Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|La Fille Mal Gardee|
Actors: Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuez, William Tuckett, Jonathan Howells
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
This sunny charming performance is finally on video!
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 07/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I reviewed the Collier/Coleman performance of Fille mal Gardee from the 1980s, I expressed a wish that he 2005 performance of Fille would be made available on dvd, since I find it to be, all things considered, the superior performance. Well a couple years later, I got my wish! In my opinion, this telecast, starring Marianela Nunez and Carlos Acosta, is THE performance to get of Frederick Ashton's rustic charmer.
Marianela Nunez was only 23 when this performance was filmed, and considered a rising star. Since then she has become one of the Royal Ballet's prima ballerinas. It's easy to see why her rise was so meteoric. Joy is the best word to describe her dancing. With her blond hair, huge smile, and elegant port-te-bras, she's the ideal Lise. She's the right mix of girlishness, mischief, and pure fun. She effectively pulls off the mime, which was handtaught from Tamara Karsavina to Frederick Ashton. She's the rare modern dancer that can dance the fast footwork Ashton favored, including tricky diagonal hops on pointe. Carlos Acosta, the Cuban superstar, is sunny and boyish as Colas. I love the gusto with which he does jumping jacks in one scene. Both of them are known as prodigious technicians, but in this ballet they don't go for fireworks. Instead, they let the quiet charm of Ashton's choreography speak for itself. More importantly, they have the all-elusive chemistry needed for this ballet. Their lifts seem a spontaneous expression of young love. In the cats cradle duet the ribbons are tied and untied, twirled and untwirled, without a hitch.
As for Ashton's choreography, if your idea of classical ballet is Swan Lake or Balanchine's Apollo, you might not enjoy Fille. It has the air of an English rustic comedy. Charm and humor are the words inevitably used to describe it. It starts with a chicken dance, an includes a famous in travesti clog dance by Widow Simone, Lise's mother. Lise's dimwitted suitor Alain dances with his umbrella. The most celebrated choreography is probably the enchanting "cat's cradle" duet between Lise and Colas. Ribbons are a recurring theme -- Lise is first seen dancing to ribbons, Lise and Colas express their love through a dance of ribbons, Lise and Colas dance with the villagers holding up two sets of revolving ribbons, the villagers' happy maypole dance is interrupted by a storm. Besides being visually appealing, the ribbons are a good dramatic device. It gives a sense of love, connection and harmony between the characters. I find it all very charming. The score is a mishmash of different tunes pieced together by John Lanchberry. Opera buffs will detect several famous operatic melodies sprinkled throughout the score, including the Barber of Seville.
Part of the reason I love this video so much is that the sets, costumes, and video quality are all superior to the earlier video. I also prefer the Nunez/Acosta pairing to Collier/Coleman. If you want something lighthearted, fun, but with enough choreographic substance to be considered a real ballet and not just "fluff," this video of "Fille" is perfect."
Highly recommended and very enjoyable
Barry J. James | Honolulu, Hawaii United States | 08/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD was one of the recommendations that Amazon had for me. I think I might have heard of the work previously, but I had no idea what it was about. After reading the review by Ms. Ivy Linn I decided that I would take a chance and buy it. I am so glad I did. As an Opus DVD from the BBC of a work performed at the Royal Opera House and directed by Ross MacGibbon the quality of audio and video is assured and there is very little that I need to add to the other review.
What I was not prepared for, was the wonderful colors of the costumes and the slightly cartoon nature of Osbert Lancaster's sets. The color and lighting of the storm following the maypole dance are particularly effective. The music, pieced together from a number of popular composer's works, is very pleasant and full of joy. The aria from Barber of Seville was immediately recognizable but, although the booklet included refers to tunes from Donizetti and Ignaz Pleyel, these were not known to me. This is a very light-hearted ballet with excellent dancing and miming from the two principals, Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nuñez, and a spirited clog dance from William Tucket in pantomime drag as the Widow Simone.
Very highly recommended for both young children and balletomanes alike.
Martin Smith | Northborough, MA USA | 12/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For folks who are not familiar with this ballet, it's a romantic comedy. The plot is simple. Girl loves poor farm hand. Widowed mother wants her to marry the doltish son of a neighbor. True loves wins out. I saw this production in London about 2 1/2 years ago. This DVD helped me relive wonderful memories. Frederick Ashton did the choreography, and is a genius. One of his innovations is a comic clog dance by the heroine's mother who is portrayed by a 6'6" male dancer. The dancing is superb. The costumes are colorful. The music is lush. The story is easy to follow, and the "scenario" feature answers questions you might have about the plot. My 4-year grand-niece has just started ballet lessons, and I'm buying her a copy. Don't miss the beginning of the video. The camera pans around the theater to show you the beautiful interior of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden."
Sunny and Wonderful
CWJ | Owings Mills, MD United States | 11/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I echo the good reviews of this performance. I have both Royal Ballet versions and, while the earlier one is good, this is great. Nunez, Acosta, Tuckett and Howells all bring great skill to their roles but I think this version has more humor.
I always appreciate Ashton's choreography but I do think that this is his shining star. It may have a French title and be set in the French countryside but it is all English - down to the Lancashire clog dance.
I have friends who are not ballet fans who love this ballet - and it's hard not to with the dancing cockrell and his hens, the maypole, the wonderful use of ribbons throughout the ballet, the colorful costumes and cartoon-like background - and there's that clog dance.