Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Glazunov Raymonda |
Actors: Sergei Berezhnoi, Irina Kolpakova, Gennady Selyutsky, Kirov Ballet
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
Forget the dowdy costumes and sets and enjoy the dancing
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 05/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Raymonda" is a ballet that is not very well-known to the casual balletomane. It is still popular in Russia and there have been intermittent revivals in the West (Rudolf Nureyev revived the ballet several times after he defected). But overall it's never become an iconic ballet the way Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty has. I think this is mostly because of the very weak storyline. It involves a Hungarian princess, and two suitors -- one good, one bad, and something with the Crusades and ... oh forget it, it's just an excuse for some lovely, refined dancing. The score, by Alexander Glazunov, is lovely and tuneful but not really very dramatic.
This telecast, performed by the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet from around 1980 is my favorite Raymonda on video. This despite the grainy video, the rather ill-fitting costumes, and the flat out ugly sets that seem to flap in the background. The reason is the dancing of Irina Kolpakova in the title role. Kolpakova was no spring chicken when this was filmed (she was one of the last students of Agrippina Vaganova, and joined the Kirov in 1952), but all the things she was praised for throughout her career can be seen in abundance on this video. Charm, style, refinement, are all there from her opening solo to the famous "clapping" variation in the last act. Her port-te-bras is textbook perfect, and even at this late stage she still has a beautifully airy jump and a quickness of movement that gives the sometimes lugubrious ballet a joyful energy. She doesn't have to act the part of the young naive Hungarian princess -- she lets her dancing speak for itself. I remember Arlene Croce once saying about a few older ballerinas (and including Kolpakova in the group) that she "danced less but gave more." This is a performance to treasure.
Unfortunately, the men are not up to Kolpakova's level. The Kirov by the late 1970s had suffered terrible blows in the defections of Baryshnikov and Makarova, and the suicide of Yuri Soloviev. Sergei Berezhnoi and Gennady Selutsky are perfectly respectable but also unmemorable. Unlike Kolpakova, whose dancing personifies refinement, there's something a bit routine, rote, and even clunky about the dancing of the men. Abderakhman's costume has to be seen to be believed. Unfortunaely VAI does not document any of the other soloists."
Grainy but Great
Satish Kamath | 04/02/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Believe me, one of the clearest parts of this DVD is the cover (sic!). Even so, it is a class above the Bessmertnova version. I am not going to compare the technique of the two, or for that matter that of Plisetskaya. Each can stand on a podium specially built for them.
I again appeal to the powers that be, to take some time off and re-master this version into something clearer. If someone could do it for a film on Bolshoi Ballet of 1960s recording,I am sure this one would be worth it.
I think this ballet is popular with only a select set of Balletomanes. That may be because, it is not performed too often outside Russia (correct me if I am wrong).The storyline/techniques/execution/choreography are all one hell of a cliché. Most people who frequent the ballet have a surfeit of this kind of an execution with the goody goody princes and heroines and villains and fairies and dream sequences that there is nothing really new visually or otherwise if one goes by the Tchaikovsky trilogy and similar types of ballet formats.
Another reason is that Glazunov as a composer is yet to achieve the greatness in the ears of the music loving public that he deserves. Glazunov is no second-rate Tchaikovsky. In fact, the depth and coherence in his music according to me (brickbats welcome), go one step beyond Tchaikovsky and his other senior contemporaries. Glazunov's music demands time to be invested, but once that has been done, his music is pure treasure to say the least. I have been familiar with the ballet music of Glazunov long before I could get to see Raymonda on the screen. Incidentally, I wonder when someone is going to bring out a version of his Scenes from a Ballet Op.52, that was danced very regularly by Diaghilev's company. (I would suggest that the reader of this download that bit of music from somewhere and listen to it)
I think this ballet even in this grainy version would become far more enjoyable if people were to get to know the music of Glazunov a bit better, preferably before buying this DVD. It is far dreamier a piece than one would expect even from Glazunov.
I also know that there now exist other clearer productions of this ballet that are available. I am yet to see any of them, but all the same, I feel that this would be a great item in any ballet lover's library, thanks to say the least to Kolpakova."
A common man'spoint of view.
Richard Rawls | Dublin Ga USA | 11/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had viewed Raymonda several times w/o becoming enamored by it like I was with Coppelia and Firebird for instance. However, when I learned that it was one of Maya Plisetskaya's favorite ballets,.....Maya Plisetskaya - Diva of Dance.....and heard her hum one of her favorite tunes from it, I became more interested and started paying better attention.
Raymonda, it turns out is full of beautiful melodies, but again, you have to pay attention. I wish I had a copy with Maya Plisetskaya, but wishing doesn't get the
shortsighted hierarchy at the Bolshoi to scrounge up a forgotten film or tape and release it to the public, does it? So, we will have to be satisfied with what IS available. To be honest, what we have in this case isn't all that bad. Irina Kolpakova in fact, is a very beautiful Raymonda. Her dancing may not be quite as dynamic as Plisetskaya's, but she is very close. By the way, Plisetskaya mentions Kolpakova affectionately in her autobiography, "I, Maya Plisetskaya", a very good read. Get it. Read it....I, Maya Plisetskaya.... Learn how the "polidioticrats" in the Soviet Union treated one of the greatest Prima Ballerina Assolutas who ever lived.
Ramonda's main shortcoming as a ballet is it's libretto, not a very compelling story line, but then, lots of ballets are weak in that department. Look at Don Quixote, for instance, yet DQ is a fabulous ballet because it is so much fun. Abderakhman, the Saracen prince, brings some very good dancing troupes to the stage to try to impress Raymonda, but he is successful only in entertaining US because Raymonda is not the least bit impressed. So he resorts to force, but the hero Jean De Brienne arrives just in time to save Ramonda from having to convert to Islam. Everyone, except Abderakhman and his entourage, live happily ever after. But, Raymonda may not have been very happy about bouncing off ole Jean De Brienne's hip as he carries her off to their honeymoon. Hey, it's a good ballet because of the DANCING...Richard."