Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Two Outstanding Modern Ballets By A Great Collaboration.
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 06/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Both of these ballets were performed and recorded in May of 2005, in the Bolshoi Theatre. All the principal dancers are among the finest dancers Russia has to offer, and the standard of all the dancing here is superb(this is one of the points mentioned by Roland Petit in the 43 minutes of interviews with Petit, Tsiskaridze, and Liepa, namely that the standard of ballet has been getting better and better as time goes by).
In the first of these, "Pique Dame", we have a ballet based on a story by Pushkin(the writer, not the ballet dancer!), which is extremely allegorical; basically the idea is that a gambler, Hermann(danced by Nikolay Tsiskaridze), wants the Countess(danced by Ilze Liepa) to tell him the future outcomes of some game of chance involving playing cards(that should give you a clue as to what concept the Countess represents). She does not want to tell him and he has to force her. She gives him a few good calls but he gets greedy and it does not end well for him. Does this plot sound a bit thin to you?(We are told in the interviews that this story is quite different from that of the opera of the same name.) Some Pushkin fans might really love this story, but it leaves me a bit wanting, but ballet stories often do, and fortunately we have the great choreography to hold our attention. As for the choreography, it is mostly classical ballet, but the part of the Countess has a very modern edge--her part is not even on pointe, but it is extremely expressive and interesting. The part of Hermann is very classical, and, not suprisingly, it pushes the envelope of possibilities. The music is about as good as it gets: Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony(Pathetique), which does a great job in stirring the souls of the Bolshoi dancers.
In the second ballet, "Passacaglia", we don't have to worry about the story because there is none--it is an abstract ballet. The choreography is completely classical and the women dance on pointe with plenty of solos and pas de deux. It is quite gorgeous! The only problem some of you might have is with the music-- the Passacaglia by Anton Webern(Igor Stravinsky's favorite composer!). When Webern was starting out in the business, he actually wrote romantic music, somewhat like Tchaikovsky, but he soon realized the error of his ways and became a student of Arnold Schoenberg and became a proponent of the twelve tone system. His music is among the most difficult for the average listener to understand and appreciate. It takes many hours of dedicated listening(and some studying doesn't hurt!) to realize the beauty of his music. Fortunately, "Passacaglia" was one of the first twelve tone pieces he wrote and it still possesses a lyrical, romantic tinge. If you are willing to endure this music, you will find it rewarding in the end."