The production of Léo Délibes' fairy tale ballet Coppelia was danced by the highly sophisticated L'École de Danse de L'Opéra National de Paris, the Ballet School of one of the best companies in the world. The story of the doll-girl Swanilda and her sweetheart Franz is a comic, sentimental and family-friendly ballet that can truly be regarded as the last ballet of the Romantic era.
Charline Giezendanner (Swanilda) Mathieu Ganio (Frantz) Pierre Lacotte (Coppelius) Marie-José Redont (La Mère) Cyril Mitilian (Le Bourgmestre)
This delightful ballet tells the story of Dr Coppelius, an eccentric toymaker, who attempts to bring life to his beautiful doll Coppélia. He is foiled by the mischievous Swanilda, who masquerades as Coppélia and saves her love, Franz, from the Doctor’s magic. Recorded live at Sydney Opera House, this acclaimed production by Dame Peggy van Praagh, the founding Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, is a triumph. Brilliantly directed by George Ogilvie, Coppélia captures the imagination with its dramatic edge and visual charm.
Colin Peasley Greg Horsman Elizabeth Toohey Lisa Bolte Lisa Pavane
Founded by “prima ballerina assoluta” Alicia Alonso over fifty years ago, the National Ballet of Cuba – one of the world’s best dance companies – gives an insight into its extraordinary talent with Don Quixote. This joyous, sparkling work is perfectly suited to the company’s mix of classicism and panache – a style that combines Russian technique and American rapidity with a thoroughly Latin sensibility. Performed in the original Alicia Alonso version, Don Quixote devotes all of its two hours to authentic Spanish dance: sensational portés, vertiginous leaps, splendid pirouettes, sublime solos and stunning variations. Viengsay Valdés (Kitri) and Romel Frómeta (Basilio) are an absolute delight: technical prowess, powerful stage presence and a flair that permeates every step, every movement.
Romel Frometa Basilio Viengsay Valdes Kitri Daniela Pinera Reine des Driades
A breath-taking ensemble performance of Petipa’s popular Don Quichotte, loosely based on Cervantes famous novel, from the world-renowned Mariinsky Ballet. The Mariinsky’s top principal male, Leonid Sarafanov gives another virtuosic yet elegant performance as Basilio in this lively and colourful production.
Vladimir Ponomarev (Don Quixote) Anton Lukovkin (Sancho Panza) Igor Petropv (Lorenzo) Olesya Novikova (Kitri) Leonid Sarafanov (Basilio) Vladimir Lepeyev (Gamash) Andrei Merkuriev (Espada) Corps of the Mariinsky Ballet Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre Conductor: Pavel Bubelnikov
Titania (Alessandra Ferri), Oberon (Roberto Bolle), Puck (Riccardo Massimi) and company find romance and adventure during one wild midsummer night in this sumptuous ballet staging of the Shakespeare classic, featuring music by Felix Mendelssohn and original choreography by George Balanchine. Israeli conductor Nir Kabaretti presides over the Corps de Ballet of the Teatro alla Scala in this glorious production.
It may be a truism to say that Russians interpret Russian music best, but based on this stunning Kirov Ballet performance taped during its 1989 Canadian tour, it's excitingly and exhilaratingly accurate. Tchaikovsky's ballet is brought to vividly atmospheric life by the company who may dance him better than any other company, even the rival Bolshoi, especially in this production by master Kirov choreographer Marius Petipa (revised by his successor, Konstantin Sergeyev).
From the principal dancers (Larissa Lezhnina is simply fabulous as Princess Aurora, and her partner, Farukh Ruzimatov, is her equal as Prince Désiré) to the last member of the ensemble, the grace and mastery of this world-class company is in evidence from the opening Marche to the closing duet. Simon Virsaladze's tastefully opulent sets and costumes contribute strongly, as does Viktor Fedotov's conducting and the Kirov Orchestra's playing of one of ballet's most attractive scores. --Kevin Filipski
Princess Aurora:Lezhnina, Larissa Prince Desire: Ruzimatov, Farukh Carabosse: Guliayev, Vadim Lilac Fairy: Makhalina, Yulia The King: Babanin, Gennady The Queen: Mikhailova, Nina
In this production, Grigorovich’s Drosselmeyer is a full-dancing principal character, today performed by Denis Savin. He was marvelous in the way that he segued from the character acting into extraordinary technique. It was all very seamless and kind of made you nervous about what this character might do next. Spooky, charming, and one heck of a dancer.
After the Christmas tree grows gigantic with flashing lights, it then changes into a stunning snow-covered tree and remains in the background for the rest of the ballet.
The entire company appeared stoked (with energy) for the performance. There really was only one mishap when Victoria Osipova as one of the Indian Dolls unintentionally sat down on the stage. She and her partner, Ruslan Pronin, seemed to be uncertain about each other from the start. Daria Khokhlova and Vadim Kurochkin were the French Dolls who danced an inventive pas de trois with a cute rocking-lamb that they pulled along on a pair of long ribbons. The Spanish Dolls, Anna Okuneva and Andrei Bolotin, delivered some outstanding pyro-technical stuff: she breezed through a combination of fouette, double fouette, tour en l’air with feet crossed, single pirouette from fifth. Try it.
The mice in this production are an advanced strain that return during Act II to harass the principals. Pavel Dmitrichenko was an exceptionally menacing Mouse King.
The little children are portrayed by the smaller corps women with the little “boys” in convincing short wigs. Fritz was danced by Anna Proskurnina, who occasionally took a step or two in a way that was a dead giveaway that she was really a ballerina.
Artem Ovcharenko and Nina Kaptsova were The Nutcracker and Marie, respectively. Outstanding and perfectly cast in every way. Grigorovich likes to employ that step where the male principal tour jetes and then passe developpes to the back – with good reason – it’s spectacular when the dancer keeps the energy flowing backward as he executes it. Ovcharenko caught the step beautifully today. His legs are extraordinarily long, his feet acutely arched, and he caught the balance on the developpe like a surfer catching a big wave. Kaptsova gave a nearly flawless technical performance. The cameras did not provide many close-ups of her face, so it wasn’t easy to see what was going on there. But her movement was sublime. Haglund was disappointed with Kaptsova in a Spartacus DVD he once saw because she didn’t measure up to Bessmertnova. But today, she was pitch perfect as Marie.
The classic corps in the Snow and Flowers scenes were exquisite. The cameras gave us a few glimpses of the stage from approximately the first or second balcony and the formations were just stunningly beautiful.
Grigorovich’s PdD for the Nutcracker and Marie includes the same huge Bolshoi lift that we will see in the upcoming ABT Nutcracker. It’s certainly wonderful if Ratmansky wants to include it as a tribute to the great, great Grigorovich, and the audience will appreciate that. After all, we hardly ever get to see these spectacular lifts. However, the lift, as we saw today, is done by the Bolshoi in ONE piece – not pause, get set for five minutes, and then hoist the ballerina up as was done by two sets of ABT principals in last Wednesday’s rehearsal. If we’re going to honor Grigorovich by including his lift in our new Nutcracker, let’s do it right, Folks. In ONE piece, People. Mukhamedov could have done it with one hand.
The Bolshoi Orchestra wasn’t about to be outshone by the extraordinary dancers on the stage. The music was magnificent, rich, and evenly miked so that we heard everything. We had, in fact, a seat so good that you couldn’t have bought it in the theater. What a treat!
Haglund must bestow upon the Bolshoi and Yuri Grigorovich this Waltz of the Flowers First Position Pump Bump Award for a splendid Nutcracker performance today
Ballet luminary Rudolf Nureyev choreographed this spectacular 1972 National Ballet of Canada production of Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty," and also stars as Prince Florimund opposite Veronica Tennant as Princess Aurora. After Princess Aurora is cursed at birth, she pricks her finger and sleeps for 100 years, until Prince Florimund wakes her with a kiss. Conductor George Crum leads the Orchestra of the National Ballet of Canada.
Tchaikovsky´s ballet The Nutcracker, which was written in 1891, premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892 and first performed at the Bolshoi Theatre Moscow in 1919, shows no sign of losing its hold as the No. 1 Christmas ballet. It is based on the fairytale The Nutcracker and the King of Mice written by E.T.A. Hoffman and tells the story of the young girl Clara, who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads. The ballet is a fantastic tale presented in the choreography of Yuri Grigorovich. It is filled with beautiful music - the Waltz of the Snow flakes and the pas de deux of Sugar-Plum Fairy and Prince have become immortal - as well as enchanting costumes and a fabulous setting at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
Natalya Arkhipova, Irek Mukhamedow, Yuri Vetrov, Andrei Sitnikov, Ilze Liepa The Bolshoi Ballet, The Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
"Swan Lake" is a complex ballet written and orchestrated by 19th century Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. While his heritage and training caused him to struggle with the conventions of Western music, Tchaikovsky emerged as a unique voice that wasn't limited by the divisiveness of his Russian influences and peers. His unwavering melodic lines and commanding sense of harmony and thematic repetition has allowed his compositions to thrive and retain the impact they had when first performed.
Odette/Odile: Marie Claude Pietragalla Prince Siegfried: Patrick Dupond
Vladimir Bourmeister choreographs this take on Tchaikovsky's famous ballet, with the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet
The combination of Prokofiev's masterful score with Rudolf Nureyev's choreography for the ballet company of the Paris Opera could hardly make this ‘Romeo and Juliet’ anything but a success. However, as it's Nureyev who does the staging, God is in the detail, and while the sheer exuberance of Manuel Legris (Romeo) and Monique Loudieres (Juliet) in the leading roles is undeniable, it's the little things that count, such as Romeo's shyness as he shuffles from one foot to another in the presence of the object of his affections Tybalt is danced by Charles Jude and Mercutio by Lionel Delanoe .
The production is visually stunning, and the sound is outstanding to match the wonderful Paris Opera Orchestra under the baton of Vello Pahn who feel utterly inside the score, especially the love music. Recorded live at the Paris Opera in 1995.
Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuñez, William Tuckett & Jonathan Howells The Royal Ballet & The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Anthony Twiner Choreographer: Frederick Ashton
Ever since it s triumphant premiere in January 1960, Frederick Ashton's La fille mal gardée has been esteemed as one of his happiest creations. This is a charming piece, elegantly performed, a village love affair set in the idyllic Constable landscape of Ashton's imagination. Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta would be show-stoppers in almost any suitable role, but as Lise and Colas they are superb. William Tuckett and Jonathan Howells, in the comic roles of Simone and Alain respectively, are every bit as arresting, both displaying a certain genius for knockabout. The luminously colourful Osbert Lancaster designs, together with the vitality of The Royal Ballet's dancing and vibrant playing from the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House under the baton of Anthony Twiner, serve to augment the harmless good fun at which Ashton excels.
Written in 1898, Raymonda is deemed to be Glazunov's finest ballet, stately and melodious.
Raymonda bids farewell to her betrothed Jean de Brienne, who presents her with a silk shawl
as a farewell gift and goes to fight in the Crusades.
She dreams of him, but her dreams are frequently interrupted by the ocurrence of a Saracen warrior.
Abderakhman is fascinated by the beautiful noblewoman and ultimately attempts to abduct her,
duelling with Jean who, by this time, has now returned home.
The Bolshoi adaption of this piece, choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich based on Marius Petipa and Alexandr Gorsky,
is recognized for its fantastic set and costume design, with both the hero and heroine dressed in pure white.
Natalia Bessmertnova's take of the title role is wonderfully delicate,
and she has also an devoted and coequal partner in Yuri Vasyuchenko.
This visually stunning, all-new production of Nutcracker, choreographed by Helgi Tomasson (artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet) is a graceful and timeless adventure on a grand scale. The scenic design by Michael Yeargan, setting the tale at the time of the 1915 San Francisco World Fair, is sensational. From the lovely Waltz of the Flowers to the crystalline beauty of the stunning Snowflake Waltz, each scene is more breathtaking than the last, bringing to life all the well-known and beloved characters with fresh sparkle and compelling originality.
Uncle Drosselmeyer: Damian Smith Clara: Elizabeth Powell The Nutcracker Prince: Davit Karapetyan King of the Mice: David Arce Queen of Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan King of Snow: Pierre-François Vilanoba Sugar Plum Fairy: Vanessa Zahorian
San Francisco Ballet San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
Conductor: Martin West Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson
Recorded live at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, California, on 19th & 20th December 2007.
First performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 1954, this ballet draws on the rich heritage of Russian folklore to tell the tale of the young stonemason Danila, who must choose between his village sweetheart Katerina and a magical temptress. It is based on several fairy tales from the Urals collected by Pavel Bazhov and set in the middle of the 19th century.
At the time, Sergei Prokofiev was working within the Soviet Realism doctrine imposed on many Russian artists, and had to conform to the musical demands of the state within the story and content of his new ballet. Despite Prokofiev’s resignation after a hard struggle with this political situation, he had not lost his orchestral brilliance, and the music of this, his last ballet is full of catchy tunes and a feeling of joyousness, on par with such scores as Peter and the Wolf and the Symphony No. 7.
The premiere took place in Moscow four years after Prokofiev's death. At first it was not a great success, however three years later and with new choreography by Yuri Grigorovich, Prokofiev’s Stone Flower finally bloomed gloriously. The young choreographer simplified the story and focussed on the art of the dance, and this ballet became his first major success. The present version retains this choreography from 1957 which has become the standard for Russian ballet companies.
Featured dancers: Nikolai Dorokhov, Lyudmilla Semenyaka, Nina Semizorova, Yuri Vetrov
The release Raymonda features a filmed stage performance of Russian composer Alexander Glazunov's titular three-act ballet, which originally debuted in 1898. This particular production stars dancers Sergei Berezhnoi and Irina Kolpakova, and was mounted at the Kirov Ballet in 1980
Irina Kolpakova - Raymonda Gennady Selyutsky - Abderakhman Sergei Berezhnoi - Jean De Brienne
Tchaikovsky and Petipa's timeless ballet - acknowledged as the most pure and demanding piece in the classic romantic repertoire - is a stunning example of the sparkling virtuosity of Petipa's rich dance vocabulary. Recorded at Het Muziektheater in Amsterdam with Het Nationale Ballet (The Dutch National Ballet) in 2003, this version was created in 1981 by the English choreographer Sir Peter Wright, whose sensitive staging closely reflects Marius Petipa's original work. In 1989 the ballet was adapted for Het Muziektheater's larger stage. Philip Prowseís' ravishing Baroque sets and costumes add the glamour and grandeur essential to a ballet intended for the court of the Russian Tsar.
Het Nationale Ballet Choreography Marius Petipa, Sir Peter Wright Princess Aurora: Sofiane Sylve Prince Florimund: GaÎl Lambiotte Producer & Stage Director: Sir Peter Wright Stage & Costume Designer Philip Prowse Lighting Designer Jan Hofstra Artistic Director Het Nationale Ballet Ted Brandsen Holland Symfonia conducted by Ermanno Florio