Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
There's a whiff of the souvenir shop about Kirov Classics, a selection of highlights from the famous ballet company's repertoire. Committed followers will surely prefer to seek out full-length versions of the works present... more »
The Divine Kirov Ballet Perfom Wonderfully
MrLopez2681 | USA | 03/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a film of the Kirov Ballet (or by now the Mariinsky Ballet) of St. Petersburg, Russia performing some of ballets greatest 'short-form' works along with full-length ballet excerpts. This recording was done on stage without an audience, and there are a few sections where I wonder why they didnt do any takes (there are a few sections where the dancers make mistakes, and the camras keep on rolling). The dancers are the finest products of ballet training, being the emodiment of 500 years of ballet evolution. The footage recorded here has also been released as "The Maryinsky Ballet" (on another label I believe and only on VHS).
First, a perfomance of "Les Sylphides" (or "Chopanina" as it is called in Russia) choreographed by Mikhail Fokine to the music of Chopin in an orchestration by Glazunov (done circa 1907), with the divine prima Altinai Assylmuratova leading the cast with her husband Konstantin Zaklinsky. We also have Yelena Pankova perfoming the mazurka with wonderful style. Assylmuratova is one of ballets greatest artists, and her precision in the waltz is ballet at its best - in all seriousness I have never seen (and probably never shall see again) a ballerina dance this variation better. The corps is so wonderfully lyrical in the opening sequence that it might as well be some of the best work by a corps de ballet documented to film. The dancers and the music are ONE, and it almost seems as though some telepathic force is driving them.
Then a short version of the ballet "Petrushka" is next, a masterpeice from the old Ballet Russe and another work of Fokine. It is not done in the more or less traditional sense, for here we have choreography by the Kirov's then artistic director Oleg Vinogradov. He does not do a great job and over condences the multi scene, one act ballet into one short sequence. The corps looks comical running around in odd patterns. The lead dancer, Sergei Vikharev gives it his all, but it is pretty much worth fast-forwarding through this annoying inclusion. (Note- See the film "Paris Dances Diaghilev" for a far better and more authentic performance of this work).
"Barbers Adagio" is another annoyance on this film, although the leading female, Yelena Evteyeva (once a great Kirov prima) turns out to be a pretty entertaining as she does strange stuff with herself via her partner, who on the other hand is merely just a person put in to lift her in weird ways. The dancers who have been coming out of the Mariinsky these days look alot better in this number, with their long limbed hyper-flexibility.
The pas de deux from the ballet "Le Corsaire" is perfomed here by Farukh Ruzimitov and Lubov Kunakova. I have seen both of these dancers do better on film, particularly Ruzimitov, whose flamboyance is a little to much in his variation and in the Grand Coda (his tours en l'air are done with feet that barely pointed!). He has a bad habit of forgetting that there is music playing, leaving the poor conductor to have to adjust. Ruzimitov has been recorded in this peice many times - his performance with Tatiana Terekhova in the film "The Magic of the Kirov", which was recorded about 10 years before ths film was made, is the best performance I have ever seen of the "Le Corsaire Pas de Deux" on film or live - he is far more schooled in this performance (he was only 22 I believe), and his famous flamboyant dancing is pefectly balanced with his technique - an obvious sign of good coaching. Kunakova's performance is not very good (however she makes up for it in Anna Pavlova's 1903 solo from "Le Roi Candaule" in the "Paquita Grand Pas" later in the film). To make matters worse her costume a is a tack-o-rama, looking like a cross between a Shade from the ballet "La Bayadere" and a flamingo. But she is nonetheless charming.
The most entertaining sequence (next to "Paquita") in this film is the pas de trois from the ballet "The Fairy Doll" (to the music of Riccardo Drigo, and not Josef Bayer - the original composer of the full-length"The Fairy Doll"). This piece was originally created for Mathilde Kschessinskaya when she performed in Nikolai and Sergei Legat's revival of "The Fairy Doll" in 1903 at the Mariinsky Theatre. Larissa Lezhnina and her two pierrots for suitors are marvelous. It is some of the best ballet dancing I have ever seen on film, with the Petipa-esque choreography of brothers Legat. Drigo's music is absolutely beautiful and neopolitan, and clearly demonstrates what a shamefully under-rated composer he is.
Next is the Pierre Lacotte restoration of the choreography of Arthur Saint-Leon, complete with Cesare Pugni's wonderfully restored music: the pas de six from "La Vivandare" (or "Markitenka" as it is known in Russia). It is charming and in the romantic style of ballet. Elenea Pankova is a delight.
Finally, the grand pas and pas de trois from the ballet "Paquita". The choreography is credited to Petipa, of course, but has the typical Kirov stamp of Soviet-era revisions. The music of Minkus shines here, along with the usual suite of additional variations by various composers. The soloists and corps are superb, particularly Yulia Makhalina in the lead. Igor Zelensky dances the male lead, with a solo from the Leo Delibes' ballet "La Source".
All in all this film is superb, and has essential recordings in the performances of "Paquita", and "Les Sylphides" (or "Chopiniana") and also the only film of "The Fairy Doll" pas de trois. Along with the great dancing, the music of each work is well recorded and allows for great listening as well! Five stars!
I have recieved quite a few emails from people asking if I can identify the orgins of the "Paquita" variations shown on this film. I have written a review for the CD "La Bayadere and Paquita" with Boris Spassov conducting the Sofia National Opera Orchestra in which I identify all of the said variations."
Must Have DVD
skimid | New York, NY | 11/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent mixed bill program of ballet performed by a strong stable of Kirov dancers who achieved their notariety and acclaim during the late eighties and nineties. The depth of skill and artistry displayed by principals, soloists and corp de ballet alike here on this DVD is quite remarkable and well showcased in a diverse program that ranges from Les Syphlides, Le Corsaire pas de deux and Maritenka pas de six. Also on the DVD are lesser well known but equally well performed ballets of The Fairy Doll and Petruska. The DVD is anchored by a phenomenal performance of Paquita, led by Yulia Mahklina and Igor Zalensky and enhanced by the precision and elegance of other company members as they dance the various solos, pas de trois and ensemble segments of this ballet. The DVD is worth adding to any home collection for this Paquita alone.Each of the performances was not taped before a live audience so the applause and accolades that would otherwise be due to the dancers if they had performed live is absent from the recordings. The scenery for most of the ballets are by and large traditional (except for the Stravinsky piece) and did not detract from the dancers' performances. I find it a pity that there are no bonus materials on the DVD containing any company, ballet or dancer information. Its frustrating enough to only be given the opportunity to see the Kirov perform here in the States only once every few years, but to deny information on dancers or the company in a medium such as a DVD seems to be a wasted opportunity to elevate the Kirov to its rightful place as one of the world's premier ballet companies.The performances portrayed on this DVD will only provide Kirov fans with further ammunition to claim the Kirov as the standard bearer for all other ballet companies. It is an enjoyable DVD that deserves to be watched over and over. Don't miss out and add this to your collection sooner rather than later."
What a feast of dancing!!
Mrs. Hermien Lambrechts | Brooklyn South Africa | 02/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What a feast of dancing! I bought this video because Altynai Assylmuratova is listed as one of the dancers. She is my favourite ballerina - a supreme artist. As it turned out I am very pleased with this video as the dancing is outstanding throughout. I like the camerawork, there are plenty close-ups so that one can see the dancers very clearly. I detract one star rating because of Petrushka. It is not the original ballet but an adaptation by Kirov's artistic director, set in the Perestroika period. I don't care for it. To get to the specifics. Chopiniana (renamed Les Sylphides by Diaghilev when he presented this ballet in Paris for the first time in 1909) is beautifully danced in the style in which it was `written'. Assylmuratova dances the lead in this ballet. Her dancing is pure delight; it is like poetry in motion. Also take note of Anna Kolparikova - a beautiful dancer. I wonder if she does not perhaps exaggerate the style of the ballet, but it is a joy to watch nonetheless. Barbers' Adagio is a pas de deux with both dancers executing movements in sync creating various interesting lines with their limbs.When I saw that le Corsaire was on this video I thought: why again Corsaire? But with Ruzimatov it is a showstopper. He is brilliant in it. His interpretation is exciting, and with such style and pizzaz. His dancing is clear with an excellent technique-I have not seen any other male dancer execute an arabesque like he does. Every time I watch this I am thrilled all over again.Fairy Doll is very daintily danced by Lezhnina, with great jumps and frolicking by the two supporting men. Markitenka. Apart from just reveling in dancers enjoying themselves in the dance, Yelena Pankova once again impressed me with the lightness of her dancing. See her also as Gulinare in the Kirov's production of Le Corsaire. Paquita. Here there are many opportunities for solos dancers to do their stuff. And they do not disappoint. Wonderful dancing by Yuliana Makhalina - another ballerina who moves beautifully - and Zelensky. They make an excellent partnership. Lyubov Kanakova caught my eye, she danced her solo with such feeling - beautiful. Both Chopiniana (Les Sylphide) and Paquita can be seen on "American Ballet Theatre at the Met". I have carefully compared these ballets on both videos and found the Kirov dancers superior at almost every point, especially the soloists. It has not only to do with technique, but with their interpretation and style. When I first watched ABT's Paquita I was bored (and truth be told, with Les Sylphides as well) and was not overly excited with another opportunity to see it on this video. But what a surprise! I think the old adage holds true: they DANCE, filling out the music with their bodies, as opposed to merely doing the steps. Yes, Bujones is a great dancer, but compared to Zelensky - well ... To conclude - if you just want to sit back and enjoy impeccable dancing executed with style and feeling, this is the video to buy."
Great ballet from the Kirov
R. Nicholson | 10/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderful DVD!
This disc is a collection of short ballet vignettes that pays tribute to the Kirov dancers and the magnificent choreography they have been given to perform. The dances range from the traditional to more modern pieces and it is this variety that gives the entire presentation a well rounded, balanced feel ; there is something here for all tastes.
Although all the works on this disc have some special qualities, the following are some of my favorites:
-"Chopiniana" , featuring Altynai Asylmuratova, Konstantin Zaklinsky and the corps de ballet; I wonder if Chopin would have ever believed his music would be the accompaniment for this serene, beautiful dance.
-The surreal, starry setting for Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" seemed a perfect backdrop for Yelena Yevteeva and Eldar Aliev to perform their sensual, almost contortionistic dance.
-"Le Corsaire" features Faroukh Ruzimatov with, as always, his unbelieveable leaps and expressive dancing.
Highlight of the disc:...
Without question, the "The Fairy Doll" with Larissa Lezhnina as the beautiful doll, pursued relentlessly by the two love struck mime-clowns. (performed by Dmitry Gruzdev and Yaroslav Fadayev) This is the comical side of ballet at it's best: the two guys are magnificent as they attempt to outdo each other as they vie for her affection. All three participants of this work show grace, balance, athleticism and an unbelieveable sense of timing that make this difficult performance look simplistically easy.
All in all, a DVD featuring great choreography and top quality dancing by the Kirov. Highly recommended!"