Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Glory of the Bolshoi / Vladimir Vasiliev Galina Ulanova Irek Mukhamedov more|
Actor: Bolshoi Ballet
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
The Bolshoi Ballet?s first tours abroad in the mid-20th century revealed the classic Bolshoi style ? a thrilling athleticism that never lost the essential beauty of the dance. This fascinating footage of many of the compan... more »
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Bravo Bolshoi! Russian Genius at its Most Powerful
V. Stasov | 07/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD has a number of precious moments that make it a great bargain of memorable treasures. I only paid about $7 for it brand new - just look under the 'used' listings and you'll find new, budget copies.
There are some selections that are so superb I've been compelled to watch them over and over. Among these are Moszkowski Waltz, Ribbon Dance, and Shuraleh. While the selections aren't in chronological order, nor are there any commentaries at all, you do get the opportunity to view some of the greatest artists the Bolshoi produced. The producers of the DVD for some reason stuffed it with a number of items that have already been released and have been long available, but some tidbits are new and delicious. I highly recommend this DVD for those who appreciate great, historic dance.
The selections are:
1. Les Sylphides 1952 Galina Ulanova, Vladimir Preobrazhensky Choreography by Fokine to Chopin's music.
A rare opportunity to see Ulanova, graceful, light, airy, and as ever, with a beautiful finish to her dancing.
2. Moments Musicale 1913 Ekaterina Geltzer, Vasily Tikhomirov. Unknown choreographer, Franz Schubert.
Geltzer was the first ballet dancer granted "The People's Artist of Russia". Tikhomirov looks more like a basso profundo than a dancer: a big, jolly looking man. A silent clip set to music.
3. Moszkovski Waltz 1940 Choreograpy Vasili Vainonen, music by Moritz Moszkovski. Olga Lepeshinskaya and Pyotr Gusev.
This is one of my favorites. The dancers are so athletic, graceful and charismatic, with such death defying leaps that they have to be seen to be believed. Unforgettable warmth and exceptional skill, even for the Bolshoi. Astonishing.
4. White Swan Pas de deux 1946 Tchaikovsky, Ivanov. Marina Semenova and Yuri Kondratov.
Born in 1908 and still living at the time of this writing, Semenova was the first Vaganova trained and the first Soviet trained prima ballerina. She dances with her eyes closed, almost seeming like she's blind or in a trance. The little swans have a bit of a hard time in the background, but you hardly notice because Semenova is so hypnotic.
5. Sections from Black Swan Pas de deux 1947 Tchaikovksy, Petipa.
Maya Plisetskaya's debut performance! Her joy, exceptional exuberance and magnetism are all in place. If only we had the entire performance...
6. Ribbon Dance 1940 Gliere, Messerer and Laschulin. Asaf Messerer.
Another phenomenal performance - by Maya's uncle. Messerer was a huge influence on the Bolshoi style. Here, his athleticism, charisma and creativity are all evident. Mind boggling skill.
7. Boston Waltz 1934 From the film "Nastenka Ustinova" Marina Semenova.
A night club dance, taken out of context, so it's hard to know why it was included with some of these other spectacular selections, unless it's a rare opportunity to see this great ballerina. Her body is very muscular and almost chunky, like Messerer's. Her hands are beautiful.
8. Nutcracker Pas de trois 1953 Tchaikovsky, Vainonen. Alla Mankevich, Ekaterina Maximova, Vladimir Vasiliev.
Maximova is only 14! She is so adorable- you can already see the sparkle and charm that would make her one of the Soviet era's greatest ballerinas. Vasiliev is only 13 but already a big, handsome boy!
9. The Nutcracker Sugar Plum Fairy solo 1958 Tchaikovsky, Ivanov. Ekaterina Maximova.
She's 19 years old here, leggy and beautiful. You can see that the body ideal is changing from the more muscular type to the lean, long look that became dominant. Radiant!
10. Selections of solos from Le Corsaire, Laurentia, Don Quixote 1960s. Drigo, Krein, Minkus, Petipa, Chabukiani. Maximova, Vasiliev.
One of the great things about historic Soviet ballet is the conducting of the orchestra. The dancers have something to respond to. Today a lot of the conducting I hear in ballet is on the flaccid side, but never at the old Bolshoi. These are dancers with tremendous personality and technique.
11. Spartacus extracts 1968 premiere Khatchaturian, Grigorovich Maximova, Liepa, Vasiliev; 1984 Bessmertnova, Gabovich, Mukhamedov.
Vasiliev and Maximova have tremendous theatrical skills and are far more exciting than Mukhamedov and Bessmertnova. I don't know why the latter were added here when I'm pretty sure this performance is available on another DVD. They shift between the two performances back and forth in an irritating way to compare/contrast. The later performance is embarrassingly meager next to the theatric and dancing gifts of the beautiful Maximova and her glorious, leonine husband.
12. Shuraleh 1955 Yarullin, Jacobson, Maya Plisetskaya, Yuri Kondratov
This is another shimmering gem of this collection. Young Maya is hard to find, and here she is like a sculpture come to life. The choreography is stunning, the music is lovely, but it's Maya who imbues this ballet with such soul, grace and magnetism that you'll fall in love with her if you already haven't.
13. Etude Robert Schumann choreographer unknown 1951 Galina Ulanova, Yuri Kondratov
Another rare chance to see the ethereal Ulanova. It would be several years later that she would dance in the immortal film Romeo and Juliet, where her dance and theatrical gifts are displayed in all their glory.
14. The Fountain of Bakhshiserai extracts 1953 Asafiev, Zakharov. Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Peter Gusev, Yuri Zhdanov
It was in really poor taste to put this and the next several selections on this DVD, when they have been available elsewhere for quite some time. However, if you haven't seen this on the Stars of the Russian Ballet DVD then you'll be quite happy to have the chance to experience some of this momentous ballet. This is the only time Plisetskaya and Ulanova were filmed dancing together, and they are magnificent. Chocolate and oh so rich Vanilla, these goddesses of the dance are remarkable here. Gusev appears earlier in the Moszkowski Waltz. I think this is some of the greatest dancing ever to have been captured on film. Zhdanov would be Ulanova's Romeo in her later film. Zhdanov is a little bit of a nebbish compared to the other men on this DVD. If you like this, I highly recommend Stars of the Russian Ballet.
15. Flames of Paris 1953 Asafiev, Vainonin, Vakhtang Chabukiani, Musa Gottlieb
Also available on Stars of the Russian Ballet, this is a chance to see the legendary Georgian Chabukiani, one of the greatest dancers in history. There are very few records of his dancing. A power dancer, he burns up the stage with his turns. Gottlieb is a lovely, graceful dancer whose elegance and strength make me wonder why I have not seen her before. This is "An Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" competition between Chabukiani and Gottlieb. Splendid!
16. Ravel Waltzes 1964 Ravel, Lavrovksy, Bessmertnova, Lavrovsky
I found this to be pretty boring fluff, but Lavrovksy is a tremendous dancer and his last jump was thrilling. He's on the great budget Giselle with Bessmertnova.
17. Paganini 1964 Rachmaninov, Lavrovsky, Maximova, Sekh
Great dancers, horrific choreography. But you can't really tell because you only have to endure a few moments of this stupid ballet, more of which can be seen on the wretched Bolshoi '67.
18. The Little Humpbacked Horse 1964 Schedrin Radunsky, Plisetskaya, Vasiliev
Another excerpt from a previously released DVD. This is a wonderful fairy tale ballet featuring Maya at her loveliest. Her husband composed the score with her in mind. Here you can see her fouettes that you might have missed in her 1957 Swan Lake."
For Whom to Recommend This?
drkhimxz | Freehold, NJ, USA | 11/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The one review so far written covers thoroughly and favorably the disc. Obviously a devoted follower of ballet. For those who are only occasional viewers for love of dance, I do not know that these historical excerpts as a whole are going to be satisfying. Some are startlingly good, Spartacus, for example, though still abbreviated, others are simply a glance, hardly sufficient to get involved. The 1913 excerpt,quite close to the start of the DVD, may drive you away from watching the rest. No doubt of historic value, but without even the artifice of professional move makers of the period, without color, it comes through, pretty much like a circus strong man and a Mack Sennet bathing beauty playing cutesy on a small stage. No fault of the dancers but, like a 1913 recording of the greatest of sopranos, it leaves very much to the imagination of the contemporary viewer.
Of course, if you can get it for net $7-, if you have not yet been stimulated to buy more complete DVD's of the Bolshoi, then this is one choice to see what you might be missing."