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Lar Lubovitch's Othello / San Francisco Ballet
Lar Lubovitch's Othello / San Francisco Ballet
Actors: Lar Lubovitch, Desmond Richardson
Genres: Drama, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2003     1hr 24min

Modern dance master Lar Lubovitch has created a vibrant new interpretation of Shakespeare's classic tale of passion and jealousy, ambition and betrayal, with his dance in three acts. A compelling synthesis of classical and...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Lar Lubovitch, Desmond Richardson
Genres: Drama, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Drama, Dance, Educational, Classical, Ballet & Dance
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/10/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2001
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

From San Francisco Chronicle
(5 out of 5 stars)

"SF Chronicle: Classic. One of the most thrilling chapters in San Francisco Ballet's history is back in all its glory. Lar Lubovitch's "Othello," with a commissioned score by Academy Award winner Eliot Goldenthal, will be broadcast tonight on PBS' Great Performances and has just been released on DVD by Kultur. Although there is no substitute for witnessing dance live in the theater, this "Othello," directed for television by Matthew Diamond, is more than a souvenir of a great performance. It is a gripping, entertaining home-viewing experience. It stars Desmond Richardson, who created the title role in New York for American Ballet Theatre. San Francisco's Yuan Yuan Tan dances Desdemona, perhaps her greatest role. Parrish Maynard, an Iago in both companies, returns alongside a supporting cast that includes Katita Waldo as Emilia, Gonzalo Garcia as Cassio and Lorena Feijoo as the whore Bianca. Emil de Cou conducts the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra in a performance of Goldenthal's score that makes clear that "Othello" is a gift to American music as well as American dance. Taped live at the War Memorial Opera House in March 2002, "Othello" is a co- production by ABT, San Francisco Ballet and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Premiered by ABT at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1997, "Othello" was revised slightly by Lubovitch and Goldenthal for the 1998 West Coast premiere in San Francisco. The piece grows more fascinating with every cast and every viewing. Turning the Bard's words into movement is a daunting task, and Lubovitch succeeds spectacularly: His "Othello" joins the select company of great Shakespearean dances that includes John Cranko's and Sir Kenneth MacMillan's "Romeo and Juliet," Cranko's "The Taming of the Shrew" and Jose Limon's "The Moor's Pavane." "Othello" is traditional in aiming to enrich the canon rather than reject it. But it is also a radical ballet, both in its negation of fashionable Balanchinean abstraction and in its unembarrassed embrace of the theatrical values of modern dance. Lubovitch's choreography is free of jargon, innocent of the slang of dance that modern dancemakers from Mark Morris to Twyla Tharp might have been tempted to use in trying to make the story contemporary. Lubovitch often simply suggests the plot and assumes that the details are known to the audience, and he plays on that knowledge to dwell on the profounder themes and vivid characters at the heart of Shakespeare's play. Inspired at every step by Goldenthal's unsettling music, Lubovitch achieves archetypal ideals. He explores the universal themes of Shakespeare's tragedy with intensity and clarity, in movement that seems drenched in dramatic truth. The truth is in the dancing. And San Francisco Ballet, from corps to principals, succeeds. Richardson -- who is on Broadway in the Burt Bacharach review "What the World Needs Now" -- is not as winning as San Francisco Ballet's Yuri Possokhov in the title role. But he is still an Othello of tragic stature, an outsider as much to the society around him as to the possibility of happiness. Given the most complex arm phrasing and athletic bravura turns, Richardson seems possessed by the unstoppable momentum of Lubovitch's choreography. Tan's Desdemona is lovely and subtle, daringly so. Embodying the very image of innocence about to be brutalized, she draws on her considerable musicality and virtuosity to bring to life the tragic futility of Desdemona's emotions. The childlike glee of Tan's duets with Garcia's Cassio, the earthy sensuality of Feijoo's seductive tarantella and even the terrifying ebb and flow of the Act 2 seaside ensemble all come off extremely well on the small screen. Only George Tsypin's icy Plexiglas sets suffer in the transition from stage to television -- much as they lost some of their sheer monumentality in their voyage from the Met to the War Memorial. Still, not unlike the dancers, the stage pictures of "Othello" gain a new dimension in front of the camera: an intimacy not easily shared in a large theater. In close-ups such as the desperation in Richardson's mad scenes in the theater, Lubovitch's "Othello" rings true. -- Octavio Roca"
Kilan | San Francisco, CA USA | 01/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I watched this on broadcast TV, and was absolutely blown away. The choreography is amazing, as are the dancers - Yuan Yuan Tan and Desmond Richardson, who created the role of Othello, especially stood out. The ocean ensemble in Act 2 was incredible as well. One thing I have to say though - if you don't know the story already, you won't be able to grasp it from the performance (although it is just as enjoyable). I can't wait to see this performed at the War Memorial!"
Absolutely Spectacular
David Thierry | Chicago, IL United States | 02/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Those who know more about dance can quibble all they want this ballet is a important and solid addition to the repertory. Lar Lubovitch's choreography and staging is extraordinary, complex, pushing the dancers to the utmost of their abilities and what abilities they possess! Many will be challenged to match it let alone surpass this achievement. Anyone who cares about dance and it's future must see it."
Morpheus | New York City | 05/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Lar Lubovitch's OTHELLO is a major achievement in dance, impressively realized by Elliot Goldenthal's intense compostion and the San Francisco Ballet's electrifying performance. Not since Verdi's operatic treatment of this immortal play was it so skillfully interpreted through the poetry of music...and beyond, through the motion of dance. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE for any lover of ballet or of Shakespeare."