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Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake [DVD Video]
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
DVD Video
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2008     2hr 21min


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Movie Details

Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Dance, Educational, Classical
Studio: Video Artists Int'l
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/11/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 21min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Plisetskaya's Legacy
Luigi Tchai | Ocala, FL | 04/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was surprised to get a msg from Amazon asking me to write a review for this Swan Lake. Obviously, I must be one of the early buyers and perhaps there has not been a rush of buyers and reviewers. It puzzled me because Maya Plisetskaya is arguably the greatest dancer of our generation. Some compare her position in ballet to Maria Callas' in opera, unequaled and unchallenged in their respective spheres.

However, for people who may not be familiar with Plisetskaya, I can understand the price tag could be a "show stopper". Maybe she's not current enough for the younger ballet enthusiasts. I would suggest watching a few clips on Youtube of Plisetskaya dancing in her prime to convince them what a phenomenon Maya Plisetskaya was and still is.

I was fortunate to have seen her perform Swan Lake in San Francisco in 1959, the first time she was allowed to leave the Soviet Union to tour with the Bolshoi. She was in her early 30's by then. This DVD is a 1976 performance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Swan Lake at the Bolshoi. Maya Plisetskaya was 51. Think about it.

For the sake of comparison, I viewed her earlier version taped in late 1950's with the Bolshoi. Trying very hard to be objective, I really couldn't see she had lost anything. Unbelievable! With age, she had deepened her emotional expressiveness a great deal, especially in Act 4. You could see the Swan Queen was so wounded even physically that you couldn't withhold your emphathy. I also liked the "happy ending" that the Russians favor over the sad one. When she stepped in front of the prince to protect him from getting killed, timed perfectly to the music, it was overwhelmingly moving.

The taping of this performance was not world class as the cliche goes. There were moments I'd like to put my hands around the necks of the lighting designer, the sound technician, and a few in the audience (for some very inconsiderate coughing). What clots! But the audience (in the Kremlin Palace Theatre, not the Bolshoi) was super enthusiastic. Maya was getting flowers thrown to her feet starting at the end of the Act II curtain calls.

Yes, the corps de ballet and the principal dancers and soloists all showed up to play this evening. Also, Bogatirev dancing the prince was wonderful. Fluid, lyrical, handsome with a great body. The corps was precise, beautiful, and held their lines straight as a ruler. I had again compared them to the Swan Lake of the Royal Ballet and the recent ABT performances. I have to give edge to the Bolshoi.

No, this may not be the Swan Lake for the ages. But for the dancing and the occasion, I could not rate it less than 5 stars. Most of all, it was for Maya Plisetskaya, a teasure to last for our days.

Special Swan Lake
Titus orange | 04/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this DVD a few days ago because I had never seen Maya Plisetskaya dance and I'd read so much about her I just had to see what she was all about. I'm glad to say she is fantastic. I have a lot of Swan Lake DVD's and Maya's Odette/Odile is one that stands out. She really creates characters like I've never seen before. Beautiful dancing and drama. On the down side, the lighting of the stage was not very good. Much of the background was in darkness and only the person(s) dancing had light on them. I like to see everything on the stage so I was disappointed with the lighting. I'm still glad I have this recording of Maya Plisetskaya. Now I'll be looking for more of her on DVD."
A common man's point of view.
Richard Rawls | Dublin Ga USA | 12/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My next two ballet reviews are going to be about twin ballets. I call them twins because they are so similar. This ballet from the Bolshoi Ballet with Maya Plisetskaya and Alexander Bogatirev was filmed at the Kremlin Palace Theatre NOT at the Bolshoi stage. You don't have to look at the propaganda on the theater curtains when they are pulled between acts. The other twin.....Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / Mikhalchenko, Vasyuchenko, Vetrov, Zhuraitis, Bolshoi Ballet..... IS from the Bolshoi stage starring Alla Mikhalchenko and Yuri Vasyuchenko, so just don't look at the curtains when they are drawn between acts. Poor Maya had to endure the Soviet propaganda for over fifty years, but she did it bravely. Read her book, "I, Maya Plisetskaya" to learn what she went through....I, Maya Plisetskaya.

The two Swan Lakes above, are almost identical. The only differences are the characters and a few of the costumes. The stage settings are almost exactly the same. Some of the costumes are exactly the same. Both Siegfrieds have identical costumes, and some of the Princesses wear the same dresses. There are five Princesses in each Ballet. The lighting is poor in Maya's version, but you can improve the picture quality by adjusting brightness and contrast on your television. The audio is mono but good for an old film from Russia. It is filmed live and this is not the version where camera shots are taken of the audience, however there is a good deal of coughing from the audience. Sounded like one cougher had his own microphone, but to see Maya is worth some distractions.

When Maya makes her first entrance she does one leap and then assumes the famous swan pose in fourth position, she holds that pose for at least 10 seconds and the music doesn't start again until she moves. It's beautiful the way she does it. In her autobiography she tells of a time when she was not allowed to travel with the Bolshoi on their first London tour with the troupe (of which she was the principle dancer), she WAS allowed to stage a production of Swan Lake at the Bolshoi. Word got out to her loyal fans in Moscow that instead of an opera, which had been scheduled, she would be dancing Swan Lake with those who had been left behind. The ticket offices were deluged with requests for tickets. The theater was packed to overflowing. When she made her entrance, after the leap and into her swan pose she held the pose for more than a minute maybe two, while the auditorium erupted in pandemonious applause and bravos. Just one minute would have been an eternity, but two? After the first act pas de deux, she took six bows. After each variation she took four bows. You can witness some of that adoration on the Philips DVD "Essential Ballet" after Maya dances her famous "Dying Swan" at an age approching 70. It's easy to love this woman.

Another very good DVD w/Maya Plisetskaya is her "Diva of Dance"....Maya Plisetskaya - Diva of Dance.... If you buy it, watch her interviews FIRST. You will appreciate her dancing even more.......Richard."