Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Bizet - Carmen Suite / Plisetskaya Fadeyechev Radchenko Bolshoi Ballet|
Actors: Maria Plisetskaya, Nicolai Fadeyechev, Sergei Radchenko
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
VAI DVD 4294 Maria Plisetskaya, Nikolai Fadeyechev, Sergei Radchenko, Bolshoi Ballet. Choregraphy by Alberto Alonso. Music by Rodion Schedrin. Bonuses of Plisetskaya in performance ? "Dying Swan", "Raymonda Variations", B... more »
Maya Plisetskaya : "It was not just new but the newest chore
Galina | Virginia, USA | 12/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rodion Shchedrin's "Carmen Suite" Ballet with Maya Plisetskaya, the great MAYA as Carmen is my most beloved version of Carmen. Plisetskaya was the greatest Russian/Soviet Ballerina of the 20th Century, the legend of the Bolshoi Ballet, "Prima Ballerina Assoluta". The composer Rodion Shchedrin and Maya Plisetskaya have been married for many years, and during their marriage he has written many works for her such as The Humpbacked Horse (1960), Carmen Suite (1967), Anna Karenina (1972) and The Seagull (1980). To dance Carmen had been her dream for many years and after Shchedrin saw some of the initial rehearsals with his wife and the world famous ballet master and choreographer Alberto Alonso he agreed to provide the music. For his Carmen Suite, Shchedrin re-scored Bizet's music for strings and percussion and inserted the farandole from L'Arlésienne and the Danse Bohemieme from La Jolie Fille de Perth. The ballet, the result of the talents and the inspiration of the incredibly talented people, starting with two Frenchmen, Prosper Mérimée and George Bizet, was the perfect match for Alonso's breakthrough choreography and Plisetskaya's dancing and dramatic skills. Now, after fory years since its premiere in 1967 at the Bolshoi, "Carmen" looks incredibly modern and original. It was truly ahead of its time, and the extremely negative responses from the Soviet authorities were not surprising. "Carmen Suite" literally turned Russian ballet that was known for its faithfulness to the classical traditions. Carmen was so alive, so deeply tragic, and so overly sensual that even many true ballet lovers could not accept its unusual uniqueness. Maya Plisetskaya recalls, "It was not just new but the newest choreography. It was so unusual that even the ballet experts could not accept it, let alone the authorities that were simply in panic. There was a real war against "Carmen" but we fought for it and the time has proved that "Carmen" has won.
Maya Plisetskay has broken many rules of the classical ballet at the same time setting the new heights in terms of technical and artistic perfection. She was known for the height of her jumps, her extremely flexible back, the technical strength of her dancing, the unparalleled artistry, the incomparable perfection and finesse of every movement, the unmatched fluidity of her "singing" "boneless" arms (just watch her interpretation of The Dying Swan,) and her charisma that the years have no power over. On the date of her 80th birthday, the Financial Times wrote about her: "She was, and still is, a star, ballet's monstre sacre, the final statement about theatrical glamor, a flaring, flaming beacon in a world of dimly twinkling talents, a beauty in the world of prettiness". Maya will be remembered for every one of her performances and each character she created but "Carmen" will always be my favorite ballet. . There is so much of herself Maya put in Carmen - pride, independence, strength, fearlessness, the intolerance to submission, love for freedom that is above anything and readiness to fight for it to the end. 45 minutes ballet has proved to be a triumph and has been remade perhaps hundreds of times since its premiere 40 years ago but I am sure, that the original version with Maya Plisetskaya, Nicolai Fadeyechev, the famous dramatic dancer as Don Jose, and Sergey Radchenko in the role of the Bullfighter has been and will stay the best. There is Bonus segments on DVD that feature Plisetskaya in performances of The Dying Swan, Raymonda Variations, and Bach Prelude.
The quality of the DVD which was released by Video Artists Int'l on September 28, 2004 is far from perfect but I still will rate it 5 stars for the joy I've relived when I saw the great balerina in the favorite performances."
Toreadors and swans ... this has it all.
R. C. Walker | Encinitas CA, United States | 03/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the Soviet Union became less repressive of the arts (Stalin knew what he liked, and it wasn't Shostakovich), modernism crossed east of the Iron Curtain. Unfortunately. Naturally, many Russian composers opted for modernism in its most ghastly forms.
Rodion Shchedrin is primarily a modernist, but not one of the worst. (Even though you weren't wondering, "shch" is a single character in the Kyrillic alphabet.) His piano concerto and other more or less abstract works tend to treat the audience with contempt. His ballets are at least somewhat better. Every once in a while, he produces a gem. One of these is the Carmen Suite Ballet. "Suite" here is a misnomer. The work is not a traditional suite, but a fantasy on themes from Carmen. It makes extensive use of Bizet's original music. That factor alone would make Shchedrin's music sound much better than it usually does.
Musically, the ballet is brilliant, and well worth getting on a CD for its own sake. It's full of clever variations on the Bizet originals, unexpected transitions and endings, and other interesting quirks. At one point, one of Bizet's tunes suddenly disappears, and all we get is the underlying rhythm in the percussion. And yet ... and yet ... somehow we still hear the tune anyway; our ears are well and truly fooled by a master.
The ballet lasts about ¾ of an hour. The principal dancer, as Carmen, is the wonderful Maya Plisetskaya. Watching this graceful and athletic beanpole alone is worth the price of admission. Her Carmen struts, preens, tempts, leaps, and does all things that may commend a first-class slut.
Don Jose is danced by Nikolai Fadeyecev, and Escamillo by Sergei Radchenko. They do fine jobs and almost keep Plisetskaya from dominating the stage. A could of minor characters are danced by Aleksandr Levrenyuk and Natalya Kasatkina ... also very well portrayed (the Magistrate and Fate, respectively). Can't do Carmen without Fate.
The stage is fairly bare, with nothing in the way of real scenery. A platform, a chair, what have you; that's it. Costuming is minimal, with just enough to indicate what and who each character is.
The ballet is engrossing - although, I confess, the music more so than the dancing.
The DVD has 18 minutes of actually worthwhile (!!) extras ... three other bits of ballet featuring Plisetskaya. Of particular note is a traditional "Dying Swan". It's very good, although the best Dying Swan ever is that performed during every performance of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. You haven't really experienced ballet until you see a bunch of guys do Swan Lake.
Short though it is, this is a very worthwhile disc and I highly recommend it. And I'm no big fan of ballet.