Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Adam - Giselle / Svetlana Zakharova Roberto Bolle Vittorio d'Amato La Scala Ballet|
Actors: David Coleman, Marta Romagna, Antonino Sutera, Sophie Sarrote, Romagna
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sizzling Emotional Intensity And Technical Excellence!
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 02/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It has been quite a long time since the ballet world has been blessed with a ballet duo the likes of Zakharova and Bolle. Their ability to perform with technical excellence and emotional intensity is very rare--and breathtaking! We are blessed with some nice releases on dvd by them(Swan Lake and La Bayadere). Perhaps it is in Giselle that we can experience the most realistic portrayal of human emotion in ballet, and Zakharova and Bolle do not disappoint us! This version has the most sizzling emotional intensity of any I have seen, both in act one and act two. In act one Zakharova displays youthful warmth and innocence and in act two, intense love, pain, and grief. Bolle also gives a very appropriate portrayal, showing real intensity throughout. All the scenes are equally magnificent, as is the supporting cast. It is a complete Giselle with the peasant pas de deux and all the group dances, as well as extensive choreography for Myrtha and the other wilis. Finally, the music, costumes, and scenery are also of the highest standard. The image quality and sound are likewise superb. It is packaged with a booklet. Unfortunately, there is no bonus material on the dvd. This is definitely one of the finest Giselle performances on dvd."
Pretty, well-danced, but strangely antiseptic Giselle
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 08/14/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"On paper, this ought to be a great Giselle. Svetlana Zakharova is one of ballet's biggest superstars. She's a ballerina of considerable beauty and awe-inspiring technique. Roberto Bolle is one of the most handsome male danseurs. The performance, staged at La Scala, features a very pretty, traditional production. Yet, for some reason, I wasn't moved by the performance. Giselle is often called the Hamlet of ballets, and for good reason. To be a great Giselle or Albrechtm, it's not enough to have great technique. One must also live the part.
In June of this year, I went to a live performance of Giselle with Diana Vishneva. Vishneva is a more unconventional dancer, and she doesn't have the rock solid technique of Zakharova. But Vishneva's Giselle was unforgettable, a true force of nature. In the first act, her passion for both Albrecht and dancing was palpable. When she was betrayed, her fury as she ripped off Bathilde's necklace was shocking. In the second act, she was the most implacable of Giselles. When she first ascended from the grave and faced Myrtha, she turned with so much speed and fury that I truly believed she was possessed. Her elevation was incredible -- she could seemingly suspend herself in the air, and her grand jetes were so powerful I thought she'd jump into the orchestra pit. When morning came, and the Wilis departed, Vishneva's face, formerly so stern and determined, all of a sudden radiated peace and serenity. Giselle won. She saved Albrecht, and exorcised her own personal demons. I'll never forget it. Another comparison would be Alicia Alonso's Giselle. By the time that was filmed (1964) Alonso was nearly blind, and also past her best technically. Her developpes are so wobbly that the camera cuts away. Yet her Giselle has so much heart and a soul that the technical problems fade away. Her final gesture to Albrecht (a penchee arabesque, while holding out her hand for one last kiss) is unforgettable. Natalia Makarova is another Giselle whose intensity is frightening. (There's an old video of her dancing with Baryshnikov.)
In contrast, Zakharova doesn't infuse Giselle with much personality. I felt that Zakharova was a very pretty Giselle, and she danced very well, but there was something superficial about her performance. She has two expressions: a smile (happy!) and a furrowed brow (everything else). One could call her a bit aloof. This is ok for some ballets, but not for Giselle. Zakharova's shy and smiley in Act 1, but her mad scene seems to be a by-the-numbers show. The "Spessivtseva solo", with its famous hops on pointe across the stage is performed with nary a bobble, but Giselle should radiate joy and happiness, and Zakharova doesn't. She looks like she's having a good time showing off her pretty face and beautiful legs. Act 2 is a display of the purity and solidity of her classical technique, although her famous sky-high extensions seem a bit forced. She often seems to be forcing her leg to go just a little bit higher, and that breaks the flow and fluidity of her dancing. Vishneva was just as flexible, but her legs floated up in the air effortlessly. Another issue is Zakharova's height. She is one of the tallest ballerinas (over 5'8"), and being so tall and majestic, it was harder for her to maintain the illusion of ethereal weightlessness that is so important in Act II. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying Zakharova is a bad Giselle. But there is something antiseptic about her whole performance.
Roberto Bolle is another problem. The role Albrecht is perhaps even harder than Giselle. Is he a cad, or genuinely in love? Either way, he has to in the first act establish a relationship with Giselle that is believable enough that Giselle's descent into madness is convincing. In the second act, Albrecht has to convey so much: remorse, love, desperation. In this respect, Bolle fails. He is handsome and dances without many flaws, but there is no transformation and redemption. Although Bolle and Zakharova have danced together many times (there is a dvd of their Swan Lake performance, where both of them were IMO much more convincing) the relationship between Giselle and Albrecht was not very delineated. There wasn't much chemistry. I saw two very beautiful people dancing together, but I never felt love and passion between them. The famous Act 2 pas de deux, which begins with Giselle's developpe, was well-danced but, as I said, somewhat clinical. If you want to see how magical the Giselle/Albrecht pas de deux can be, watch Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev (this pdd is available on the latest, highly recommend documentary about Fonteyn). The tenderness and "one-ness" of their performance is spellbinding.
Marta Romagna's Myrtha is a real disappointment. Compared to Tatiana Terekhova (Kirov video) or Monica Mason (Royal Ballet video with Seymour and Nureyev) Romagna's deficiences become obvious. She makes no impact. She's neither scary nor authoritative as the Queen of the Wilis. She gets through the steps alright, but her jumps are unspectacular, and she really walks through the performance.
In other words, this is a well-danced, pretty Giselle, but it didn't move me."
First-rate traditional Giselle from La Scala
Marc Haegeman | Gent, Belgium | 07/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Milan's La Scala continues to spoil ballet lovers with its exploration of the great classics, with yet another excellent "Giselle", filmed live in April 2005. Released some ten years after the "Giselle" with Alessandra Ferri and Massimo Murru, the current DVD features the Bolshoi's Svetlana Zakharova, now a frequent guest with the Milanese company, as Giselle, and La Scala's own Roberto Bolle as Albrecht. (Anyone yet possessing the older film with Ferri/Murru needn't hesitate to try out this new release as the Giselles couldn't possibly be more different.)
La Scala's "Giselle" has the asset of the sound choreographic text by Yvette Chauviré (the French Giselle par excellence of the 20th century), revived by Florence Clerc, and boasts eye-catching sets and costumes recreated by Angelo Sala and Cinzia Rosselli after Alexander Benois. It is as traditional a staging as you can get, and that's exactly what this ballet needs.
Russian star Svetlana Zakharova gives a fine dramatic reading of the main character. "Giselle" was one of Zakharova's first major roles when she started out with the Kirov now almost ten years ago. She has since then performed the ballet in at least five different productions around the world. Her sophistication is balanced by femininity and vulnerability, while her dancing has now acquired such fluidity and sense of purpose that she can get away with the sky-high extensions. In the last few years Zakharova developed a rewarding partnership with dream-prince Roberto Bolle. He is a noble and passionate Albrecht, his dancing clean, his partnering reliable. On the other hand, Marta Romagna's Myrtha is something of a letdown, hardly making any impact with either her presence or the quality of her dancing. La Scala's female corps de ballet proves excellent in the 2nd Act.
David Coleman conducts the Orchestra of La Scala in this new release which has first-rate filming, image quality and sound to boast.
Definitely worth viewing, though not the best
Delaval | Ohio, USA | 09/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Allow me to admit right up front that I am a fan of Svetlana Zakharova, so perhaps this leaves me a bit biased. Her dancing is, as usual, nearly flawless. But she's not the sort of Giselle that leaves you startled at her violent mood swings. She's a much more subtle creature in this. In some respects, this is disappointing. Like my fellow reviewer, I too saw Diana Vishneva perform Giselle and she blew me away with her emotional range and expressivity in the role. But in that performance, Giselle also came off as something of a manic-depressive all the way through; she perhaps shifted gears too much. Svetlana's Giselle flows more smoothly from who she was in life into who she became in death, and that has a certain beauty to it. No, the madness scene was not on par with the best. But I liked that it was a bit stilted, slow and internalized; more like true madness brought on by betrayal. And her Act II pas de deux is just beautiful.
Roberto Bolle, whom I generally like, I found to be a lacking Albrecht. He and Svetlana always dance beautifully together (and look gorgeous together to boot), but if Svetlana's Giselle was subtle...then Roberto's Albrecht was downright clinical. He only showed two expressions in Act I: arrogantly flirty and exaggeratedly sorrowful. But no depth of true love. I also agree with other reviewers, Marta Romagna's Myrtha was a major disappointment. She looked almost bored to be there, and her dancing revealed no power or commanding presence whatsoever. She made it difficult to believe that she could ever command Svetlana, and thus made Giselle's defiance to save Albrecht look too easy.
Some aspects of this performance: the technique of Svetlana and Roberto, the raw emotion in the eyes of Hilarion, the beautiful sets and costumes, the (as ever) lush musical performance by the orchestra, make this worthy of viewing. But don't expect the best Giselle you've ever seen."