Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Delibes - Sylvia / Aurelie Dupont Manuel Legris Nicolas Le Riche Marie-Agnes Gillot Jose Martinez Paris Opera Ballet|
Actors: Delibes, Neumeier, Ballet De L'Opera, Paul Connelly
Director: Thomas Grimm DVD-Director
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Similarly Requested DVDs
Beautiful Contemporary Rendition of Sylvia
I. Martinez-Ybor | Miami, FL USA | 07/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hot on the heels of the Paris Opera Ballet's DVD of Balanchine's "Jewels", comes this splendid, bittersweet, contemporary interpretation of "Sylvia."
Delibes' score is a musical masterpiece which, unlike "Coppelia," remains significantly more heard than seen. Also, unlike "Coppelia," or for that matter "Giselle," "Swan Lake," "Sleeping Beauty," and "Petrushka," there is no "classic" choreography associated with it, such as the works of Perrot, Petipa, Ivanov, or Fokine. The original by Louis Merante apparently has not survived. Subsequent choreographies by Serge Lifar, Lycette Darsonval and Frederick Ashton do not seem to have had much traction. (Ashton's initial 1952 production for the Royal turned Sylvia into a Second Empire extravaganza largely dependent on the artistry of Margot Fonteyn, according to commentary I've read about it and its '60's revival). Therefore, there are no visual identifying marks for a choreographer to disturb. A choreographer can, relatively safely, take the score and give it his best shot. There are no choreographic preconceptions to offend. Isn't it great?
John Neumeier succeeds on all counts. In his own words, he turns the tale into a parable on the price paid for ambition pursued, a tale well known to dancers and athletes. His choreographic style is eclectic. He uses modern dance to make the dramatic points, and as these develop and become more eloquent, the steps morph into ballet, the girls go on point: greater freedom and depth of expression is acquired by a more rigorous application of dance technique. All is congruent with the wonderful music. It flows seamlessly, rising to peaks of eloquence in which I was much moved. Telling point: when Sylvia (phenomenal and gorgeous Aurelie Dupont) first meets Aminta (the great Manuel Legris) the hesitating motions of first acquaintance and instant infatuation are set in modern dance steps which lead into ballet as their love blossoms (in stage time), fitting the music perfectly. Another telling point: the valedictory if happenstance meeting of the now graying Sylvia and Aminta is set to the well-known "pizzicato." The fortuitousness of the meeting in the grove where they first met, the realization of time past never to be regained, of what-ifs, regrets, choices made that cannot be undone, the wrenching depth of these mature feelings is illustrated by the vivid modern choreography that commences the scene soaring into ballet at the end. The well known pizzicato tune no longer sounds frivolous, perhaps silly, but acquires eloquent poignancy through the stage image created by Neumaier. Delibes admired Wagner and many say the score to Sylvia reflects Wagner's influence. One can say that Neumeier realizes through his choreography the Wagnerian theatrical ideal of creating a theatre piece where all elements are so integrated so as to render a whole greater than its individual components. (Of course, Wagner hated ballet, particularly ballet in opera, and most particularly the Paris Opera and its ballet for what it forced him to do to Tannhauser).
Scenery, by Yannis Kokkos, is flat and lean but eloquent, relying on juxtaposition of colors and lighting to make its point (Neumeier was his own lighting designer). Neumaier wanted the scenery to give dramatic, not merely decorative support, and, most importantly, to also give him maximum room in which to deploy his dancers. I think it succeeds on all counts. If one likes Matisse or David Hockney's swimming pools one will probably like Mr. Kokkos' stage pictures.
The Paris Opera Ballet shines. In addition to Dupont and Legris, Marie-Agnes Gillot and Nicolas LeRiche are most virtuosic and eloquent as Diana and Amor/Orion. As a bit of truly sumptuous casting, the magnificent etoile Jose Martinez dances the secondary role of Endymion.
The orchestra under Paul Connelly performs the score as well as I have ever heard it and it is brilliantly reproduced. (Though I have DTS decoding, for some reason my copy didn't work; however, the Dolby 5.1 was quite fine; one could just listen to the music!).
"Sylvia" was written for and first performed as the first ballet evening at the Palais Garnier in 1870, one of the most beloved theatres in the world. Ironically, the DVD is taken from performances at the Opera Bastille, a place many people love to hate.
Sylvia at last
Giles Bernard J. Hall | Tasmania; Australia | 03/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Where do I start. I have always had recordings of Léo Delibes' ballet music, Coppélia and Sylvia. Sylvia's score is by far more richer and complex than that of Coppélia's. You might be familiar with the famous "Pizzicato Polka" from Act Two, scene Two.
The rich orchestral colours which permeate this score, demand a production which will support them. Which brings me to this production. I should warn you it is quite modern with a minimalist set and modern costumes. Being a purist at heart, I like my classical operas and ballets to be just that. Having said all that, and having watched this production, now I must eat my words, as they say. I actually enjoyed it and found it quite refreshing, once I got used to the idea of a modern production. The movements at first seemed a bit bizarre, but once I realised what was going on they grew on me. I know some of you have watched this and NOT liked it, but I ask you to be patient with it and give it it's fair due. The staging (or lack of it) and lighting were well executed and the orchestral playing was phenomenal. I have DTS and it was actually life like. The dancers were in their own rite beyond reproach. Each move and turn exquisitely executed within an inch of the music. So if this old stuffed classicalist can appreciate what John Neumier has placed in front of us, you can too. If it's any help, try listening to the music first and ignoring the dance. Once you have grasped the dynamics of the score, the dance movements themselves will not appear too aggressive. Buy and enjoy.
A Modern Ballet Interpretation Of Sylvia Beautifully Done!
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 02/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Paris Opera Ballet has provided us with a magnificent version of Sylvia danced expertly and warmly by all involved. This was choreographed by John Neumeier and the style is balletic with many modernisms thrown in. The women all dance on pointe and the men in ballet slippers. The music is by Leo Delibes and vividly performed by the National Paris Opera Orchestra. The costumes are interesting but the sets are very plain and simple. I especially liked the large number of long solo adagios for all the principal dancers. There are also many dances of various groupings. A bonus commentary is also provided and it sheds some light on the interpretation of this ballet. They admit it is not exactly self explanatory, so good luck in trying to understand the story, but as they say, think of it as a choreographic poem. I strongly recommend this for lovers of modern ballet and dance, as well as fans of the POB."
Jose Brito | Estoril,Portugal | 02/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While watching this ballet my thoughts brought me a feeling once experienced when I stood contemplating Michelangelo's David in Florence.In fact, mutatis mutandis, Neumeier did through coreography what Michelangelo did through sculpture: giving life,emotions and sensuality to beauty,revealing the essence of the human being,bringing it out from just pure yet soulless perfection.One cannot say it is a neoclassic ballet or a contemporary one.The essence of the steps is classical,the four dancers "étoiles" are true "danseurs nobles" but Neumeier reinvented all in an outstanding mix of sensuality,eroticism,colour and inner human feelings.In my opinion it is certainly a masterpiece made only possible with the involvement of Dupont,Legris,Gillot and Le Riche each of them contributing with intelligence and skill to this great achievement in ballet.Last but not the least,the extremely beautiful, colourful,sensual music of Léo Délibes,under Paul Connely direction."