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Adam - Giselle / Kirov, Petipa, Mezentseva
Adam - Giselle / Kirov Petipa Mezentseva
Actors: Kirov Ballet, Galina Mezentseva, Gennady Selyutsky, Konstantin Zaklinsky, Angelina Kabarova
Director: Preben Montell
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     1hr 48min

Adam?s romantic ballet, Giselle, first seen in 1841, was the finest of the ballets staged in Paris during the age of Romanticism. Over the years Giselle disappeared from the repertory outside Russia, and has only survived ...  more »


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Actors: Kirov Ballet, Galina Mezentseva, Gennady Selyutsky, Konstantin Zaklinsky, Angelina Kabarova
Director: Preben Montell
Creator: Viktor Fedorov
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Dance, Educational, Ballet & Dance
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/27/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Wonderful, Complete Giselle With Great Choreography.
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 07/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This performance from 1982 features Galina Mezentseva as Giselle and Konstantin Zaklinsky(Altynai Asylmuratova's husband) as Albrecht. You may have seen these two in a Kirov production of Swan Lake from the same period(also available on DVD from They both dance quite well together and separately. This is a very complete version with all the usual solos and an entire peasant pas de deux, with every variation and very challenging choreography(such as a double prouette from a kneeling position). The Myrtha( danced by Tatyana Terekhova) variation is also complete. At the end of Myrtha's opening adagio, she walks off stage(right) and is then seen flying high in the sky across the stage; she then reappears, walking on stage(left) and continues with her variation. That was unusual. There is also a great deal of mime in this, more than I have ever seen in this ballet. As far as the quality of the dancing is concerned, this certainly is at the highest standards. I should point out that Mezentseva's personality is very quiet and demure and some of you may wonder if this is a good part for her. It is difficult to say. I usually don't like to focus on such things. Furthermore, since this production is more than 20 years old, some may not be satisfied with the quality, although I would say the image(full screen) and sound(Dolby 2.0) are very good. Is this the perfect Giselle for you? I bought it to have another performance by Mezentseva and Zaklinsky and I am very happy with it. Maybe you will be, too."
Michael Fraydon | 07/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

Ms. Mezentseva marks a pivotal point for the Russian Ballet. With insight she chose Integrity, Intelligence and Depth to form her First Laws of Dance. She then allowed for the Russian Vaganova Style-of-Training, which in essence is Grand, though at its pinnacle - Abstract, to merely serve her quest for Meaning in this very difficult if somewhat limited medium (clearly we see how this academic/abstract form inspired and was later developed by the Russian/American Balanchine in his early works: "Palais de Cristal", "Theme and Variations" and "Jewels").

Confident in her art - Ms. Mezentseva re-defined the Russian Gout during that turbulent period in Russian history. Away with the outdated, hollow and inflated (used to cover up, undoubtedly, for the lack of content) "grand" mannerISMS (not to be confused with the "Grand-Manner") of the self-conscious and aloof Ballerina of the 40's, 50's and 60's. Their idea of the "Style-Noble" (under Khrushchev and Brezhnev) was nothing if not ridiculous, it reflected the taste of that period: 20th century Communist peasants' impoverished imitation of pre-revolutionary Imperial Royals. They failed to see that the term "Noble" is figurative, defining a standard of Pure Form, rather than literal.

Ms. Mezentseva is one of those very rare artists who possess' the unique ability of making a role entirely her own, as Glenn Gould famously reinterpreted Bach's music in the second half of the 20th century thereby setting a new standard, so is her Giselle a Classic. Not for its conforming to tradition, which non-the less, it does, Rather for its being very personal - De Profundis - and yet of universal appeal. This is the Russian school at its most sublime. The way I like to think it was conceived: Poetry, Humility, Integrity and Vitality - Effortless Perfection.

A ballet of the romantic period by Coralli and Perrot, though dramatically revised by Petipa some sixty years later or so for the last time, it requires a synthesis of Two out of the Three Cardinal Styles in the world of classical ballet making "Giselle" one of the hardest to interpret. This is due to the fact that the Romantic Style of dancing and manner (i.e. Gestures and Body language) differ radically from the later, conceptually more abstract Style-Classique. "Giselle" is devoid of anything superficial or superfluous. It aims to convey the noblest and most profound human emotions, not merely divert. Not a single arabesque may be displaced, every step and gesture has a purpose. This exacting economy is crucial in defining this work as, arguably, the most important ballet ever created. It also tells us something about the precise elegance and minimalist refinement of its creators, in an epoch which favored excess and melodrama. "Giselle" is Monumental.

I am really happy to say, Ms. Mezentseva is an Artist capable of causing a Revelation. She is, HERSELF, throughout, to the core.

Ms. Mezentseva takes you through a voyage in time, taking care lest it should be outdated or sentimental. In the first act she IS the simple, passionate and carefree village teenager of the 19th century in love with Albrecht. In the second act she is resurrected and transformed into a timeless, otherworldly creature: A protective and compassionate SOUL. [Unlike her vengeful peers, yet(?)].
To perform this ballet in it's integrity one must do the impossible and forget about the self. Then become the incarnation of Love, Forgiving and Selflessness. But how is this to be done? By what means is the Danseuse to "transform herself" thus into something which is entirely beyond human earthly experience?
If you are looking for expressions of romantic love in the second act you will not find it here. This should not be sought after in the transcendental genre.

Ms. Mezentseva is the last and greatest ballerina to have been bestowed the prestigious title of "Prima Ballerina Assoluta" by the acadamy. She embodies what the Russians are so proud to call "The Russian Soul". It is left to be seen what Russian ballet will look like in the future, now that men of finance have taken over, leaving the artists and visionaries at their mercy (What is one to look forward to if a high ranking official of the Marinsky Theatre was quoted saying that the Russian idea of the ideal danseuse nowadays is Ms. Sylvie Guillem - The dazzling, yet thoroughly French former Etoile).
From this standpoint, the future for the Russian Ballet looks bleak and worse - Shabby. Well, this will happen when High Art "SINS" by carelessly slipping into the pit of human follies, rather than faithfully fulfilling its obligation to ITSELF. Its Raison-d'Etre, like most forms of art is, by definition, TRANSCENDENTAL.

There would really be no need for this somewhat archaic and very limited medium were it not for artists of such caliber as Ms. mezentseva. She succeeded where countless others have failed: She was able to penetrate its subtle mystery and enable a skeptic, jaded and cynical adult believe that this, insignificant, ridiculous, gothic ghost story, is REAL and ALIVE, and that it means something.
If the Principal is a great artist, "Giselle" will have reached its Transcendental Paradigm.

Ms. Tatyana Terekhova's interpretation of Myrtha is excellent: Icy, She dances with a vengeance yet are still quite contemplative and detached. She moves with much grace and command.

All around disappointing performance
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 01/14/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)

"At times one simply has to call a spade a spade, and this is one of those times. This dvd is a disappointment in every way. A shame too, because as of now it is the Kirov's only official video of the great Romantic ballet Giselle.
Where do the problems begin? For one, let's start with the technical issues. The video and sound are very poor. The video is frequently grainy and fuzzy, the sound tinny, and the stage is way too lit for the crucial Act 2, destroying the moonlit glow that is so crucial for this act to work.
Then the performances. Galina Mezentseva is a ballerina whose appeal eludes me. Other reviewers have called her a "bag of bones," and it's true, her tall, broad-shouldered, overly bony body shape is not very pleasing to look at, as is her overly gaunt face. But more importantly, she is fatally unable to convey youth, radince, and innocence in Act 1, and a supernatural gentleness/spirituality in Act 2. Her acting in Act 1 is hammy, especially the mad scene. Those are real tears, but it seems overwrought, and the closeups do not flatter her. The only part of the ballet she does very well is the crucial moment when she is made to turn as a Wili in front of Myrtha. Her spins are furious, and as is she's possessed. Otherwise her technique is good but without artistry to back it up what is there? But otherwise, I've seen so many Giselles superior to her in both technique and artistry. Alessandra Ferri. Alina Cojocaru. Diana Vishneva. Carla Fracci. Svetlana Lunkina. Galina Ulanova. Natalia Makarova. From the clips, Margot Fonteyn. Even Svetlana Zakharova, a dancer who I'm not all that fond of, performas the role with a better fluidity of movement. Unusually for someone trained in the Vaganova style, her movements have this jerkiness about them. She also has very little elevation. This doesn't stop her from shamelessly milking the applause, she actually breaks character by accepting a bouquet of flowers at the end of the "Spessivtseva" variation (that's the variation where Giselle has to hop across the stage on pointe), even though the ballet isn't over yet. One has a feeling that she is performing as though she is a Diva, and not as Giselle.
The Albrecht, Konstantin Zaklinsky, has almost zero chemistry with Mezentseva. His dancing is mediocre at best, and he runs out of steam in the marathon Act 2. His form falters. He fails to delineate Albrecht's character. Is he a cad, is he genuinely in love? Does he redeem himself? We never find out with his middling performance.
The only redeeming features of this video are the Kirov corps, which are their usually excellent selves, although even they have their sloppy moments, as they drop their flowers left and right. The second redeeming feature of the perforance is the Myrtha of Tatiana Terekhova. Fearsome, with an impeccable technique and an implacable demeanor, Terekhova is the only person who seems to understand what the ballet is all about. Altynai Asylmuratova (what a Giselle she would have been!) has a small cameo as Moyna, one of Myrtha's girls.
The Kirov production looks old and tattered. In the second act, the Wili flowers are strewn all over the stage. In other words, it's as if they decided to preserve for posterity a very mediocre performance. A shame.
As an interesting sidenote, during the curtain calls, Tatiana Terekhova receives a HUGE bouquet of flowers, much larger than Mezentseva's smaller bunch. And for a minute, you see a rather smug smirk flit across Terekhova's face.
Disappointing in every way."
Georgios Xenias | Greece | 03/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very classical production of Giselle by the Kirov forces in the early 1980s. Sets and costumes are exactly what one would expect in this kind of production: traditional and beautiful. In the second Act there are some impressive tricks (dancers floating above the stage, etc.), which are perfectly executed and quite effective. The picture and sound quality are good. The performance was filmed live, so you get the audience's responce (which I like), as well as some thumping from the dancers' feet (which I could do without).
I believe there is no need to stress that the corps is great. Anyone who has seen Kirov performances from that era knows that they carried sort of a guarantee of excellence.
Terekhova, who dances Myrtha, the Queen of the ghosts, is pefect. The absolute control of movement combined with an icy expression, gives a spooky and at the same time fascinating feeling to the part. I wish she had more to do -I couldn't get enough of her.
Zaklinski is Albrecht, Giselle's controversial lover. I had seen him before in the Kirov's Corsaire, dancing the slave-trader, which is almost a character role. He was great there too, but what a surprise to see him here. He is an excellent noble dancer, very stylish, very handsome, and a good actor, too. Acting abilities were mandatory in this case, not only beacause of the complexity of the part, but also because he was coupled with such a Giselle!
Which brings us to Mezentseva, the Giselle. She is the main reason I'm writing this review. I've read reviews describing her as "an ancient anorexic" (in the UK Amazon) or even "a bag of bones". True, she is not pretty. She is tall, her shoulders are broad and she is VERY thin. If I were the costume designer, I'd have covered her arms and bust by all means. But a great artist does not need looks. And a great artist she is. One minute after she appears, the "look" issue was forgotten for me. Her dancing is excellent, in the best Kirov tradition. Wonderful, fluid movement, absolute control, perfect form, -everything you'd expect from a Kirov prima ballerina,- but her ACTING is what absolutely took my breath away. What a wonderful Giselle she is! Her Act I finale almost had me in tears. In fact she IS in tears, herself. You can see them streaming down her cheeks as she turns from her mother to Albrecht in despair. Her madness and death-scene are unforgetable. And how naturally she slides into the un-natural state of Giselle in the 2nd Act. She is and is not the village girl anymore. She is gentle, compassionate and detached. A spirit.
This was a very rewarding purchase for me, and, unless what you are looking for is a lovely creature dancing pirouettes, I would definitely recomend it.