Since than I have watched this video again along with other productions of the ballet and can not help thinking that this venerable ballerina uses way too many arm movements and that many of them are superfluous and uneccessary. I now think that this is bad taste if anything!
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!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This performance shows the highest standard of Principal Dancers, Character Artists and Corps de Ballet. The sets and filming were so perfect for this way of viewing, both for full stage and close-up scenes. I particularly loved how the dance, lighting and facial expressions were so befitting the scenes, be it swans who remain serene but for the wicked smiling one summoned by the magician or dancers at Royal events in the castle ballroom scenes. All round superb version that will please all, be they dancers themselves or those who simply love ballet at its finest !
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Format: DVD
On the whole, this was an excellent production. The dancing was exquisite, as well as the whole look of the production. Nina Ananiashvili, who played Odette/ Odile truly was each of her characters, both distinct from each other. (She even did all her curtain calls in character.)

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.

Highly recomended.
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Format: VHS Tape
This was the first "Swan Lake" I ever saw and one of the greatest revelations of my life. The story of the enchanted Swan Queen and the prince who fails to save her because of the interjection of the evil sorcerer is absolutely incredibly set to ballet with the Royal Ballet's matchless dancers. In the leading dual role of Odette\Odile, Natalia Makarova is spellbinding. As Odette, her fragility and tenderness--not to mention her impeccable dancing--always bring a catch into my throat, and her resemblance to a swan is remarkably realistic; as Odile, she is a sinuous, leering seductress who makes me tremble as she triumphantly entraps her helpless partner. The said partner, Anthony Dowell, is a truly remarkable Prince Siegfried. His famous cleanliness and precision of movement cannot be mistaken or ignored, and his dramatic abilities are prodigious. This pair is so wonderful that they dominate the ballet--the first-act dances never seem boring, but once the connection is made between the leading couple I am so enthralled that I can hardly sit through anything else from an eagerness to see them again. I must admit, though, that the swans' dances are the most exquisite example of corps de ballet dancing that I have ever seen. The first time I saw this video, my heart and breath were stopped; now, about a hundred times later, it still has the power to move me profoundly, although I know it by heart. This video is a true example of classical ballet at its greatest and a wonderful first "Swan Lake."
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