Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gala Tribute to Tchaikovsky / Kiri Te Kanawa Placido Domingo Irek Mukhamedov Darcey Bussell Royal Opera House|
Actors: Darcey Bussell, Placido Domingo, Vivianna Durante, Irek Mukhamedov
Director: Brian Large
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Covent Garden Pioneer — Gala Tribute to Tchaikovsky — Gala Performance to honor Tchaikovsky on the centenary of his death.Kiri Te Kanawa, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Paata Burchuladze, Placido Domingo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Darcey Bu... more »
Entertaining concert with some odd program choices-
Todd Nolan | Seattle, WA USA | 08/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since this 1993 concert recording is only now being released in the US & Canada, there must have been copyright/contract problems for one or more of the artists involved. To mark the disparity in length of career, singers Te Kanawa, Domingo, Hvorostovsky & others are still performing (infrequently for the semi-retired Te Kanawa), while the Royal Ballet dancers featured have either retired and/or gone on to teaching (except for Leanne Benjamin, still a principal with the company). Darcey Bussell, Lesley Collier & Viviana Durante, the prima ballerinas when this was recorded, have been replaced by Alina Cojocaru, Marianela Nunez, Tamara Rojo and Miyako Yoshida.
This gala tribute was for the centenary of Tchaikovsky's death in 1893. It includes some of his most popular pieces, both arias from the operas and dance excerpts from the ballets. But for some reason they also included music by other composers, and its hard to fathom why these were considered better choices than Tchaikovsky's own music. Its not as if they didn't have enough music by Tchaikovsky to choose from. Instead of arias from Rachmaninoff's ALEKO and Rimsky's SADKO they could have selected bits from Tchaikovsky's MAID OF ORLEANS, MAZEPPA or THE LITTLE RED SLIPPERS. It also would have been worth considering choral selections, like his rousing MOSCOW cantata or his haunting ST.JOHN LITURGY.
For the dancing, to have Bussell, Collier, Benjamin & Durante together in one evening is worth any price of admission. But the inclusion of part of Kenneth MacMillan's ANASTASIA, set to the same 3rd symphony that Balanchine used for the finale of JEWELS, was also an odd programming choice, in my opinion. I think most ballet fans would have preferred the gorgeous THEME & VARIATIONS of Balanchine to Tchaikovsky's 3rd Suite finale, much more in the celebratory nature of a tribute concert I would think. But others may enjoy the novelty of the little known MacMillan piece. The dancing in it is certainly beautiful, with Viviana Durante in a sweet pas de deux.
My disappointment in some of the selections will hopefully not be shared by others, which is all to the good since this is a couple of hours of beautiful music and incredible dancing that's an easy recommendation to classical music fans, and a must-have for ballet fans, even if they already have these former Royal Ballet dancers in videos/DVDs of Tchaikovsky's ballets. And it was a real treat to see that a selection of the neglected opera IOLANTA was included, sung wonderfully by Paata Burchuladze. But I can't help but feel that this DVD could have been even better if it went all-Tchaikovsky, all the time...(You'll notice track listings are given in the product information. This is very helpful, wish it was done in every case for miscellaneous, varied concerts like this)."
A Pleasant Surprise
R. C. Trimmer | Colorado, USA | 06/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this disc by searching for "Sylvie Guillem." For some reason, Sylvie's name appears in the cast list, even though she does not perform in this production. This caused me some initial disappointment. I am posting this review so that others will not be misled, and to evaluate the disc on it's merits.
In his amusing little guidebook, "Bluff your way in Ballet," Craig Dodd offers the following definitions:
Gala evening: Odds and ends of ballets the company couldn't make a regular evening of.
Royal gala: As above, but at higher prices and graced by a minor royal.
These definitions do not apply in this case (although Prince Charles does appear on screen for about 3 seconds). As one might guess from the title, the program concentrates on Tchaikovsky, with a couple of other Russians (Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov) and an Italian (Puccini) mixed in. The program is about half ballet and half orchestral music and opera pieces.
The ballet pieces are not odds and ends, but excerpts from major works, such as The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. One piece is presented by the Royal Ballet's Corps de Ballet; the others by four teams of principal dancers: Darcey Bussell/Zoltan Solymosi, Leanne Benjamin/Tetsuya Kumakawa, Viviana Durante/Bruce Sampson, and Lesley Collier/Irek Mukhamedov. The excerpts are performed in costume, but without sets or supporting cast; the dancers are alone on a bare stage. A family trio (man, woman, daughter) also dance in a presentation of the 1812 Overture, conducted by Placido Domingo. The four teams of principals also perform together in the finale.
If I had known these things beforehand, I would not have bought this disc. The nineteenth century story ballets are a principal interest of mine, and I would not expect presentations of this kind to satisfy me, but, surprisingly, I find that I enjoy them very much. Much of the time, the two partners fill the screen, and I have seen things in these performances that I never noticed during a full-length production. The ballerinas are lovely, and it is a treat to see them up close; their radiant smiles, and quick, subtle moves and gestures. For someone new to ballet, these excerpts might serve as a useful introduction.
Serious balletomanes may scoff at all this, and serious music lovers might scoff at the whole production, but I cannot afford to be so jaded. We don't see much live music or ballet in Colorado Springs. We have, of course, the annual traveling production of The Nutcracker by some second-tier company; when a competent ballerina delivers twelve fouettes without falling over, the crowd goes wild. So I rely heavily on recordings of concerts, operas, and ballet. And, seriously, there isn't a great deal of footage available of any principal dancer, so even these brief passages by Darcey Bussell, Viviana Durante, and the others, are worth having.
Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa each deliver a couple of vocal pieces, and there are others as well. A solo piece by a bass-baritone may not sound very appealing. You may get used to them, or you can easily skip them.
All things considered, I am happy to have this disc in my collection."
A Great Concert!
operamarty | 03/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love great classical music, great opera voices and ballet this concert is sure to be one of your favorite discs!!! Recommended extremely excellent!!! A must for your collection, Kiri's Rach.'s Vocalise is worth the price of the disc.!!!"