Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ashton - The Dream / Ethan Stiefel Alessandra Ferri Herman Cornejo American Ballet Theater|
Actors: Sir Frederick Ashton, American Ballet Theatre, Ethan Stiefel, Alessandra Ferri, Herman Cornejo
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
To celebrate the centennial of his birth, DANCE IN AMERICA presents American Ballet Theatre's acclaimed staging of Sir Frederick Ashton's magical ballet. Stars Ethan Stiefel, Alessandra Ferri, and Herman Cornejo.
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A Good Performance Ruined
Tony Heyes | Greater Manchester UK | 01/17/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I Imagine this was an excellent performance of Ashton's "The Dream". I say "imagine" because this DVD is an object lesson in how not to film a ballet. The camera work is frenetic, zooming in and out every few seconds, cutting from one part of the stage to the other without rhyme or reason, destroying all sense of flow and denying the viewer any possibility of appreciating the dancing or the choreography. Half of the shots are only of the dancers' upper bodies. Doesn't the director know that dance involves the feet and the body's line? By the end of the disc I felt dizzied by the cutting and peeved at having wasted my money. Save yours!"
Ethan Stiefel is absolutely brilliant.
wallacd | 05/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The ABT's performance of Frederick Ashton's "The Dream" is magical and Ethan Stiefel's portrayal of Oberon is absolutely brilliant. It is Stiefel's outstanding performance, both dancing and acting, that is truly indispensable and holds the entire production together. From his masterful arabesques and pirouettes to his wonderful characterization, Stiefel shows why he is a great dancer.Wonderful performances were also given by Herman Cornejo as Puck, Stella Abrera as Hermia and Ethan Brown as Demetrius. From the principals to the corp, everyone gives energetic and stylish performances.This DVD is not to be missed."
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 03/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1962, George Balanchine choreographed "Midsummer's Night Dream," which has become one of his most well-loved ballets. It is structured much like a classical ballet. The first act is in the woods, the second act is a series of divertissements. Two years later, Sir Frederick Ashton choreographed "The Dream," also a take on Shakespeare's play, and also using Mendelssohn's famous score. Despite the similarities in music and source, the Balanchine and Ashton ballets differ quite a bit. Ironically, Balanchine, who so championed abstract, plotless ballets, made his ballet more plot-based. More traditional ballet storytelling devices are used, such as mime. Ashton's ballet, while telling essentially the same story, is more dance-driven.
The focus of the ballets also differs slightly. The heart of the Ashton ballet is the conflict and reconciliation of the quarreling Fairy Queen Titania and Fairy King Oberon. While the comic storylines of Titania falling in love with a donkey and the quarreling of the interchangable lovers (Hermia, Lysander, Helenia, and Demetrius) are all touched upon, essentially this is Oberon and Titania's show. The ballet ends with a lovely duet of reconciliation between the two fairies. Balanchine, on the other hand, focused more on the comic aspects of the play. Puck's confusion as he administers his love potions, the incredibly silly lover-foursome, and most of all, Titania's love for Bottom the Donkeyhead. In fact, the major pas de deux is between Titania and Bottom. Ashton uses the same music in the reconciliation pas de deux between Oberon and Titania. I think overall, Balanchine tells the story better. It's not that Ashton doesnt tell the same story, but he doesn't underline and clarify it the way Balanchine does via mime and clever stage action. Balanchine's second act also includes one of his most beautiful pas de deux he ever choreographed.
That being said, I enjoy both ballets, although I find Balanchine's to be more funny and entertaining. This video of The Dream is certainly excellent. The American Ballet Theatre in recent years has grown into a worldclass ballet company. It always had famous international soloists, but now the corps work is also excellent, and there really is no weak link in the cast. In particular, the port-te-bras of the corps de ballet has improved by leaps and bounds compared to videos from the 1970s and 1980s, and you can see this in the video. The fairies are lovely and garner much applause from the appreciative audience. (In Balanchine's version, some of the fairies and butterflies are cute kids.) The costumes and sets are almost breathtakingly beautiful.
The lovely, graceful Alessandra Ferri is an elegant yet sexy Titania. Never a classical technician, this kind of role is perfect for Ferri, who really looks best floating around the stage in chiffony dresses. This is not a knock on Ferri's dancing, but she's not really a tutu ballerina. Her strength lies in the wonderful softness of her dancing, her seeming weightlessness, and her overall grace and charm. Ethan Stiefel (Oberon) has always had a somewhat stern, forbidding stage presence, and it's well suited for the role of Oberon who is, after all, a jerk. He's tall, thin, and he used to dance with the New York City Ballet, so he still has that company's strength of being adept at fast footwork. His technical skills are formidable, although for me he lacks that little extra something that would catapult him from a very good dancer to a true star. Herman Cornejo is an excellent Puck -- short, but with incredible elevation, he really does seem to be a sprite flying about the woods. In Ashton's ballet the lovers (Stella Abrera, Carlos Molina, Marian Butler, and Ethan Brown) have little dancing to do, but they are entertaining.
Overall, an enjoyable, charming video, although I think it's overpriced, as it is, after all, only 50 minutes long. Usually this ballet is paired with another ballet. One wonders what that ballet was, and why it wasn't taped. There is an excellent video of Balanchine's Midsummer's Night Dream that is available on dvd, danced by the Pacific Northwest Ballet."
Yvette Mignerey Atkin | Salt Lake City, UT | 01/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this ballet and Ethan Stiefel as Oberon and Alessandra Ferri as Titania are absolutely incredible. Because this story is a comedy, it's a fun ballet to watch for all ages. I highly recommend the The Dream to anyone who is a fan of the American Ballet Theater or ballet."