Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Hrold - La Fille Mal Garde|
Actors: Valentina Kozlova, Chris Jensen (II), Oto Ris, Werner Henssler, Martin Schläpfer
Directors: Heinz Spoerli, John Lanchbery
Genres: Comedy, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 05/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It can be very difficult to select the best of the ballet greats, but when I think of the greatest ballerinas to ever grace the stage, Valentina Kozlova is at the top of my list! When it comes to technique, her pirouettes, balances, effortless extension, posture, movement, and leaps are as perfect as it ever gets. She is the Baryshnikov of ballerinas! (Currently, she is giving master classes, running a dance company and school in NYC, and making many guest appearances in the USA and throughout the world.) If that weren't enough, the rest of this cast is also incredible, showing amazing technique and artistry. The role of Alain(the young fool) is played by Martin Schlaepfer and his virtuoso comic variation is the most amazing comic ballet solo I have ever seen! This video had been released quite a while ago on vhs, but this dvd transfer is perfect! The sound and image are wonderful with great clarity and depth. This version by Spoerli is extremely challenging and interesting, with state of the art choreography. I much prefer this version to Ashton's. The story is the same as Ashton's. In this version, the part of the mother(played by Otto Ris) includes not only the clog dance, but also a comic dance on pointe(one of the few times we see a man on pointe in classical ballet). This is one of my very favorite ballet performances, and I recommend it to the hilt!"
Wonderful and Captivating Production
Charles Beck | Framingham State College, MA | 08/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"La Fille Mal Gardee (The Unchaperoned Daughter) is one of the most charming and comic ballets ever choreographed. The art critic, John Gruen, describes Fille as "pure poetry in dance" and "almost continuous virtuosic dancing." The constant flow of humorous and romantic situations provides little opportunity for the audience to applaud the bravura and lyrical highlights. After more than 200 years, it remains very popular on the international stage. It helped to make ballet more accessible to the common public.
Heinz Spoerli choreographed this version in 1981 at the Paris Opera. This outstanding production, filmed in Cologne (1986), is performed by his Basle Company. It captures the vitality and youthfulness of farm life in a small French village. The story is based on a determined mother (Madame Simone) who wishes to marry her unwilling daughter (Lise) to a rich landowner's simple-minded son (Alain). Lise and her lover (Colas) find clever ways to outwit and eventually win the blessing of the mother.
The very lovely and gifted Russian ballerina, Valentina Kozlova, performs Lise. After defecting while on tour with the Bolshoi Ballet, she became a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet and the New York City Ballet. Her beautiful lines, graceful extensions, turns, leaps, and pirouettes are mesmerizing. (Unfortunately, this appears to be the only video available of this marvelous dancer.) Whenever Simone is not looking, Lise and Colas perform a series of adagio pas de deuxs that include beautiful lifts, extensions, and spins. In one scene, they use a pair of ribbons to symbolize their unity. The loveliest pas de deux takes place in a pastoral setting on the edge of a wheat field. With sweet, bird-like woodwinds in the background, Lise appears to be floating above the stalks of wheat.
Alain, performed by Martin Schlapfer, is a virtuoso at pantomime and farce, and his remarkable leaps, with legs extended, accent his love for kite flying. Madame Simone (Otto Ris), who is traditionally played by a male, displays skillful and fancy footwork in two dance numbers. His first routine involves a remarkable number of pirouettes, most unusual for a male. In the famous and merry clog routine, Ris displays a skillful tap-like dance. Simply stated, Ris stands tall on pointe and is no clod on clogs. Adding to the merriment, young villagers perform several folk-like harvest dances, including one that surprisingly combines dance and choral singing.
The Royal Ballet DVD of Fille provides a strong production with the outstanding dancing of Collier. It's based on Frederick Ashton's more frequently performed version. My first choice is Spoerli's presentation because it is brimming with youthfulness and vitality, along with superb performances by Kozlova, Ris, and Schlapfer. Spoerli filmed his version, with intimate close-ups, in a studio without an audience. Both DVD's feature very good audio and visual images. Add both versions to your collection, for less than a theater ticket, because you will find both productions highly entertaining!