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Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
Actors: Nathalie Nordquist, Anders Nordstrm, Marketta Kaila, Christian Rambe, Johannes hman
Director: Ross MacGibbon
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2003     2hr 40min

Choreographer Peter Wright stages "Swan Lake" as a romantic Gothic tragedy. This invigorating version focuses on the heartbreaking role of the Prince in this dramatic classic, honoring the 1895 Pepita/Ivanov original. SP...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Nathalie Nordquist, Anders Nordstrm, Marketta Kaila, Christian Rambe, Johannes hman
Director: Ross MacGibbon
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Dance, Educational, Classical, Ballet & Dance
Studio: BBC / Opus Arte
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 01/21/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
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

Gorgeously gothic!
Casey Snider | Norfolk, Virginia United States | 06/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've seen several productions of "Swan Lake", and I have to say that this is far and away probably the best one around. Peter Wright's updated staging takes the classic tale of love and magic and turns it into an exquisite Gothic tragedy. The ballet opens with the funeral of Siegfried's father, a narrative touch overlooked in other stagings. As the prince faces the twin impending dooms of kingship and marriage (as his mother tells him, "You WILL marry"), his friend Benno tries to cheer him up with wine, women, and dancing. When that doesn't work, they decide, in classic male fashion, to go shoot something with Siegfried's new crossbow. The rest of the story proceeds along familiar lines: the meeting of Siegfried and the enchanted swan-princess Odette, Siegfried's entrapment by the sorcerer Von Rothbart and his disguised daughter Odile, and the final reunion of the lovers in death.What sets this production apart is its magnificent staging and excellent performances by the artists of the Royal Swedish Ballet. Anders Nordstrom is a boyish Siegfried who seems to mature as we watch, until he makes the final step into adulthood with his pledge to die with his beloved. Johannes Ohman is a hoot as sidekick Benno; watch his chagrin in Act I when the Queen discovers the court carousing after the King's funeral. He and Nordstrom are also very fine dancers, effectively displaying their prowess in the Act I pas de trois (now a dance with two courtesans) and the Polonaise, which becomes a bravura drinking dance for the men. Nathalie Nordquist is a lovely Odette, delicate and lyrical. Her Odile, however, is somewhat less effective, perhaps because of her young age; she lacks the attack and sensuality of a more seasoned ballerina, and in her hands Odile becomes more charming flirt than evil seductress. Still, Nordquist shows great promise in such a difficult role. (For the record, my favorite Odile is Susan Jaffe's portrayal in "American Ballet Theatre: Variety and Virtuosity".) The costume and set designs are sumptuous, if a bit dark, and the whole thing is a visual feast. The DVD also includes fascinating extras, such as interviews with Nordstrom and Nordquist, a look back at other classic "Swan Lake" productions, and a chat with choreographer Wright about the story behind his staging (which is helpful if your ballet-mime-to-English is a bit shaky). If you can only buy one "Swan Lake" for your collection, make it this one!"
Nathalie Nordquist is incredible!
Eric | West Chicago, IL United States | 04/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I just bought two DVDs of the Swan Lake. One is the Barenboim, Scherzer, Matz, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin (I will soon write a review for that one) and the one on this page. The both are very good. The one on this page has stunning costumes and stage sets. The sections with the white swans are magnificent and Nathalie Nordquist is absolutely stunning. She dances with impeccable technique and superlative expression. Her swan is a joyful one rather than a dejected, oppressed bird. In addition, the camera work is extremely rewarding with a very clear picture and rich color. The sound is very clear and the orchestra plays well. Since I am a professional musician, I have compared the music in this DVD with the Barenboim, Scherzer, Matz, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. The Barenboim is a musical experience in itself. The music is so well performed that one could play it as a music source without the video and find it very rewarding. You can't say the same about the Swedish orchestra in this DVD, but if you are watching the video and not comparing the orchestra with a superlative performance, the production is very enjoyable.This DVD is sure to remain one of my favorites and recommend it to anyone interested in a Swan Lake performance. Nathalie Nordquist and the swans make it totally worth the purchase and the time spent watching the performance."
Scandinavian ballet tradition evident in this new version!
J. M WILINSKY | teaneck, NJ United States | 08/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As some one who is an expert on ballet(I am a ballet dancer), let me assure you that this is one of the top five performances of Swan Lake available. The dancing of the entire company is extremely accurate and lyrical. The use of mime is the best I have seen in any Swan Lake. This is characteristic of Scandinavian traditon(the company director is proud to point out the contribution of the great Danish ballet choreographer of the 19th century, Bournonville, to the Royal Swedish Ballet in one of the many interviews on this dvd). The choreography is very well thought out and rehearsed. The performance is fresh and vibrant, while still being classical and traditional. The dvd is also very nicely packaged with a large and informative booklet. If you are looking for a traditional Swan Lake performance, don't pass this one up!"
Overall, a very beautiful, traditional Swan Lake
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 01/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's funny how Swan Lake, the most beloved of ballets, also recieves the most "tinkering." Siegfried is in love with his mom (or tutor). Rothbart is a sexy pimp-daddy/green swamp thing (in the current American Ballet Theatre production, they are actually played by two different dancers). And then there's the ending. For the Soviets it's happy. In most Western productions it's sad. Sometimes Siegfried drowns. Sometimes Siegfried defeats Rothbart. There's usually a Swan Boat to heaven. Or there's no boat. Also, since Swan Lake is a very long ballet, there's cutting. Act IV is usually the victim -- in the ABT video it's reduced to literally ten minutes, and one of the most touching moments of all ballet -- Siegfried running among the swans to find Odette, is gone.

So it's refreshing to find a video like Peter Wright's production for the Royal Swedish Ballet. For one, he's restored much of the mime that's so often omitted, including the Act 2 mime by Odette explaining how her tears formed the "swan lake." No slash and burn here -- Act 4 is intact, and beautifully danced by the corps. Siegfried is not in love with his tutor or with Benno. The sets and costumes are very dark and somewhat gloomy, but somehow this fits this ballet, which after all is very gloomy. The sacred Ivanov choreography of Act 2 is also intact. The dancing of the leads is mixed. Anders Nordstrom as Siegfried is technically excellent but like a lot of Scandinavian dancers (think Erik Bruhn) also somewhat aloof and remote. He also has the Scandinavian habit of dancing almost entirely with his lower body. It's always a bit disconcerting to watch these dancers dance an entire ballet without moving their backs even a little.

Odette/Odile is danced by Nathalie Nordquist, who in the interviews included with this dvd appears to be very young. But she has beautiful, long legs and arms, an assured technique, and her Odette has a poignant innocence. She doesn't have the majesty of the more famous Odettes, and her Odile is flirtatious rather than truly dangerous (for dangerous, see Maya Plisetskaya!). She is also not as birdlike as some of the Russian ballerinas. But in her own way, Nordquist's Odette is very warm and touching. This Odette is young, and watching her blossom in Act 2 is beautiful. If I have one quibble with Nordquist's Odette it's that she doesn't seem frightened of Siegfried in Act 2. The very best Odettes will seem terrified of Siegfried and then slowly melt in the pas de deux.

So in a word, I definitely recommend this dvd. My first dvd of choice would be the Royal Ballet one with Makarova and Dowell, but this is an excellent second choice."