Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Adam - Giselle / Nureyev Seymour Mason Bavarian State Ballet|
Actors: Rudolf Nureyev, Lynn Seymour, Monica Mason
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Ballet great Rudolf Nureyev stara as Albrecht in a lovely production of the dance perennial. This was one of Nureyev?s greatest successes in his native Russia and he has performed the role around the world ever since. Gise... more »
Flawed, yet heartfelt Giselle
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 03/09/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First things first: I would not recommend this as anyone's first Giselle. The simple reason being that at this point in her career, the role of Giselle was simply beyond Lynn Seymour's technique and physique. Giselle in the second act is supposed to be ghostlike, almost floating through the air. Lynn Seymour was famous for her excellent dramatic abilities (she was Kenneth MacMillan's favorite ballerina) but throughout her career she struggled with weight issues and injury and repeated pregnancies. By 1978 (when this film was made) she is frankly out of shape. The many overheard lifts, so crucial to Giselle, have to be modified. Yet look hard enough, and you'll see the traces of a great Giselle. Lynn Seymour's Giselle is perhaps the most naturally peasant-like. In her first act dances she conveys a bubbly wholesomeness that is endearing. Not really a classical ballerina in the tradition of, say, Margot Fonteyn, Seymour dances with her whole body. In the Mad Scene, she lunges wildly, she cackles, she clings desperately to Albrecht, and she truly TUMBLES to the ground. She also has lovely feet and an enchanting smile.
The main reason to get this Giselle is as a document of Rudolf Nureyev's peerless Albrecht. It's hard to make Albrecht look like anything other than a manipulative, selfish jerk, but Nureyev manages to garner sympathy, through his sheer warmth and ardency. Albrecht was the role that made him famous both at the Kirov and then at the Royal Ballet. There are so many little touches to Nureyev's Albrecht that I love. For one, he truly PRAYS to Myrtha for forgiveness; you can understand, for once, why Giselle wants to save him. In the Mad Scene he doesn't just stand there, slack-jawed. Remorse fills his face, and he hugs Giselle tightly. Technically Nureyev is also very impressive: in Act 2 he does a beautiful series of entrechat-sixes. His pirouettes are as ever erratic, and he clearly has trouble lifting Seymour, but like most Soviet-trained dancers he's a beautiful leaper. Mostly, he really makes Giselle a story of a young man's redemption. There is almost something spiritual in his frenzied humility in Act 2.
The production is typical of ballet films of the time: small sound stage, paper trees, but at least the director doesnt try anything fancy (unlike the 1969 ABT film, which constantly cuts away and films at odd angles). Another reason to get this dvd is the Myrtha of Monica Mason. She is one scary, sinister Myrtha."
Enjoyable, but maybe best purchased as an adjunct
Warmgoy | 05/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This GISELLE is certainly enjoyable, and presents two of ballet's greats, but I personally would not toss it up as a first recommendation. The ballet is very cut, in fact the entire DVD clocks in at around seventy minutes. The entire peasant scene is removed from Act One. The production is attractive, but very studio bound, a real 70's video tape ambiance, and a mite cheap looking here and there. I must say I agree with the other reviewers here regarding Seymour - a wonderful dancer caught late in her career in a role physically not terribly congenial to her at this time (she plays Giselle's mother in the trashy-but-fun film DANCERS, shot a few years after this.) There is a wanting of ethereal quality in Act Two. That said, her sincerity is often quite arresting, and she is a fine balletic actress, so this can still be a fun performance if you don't look too hard. I know I will be creamed for this, but I am not terribly fond of Nureyev in this particular outing. The technical skill is of course prodigious, I am less happy with him dramatically here. He does some sardonic faces here and there that border on camp, and for a couple of reasons (some I won't say out loud) he and Seymour aren't the most plausible love couple, even in balletic terms. The Myrtha of Monica Mason is excellent, cold as ice, hard as diamonds, and technically dazzling. A good group of Wilis too, the initial ensemble is taken at a rather rapid clip, and the corps rise to the occasion quite well.
Fans of these particular dancers will want this and should treasure it. For those looking for a good basic GISELLE video, there are other choices that might be more satisfying."
A True Classic In Mint Condition
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 02/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If someone wanted to know what a classic performance was, this would be a great example. This performance and presentation are nearly perfect. The image quality is great and the sound quality is excellent. The only flaw is that the color intensity is a little weak, which gives it a slight sepia appearance, which is not really a bad thing for a period piece. The orchestral version used here is a little unusual. It may be the edition they used. It has a very clear chamber orchestra quality enhanced by excellent microphone placement and good engineering.
The peasant pas de deux is actually danced by Seymour and Nureyev, themselves, typically Nureyev. The choreography he uses for this part is quite interesting. Nureyev is in classic form here and he looks like he's enjoying himself, as is the rest of this excellent cast( the corps, too!). Nureyev was a very fine ballet actor and his mime(which includes all non-dance modes of expression) is great here. In the beginning of the first act he is very amusing in the way he tells his servant not to worry about his little adventure to come. Because this is in such great condition and a great performance, it is a fine choice for all audiences."
A common man's point of view.
Richard Rawls | Dublin Ga USA | 01/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I hope you have read all of the above reviews, because they all have good points to consider.
My only objection to the ballet is the length, as it is only 78 minutes. Almost no peasant dances and a condensed 2nd act also, for which there could be NO excuse. That's why we buy "Giselle" for goodness sake. I bought this version on Ivy Lin's recommendation, knowing for instance, that Lynn Seymour was a little heavy. In spite of that she played a beautiful Giselle, and I'm sure there are a few heavy weights out there who can identify with her. The only thing she could not do was fly, but her dancing was good, she looked good in her mad scene, and rather than hiding her face in her hands, like some, she acted her part with expression. I felt sympathy for her Giselle. A lot has been said about the fact that Giselle kills herself with Albrecht's sword, and the act of suicide is not how the original version portrayed her death. In all five of my versions, suicide is used. Death from a broken heart would be more heart rending for us, but actresses who could convince us would be hard to find. The only two I've seen who have come close to convincing me is Karen Kain in the Canadian version and Christine Walsh in the Australian Ballet version. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) some Churches forbid burial on so called sacred ground (Church cemetery) when suicide is the cause of death, which is the reason Giselle is buried on unconsecrated ground in the Forest. Even though she didn't commit suicide, the Christine Walsh "Giselle" was also buried on unconsecrated ground in a Forest glade. My understanding is, that because of her act of forgiveness, Giselle freed her spirit of wondering the dark Forests for all eternity with Myrtha and the other Wilis.
Monica Mason IS Myrtha (Meer-ta). She is the best Myrtha of them all. Scary is the word for it. The lighting added to the eerie atmosphere of the night-time Forrest, as everything is back-lit, except for low intensity spotlights on the principles. Some of the white dancing in the 2nd act was abbreviated so much and the music was sped up to the point that if you blinked you are apt to miss the spectacular dance of the Wilis when they hop on one foot in the arabesque. I have never heard that music played so fast in any Giselle. It is so beautiful, why not slow it down instead? Lynn's Giselle shows a tender forgiveness for Albrecht's carelessness in love. I have wondered, however, if the Princess Bathilde, his former fiance, ever forgives him. I have heard that there is a version showing her (Bathilde) coming to reclaim Albrecht. Does anyone know?
This was a film sound stage production, and may not have had a live orchestra. It certainly had no audience. It is claimed to be Dolby 2.0 sound. The video format is 4:3 ratio.
P.S. I now have a sixth version of Giselle by the Australian Ballet, staring Christine Walsh, and Kelvin Coe. I found it on Amazon.UK. I have been looking for another ballet with Christine Walsh for a year, and fortunately found this one, which is very good. The Australian Ballet version is the only version in my collection of six, where Giselle does NOT stab herself with Albrecht's sword. She attempts to, but is prevented by Albrecht. She dies of heart failure, and is quite convincing in her portrayal of a frail young girl with a weak heart, and driven to utter destruction by anxiety and betrayal. Her mad scene is very well done, but the producers foolishly had her in close-up when she picked the Daisey for the "he loves me, he loves me not" portion of the mad scene."