Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky - The Sleeping Beauty / Aurelie Dupont Manuel Legris Vincent Cordier Nathalie Quernet Laurent Queval Paris Opera Ballet|
Actors: Tchaikovsky, Opera Bastille, Rudolph Nureyev, Petipa
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Choreographed and staged by Rudolf Nureyev after Marius Petipa. Restaged by Patricia Ruanne The Sleeping Beauty remains, as Rudolf Nureyev often called it, the ?ballet of ballets?. It is ... more »
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A real Beauty, but with some reservations
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 05/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This production of Sleeping Beauty is in many ways very, very beautiful. First, the costumes and the sets. No expense was spared -- the whole production is truly wonderful to look at. The sets are colorful, lavish, and they really seem to replicate a royal court. The costums were impeccable -- stylish, elegant, and eyecatching. In the Vision Scene the corps wear lovely green tutus to symbolize the forest background. I thought it was beautiful. The only thing I object to is the ubiquitous white powder wigs in Aurora's Wedding. I know it's supposed to mirror the styles of the French royalty, but the wigs are still hideous.
The Paris Opera Ballet corps are also at their usual high level. They don't have the wonderful softness or grace of the Kirov corps, but they have that diamond-sharp precison that always takes my breath away. And their positions are always textbook perfect. As for the individual dancers, the quality of dancing is very high indeed. Not perfect though. The Fifth Variation Fairy for some reason becomes sort of sloppy, and seems to be a beat behind the music, which is really distracting because of the staccato arm movements which accompany the music. Manuel Legris as Prince Desire is an excellent technician (watch his pirouettes!) but for some reason he doesnt click with me as well as some of the other POB etoiles, like Nicholas LeRiche or Laurent Hilaire. Oh well. It's not Legris' fault, it's purely personal preference on my part. Aurelie Dupont as Aurora certainly is a beautiful classical dancer, in every way. She alone is worth the price of the dvd. Her Rose Adagio balances are excellent -- no wobbling whatsoever. She is one of the few Auroras who I'd say is equally great in the Rose Adagio, the Vision Scene, and the Wedding. Her regal bearing and sense of classical line, as well as her beauty, make her an almost ideal Aurora. I have only one (small) complaint: in the Wedding pas de deux, the famous fishdives look a bit cautious and thus don't have the "snap" that the best of them can have.
Nureyev's choreography is also in many ways very very good. A couple years ago the Kirov presented a "reconstructed" Sleeping Beauty that followed to the letter Petipa's notations for the 1890 production. That is a fascinating production, as it shows what was originally Petipa, and what's been added over the years. Nureyev's Sleeping Beauty, like most productions, is a mix of Petipa and post-Petipa. He has retained the original mime (especially from Carabosse and the Lilac Fairy) that the Soviet productions eschew. As a result Carabosse during the Prelude doesn't run around like a crazed lunatic, as she does in Soviet productions. Instead, she mimes Aurora's finger-pricking fate, which I find much more dramatically effective. Nureyev has also retained the fishdives during the Prince/Aurora wedding pas de deux that the Diaghilev added in the Ballet Russes' famed 1921 production of the Sleeping Beauty. I always love the fishdives, even if they weren't Petipa's idea. However, Nureyev follows the Soviet tradition of naming the Prince "Desire" instead of "Florimund." I've never understood the difference in names -- it's sort of like "Clara" vs. "Marie" in Nutcrackers. And always quirky, Nureyev added his own touches to the story. There's a nice comic moment for Carabosse -- when she comes onstage she rips the wig off a court attendant, exposing his bald head. Also, before Act 1, we can see a bunch of poor seamstresses being strongarmed into giving up their spindles and needles.
But Nureyev also made one change that I didn't like at all: he drastically reduced the role of the Lilac Fairy. It's ok (and historically accurate) that he makes the Lilac Fairy a non-dancing/mime role -- the Kirov's 1890 reconstruction has the Lilac Fairy as primarily a mime role. When the Lilac Fairy was on pointe traditionally she danced the sixth fairy variation in the Prologue. The traditional, famous Lilac Fairy variation (pirouette, developpe, pirouette again, developpe, and so on) in the prologue was a post-Petipa insertion, as it's nowhere to be found in the Kirov reconstruction. There is a sixth fairy variation, but that variation is much simpler than the "traditional" variation. Nureyev, however, gives the pirouette/developpe variation to the sixth fairy (Marie Agnes Gillot), who performs it with aplomb. Again, a mix of Petipa and post-Petipa.
But what really annoyed me is in Act 2, usually the Lilac Fairy guides the Prince and creates the vision of Aurora (the Vision Scene). Then the Lilac Fairy leads the Prince to the actual Aurora, accompanied by the Panorama music, which is some of the most beautiful music Tchaikovsky ever wrote. Well, Nureyev takes the away much of the Lilac Fairy's steps and instead has inserted into this music a very long (and IMO pointless) solo for Prince Desire, that uses the Panorama music. I can understand why he'd want to do this -- Nureyv always wanted to strengthen the male roles in ballets. But IMO the solo is way too long (a whole 7 minutes) and adds nothing to the story. It simply seems to be a showcase for the Prince. This is in contrast to the now very standard solo for Siegfried at the end of Act 1 in Swan Lake. That solo usually conveys Siegfried's ennui, which leads him to the lake. But this Sleeping Beauty solo -- what's the point? Manuel Legris (Prince Desire) dances well enough, but even he doesn't seem to understand the point of the solo. His face has this totally blank look, as if he was concentrating on remembering the steps. By concentrating so much on the solo, Nureyev reduces the importance of the Lilac Fairy, because we're so busy watching the pointless solo. So in this version, Prince sees Lilac for a minute, does a long dance, and then out come the corps and Aurora for the "Vision" scene. No sense of the Lilac Fairy guiding the Prince towards the Vision. The Lilac Fairy is in my opinion the most important character of the ballet -- it is her intervention that saves Aurora. She is the moral beacon in this triumph of good over evil. Nureyev, in his eagerness to give the Prince more dancing, undermines the overall life-affirming spirit of the Lilac Fairy, and also disturbs the musical patterns of this most symphonic ballet.
Another thing bugs: Nureyev eliminated the Little Red Riding Hood divertissement from Aurora's wedding. But this doesn't annoy me nearly as much as the gratuitous solo for Desire. The solo doesn't annoy me so much that I don't want to watch the ballet, but it does merit a one star deduction in an otherwise beautiful production."
The Finest Sleeping Beauty To Date On DVD!
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 07/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here we have Nureyev's wonderful concept of Sleeping Beauty utilizing the awesome intensity of classical ballet technique as it exists today, something Petipa did not have available to him. This is quite a long, complete Sleeping Beauty with very few cuts and plenty of additions. One of the most significant of these additions is the long adagio danced by the Prince in the second act. The Prince shows us that he is sad by refusing to go hunting with his friends as well as declining to go riding with the women. He tells the Lilac Fairy that he has been crying because he has no one to give his heart to. When she informs him that she has just the Princess for him, he expresses his wonderment and excitement of what awaits him by dancing this fantastic adagio(notice the great similarity with similar emotions at the end af act one of Swan Lake with another adagio serving a similar purpose). It is very appropriate to include this solo, since the Princess has many long solos and we need to see emotion expressed through dance since this is a ballet! This is far better than the Petipa idea of having the Prince mostly walk around in the second act(in his day, male dancers could do little else!). All the dancers, both principals and the corps, dance magnificently with razor sharp technique and expressiveness. The acting and mime are also faultless. the sets and costumes are very colorful and exciting, as you would expect from the POB. This DVD is preceeded by another POB Sleeping Beauty documentary DVD(which I have also reviewed) with Platel as the Princess and Legris as the Prince, which is an excellent adjunct to this performance.
The quality of the DVD transfer is superb with wide screen video and Dolby 2.0 stereo sound."
VIVE LA REINE!
Michael Fraydon | 08/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Working within a given system an interpreter has the prerogative to insert, or omit, various sections so long as this does not interfere with the integrity of the work as a whole, rather further illuminate its underlying Intention and Potential. By this I mean that Nureyev, having meticulously adhered to the stylistic coherency of the work, allowed his imagination to run free and wild in this absolutely enchanting production of Petipa's master-work.
Long and fruitful has been the rapport between the French and Russian Traditions. The tale of the Sleeping Beauty, by the 17th century auther Charles Perrault was written at a time in history regarded by the French as "Le Grand Siecle". The style of the day is rightfully labeled -"Rigueur"- it may be summed up thus: Severity-of-Form aligned with Elegance. Louis XIV insisted that this aesthetic ideal be applied rigorously to all art forms.
Some two hundred years later the French-born Petipa, created a work of unparalleled stylistic purity of form and elegance of manner for the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersbourg, based on the same story. Eighty years later the Russian Nureyev took this notion even further to conceive for the Opera National de Paris a masterpiece of a production that even after 20 years of its creation manages to retain its freshness and relevance in today's swiftly changing world.
Needless to say all aspects of this production are superbly worked-out with meticulous attention to detail. Nureyev proved to be even more fastidious in his undertakings than even the French would have deemed necessary. The general splendor of the décor and costumes is particularly commendable whilst being enhanced by the brilliant nuances of the Lumieres.
The prologue is of particular grandeur with all the good fairies in attendance bearing good wishes. They dance beautifully, with poise and goodness in their demeanor. Ms. Marie Agnes-Gillot dances with crystal-clear precision and luminance yet is still soft and gentle. Each fairy has her style and all perform with much ease and command. For the French the height of the leg extension is of lesser value than the style and bearing used to get it up there. The whole stage is magically lit up by the presence of the entire court wishing the newborn a happy life.
At this point the ceremony is interrupted by a somewhat overwhelming announcement that the vengeful Carabosse is about to appear. She is a beauty fallen from grace. The mime dialogue that will ensue between the two rival Powers - Carabosse and Fee des Lilas - is brief but spellbinding, so watch closely! Both Powers, Good and Evil, appear convincing and of equal depth. Bravo Nureyev!
Hush! Tchaikovsky's music is letting us know that the Divine and unassuming Ms. Aurelie Dupont is about to make her nonchalant entrance as Aurore. She hurries onto the stage with the energy and vivacity of a privileged 16 year old. At once, it is clear: She has lived a happy life; making us all wish that our lives were a fairytale. Needless to say that what I observed from this point on can be summed up with one single word - Beauty. She was the incarnation of it! From this All aspects of her interpretation are uniformly perfect.
"Beauty" is first and foremost a masterpiece of academic stylistic discipline. It represents the pinnacle of the Style "Noble", defining a standard of Pure Form. Any infusion of emotion to the sheer choreographic structural ideal must confine itself to this paradigm. Second to that, the dancer must sparkle within the context of the libretto! (Note that the Great Mr. B, considered this ballet as petipa's masterpeice). Sadly enough many modern choreographers, and dancers, consider the role of Aurore saccharine and effervescent, entirely out of sync. Well, no doubt there are greater issues at hand, this is true, but none of them can be dealt with by performing on stage, even if it is the works of the famous Matz-Ek.
As opposed to other styles of dance, the classical world allows us to dream since it tends towards the Transcendental Ideal. For this, however, we must have great artists. For the performance of the entire Classical repertoire, the Principal is critical.
The vision scene in the second act is of poignant beauty. Petipa's choreography for the corps in this section is splendid with its diagonal symmetry and interweaving effect - it perfectly echoes the music. Plenty of ballottes (they fit perfectly, without seeming heavy), tombes and battements. And of-course the lovely Ms. dupont. Her powers are at their summit here. Gentle, Serene, Unattainable. She is the means through which iridescent visions materialize.
The final act is stupendous! Not only is the grand pas de deux majestically executed by the dazzling etoiles Ms. Dupont and Mr. Legris, but the closure of the production is of monumental proportions. The whole cast ecstatically showcasing the Majesty of the French Tradition. As seen through the eyes of this Uncanny Russian.
Sleeping Beauty - "Ballet of Ballets"
leelee | Chicago, IL | 02/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many fine and thorough reviews on this performance by Paris Opera Ballet. I'll keep mine brief - this is a most excellent interpretation of the greatest of all ballets. The costumes and sets are visually lavish. The primary etoiles - Aurelie DuPont and Manuel Legris are very well paired and both outstanding dancers. I agree with the reviewer that said to "watch his pirouettes". DuPont is both beautiful, serene, and the most perfect "Aurora". Her sense of balance is amazing - no wobbling. One can sense her tremendous athleticism and agility. I highly recommend this performance to anyone regardless of their knowledge or interest in ballet. It's very satisfying."