Rebeca K. from LAKE BLUFF, IL Reviewed on 2/2/2012...
Great DVD. Beautiful music and venues. The start at Coven Garden with small children dancing is amazing (they even show princess Diane entering the theatre). The end with russian ballerinas dancing at Red square just for fun, enjoying themselves is a real treat to watch.
SF CHRONICLE REVIEW
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Essential Ballet" is actually a generous double bill of two gala performances, one in London's Covent Garden, the other in Moscow's Red Square. Both are spectacular. While the unashamedly theatrical star turns are too numerous to mention in detail, a few highlights give an idea of the pleasures to be had here. At Covent Garden, Larisa Lezhina and the great Faroukh Ruzimatov in "Diana and Actaeon" make a dazzling case for the best of Soviet ballet. Altynai Asylmuratova and Konstantin Zaklinsky, while not exactly in their element, bring superhuman intensity to Antony Tudor's "Leaves Are Fading." On a very special occasion in Red Square, Yekaterina Maximova and her husband, Vladimir Vasiliev, dance an "Aniuta" duet that alone is worth the price of the DVD. Ruzimatov and the spry Margarita Kulik sparkle in the "Corsaire" pas de deux, Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeyechev -- both in heartbreakingly beautiful form -- dance the grand pas from Act 3 of "The Sleeping Beauty." And, yes, Maya Plisetskaya steals the show as only she can do with her version of Fokine's "Dying Swan." Don't miss this one.-Octavio Roca, San Francisco Chronicle"
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You will want to stand up for most of this one. Alas, it will do no good. The simpletons have cut off the feet in over half of the Covent Garden Performance. When will they ever learn feet require at least one meter of stage perspective.
The Red Square portion is somewhat better in this regard. However, the outdoor staging is quite distracting.
In my opinion, the Kirov Ballet Company is a near perfect human endeavor and deserves better. These recordings will become the standard by which future dancers will be judged."
Great dancing of some of ballet's greatest scenes
R. Nicholson | 05/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A magnificent DVD! Simply breathtaking !
This DVD features excerpts from performances of the Kirov Ballet at Covent Garden and an open-air concert from Red Square in Moscow.
It is difficult to know were to start: there are so many exquisite performances on this disc. I will pick out a few (really, you could mention all of them)
The beauty, grace and sensitivity of Julia Makhalina as Odette(with Andris Liepa) in the Adagio from "Swan Lake".
The obvious joy and subtle sadness, coupled with the incredible dancing skill of Altynai Asylmuratova and Konstantin Zaklinsky in " The Leaves Are Fading "; music by Antonin Dvorak.
The unbelievable athletic abilities of Farukh Ruzimatov in his Pas de deux with Larisa Lezhina from Drigo's "Diana and Actaeon".
And then there were the young dancers from the Vaganova Ballet Academy doing a wonderful job on Minkus's "Paquita: Polonaise and Mazurka" and also a credible rendition of the Dance of the Mirlitons from Tchaikovsky's " The Nutcracker"
Overall, I personally enjoyed the Covent Garden section a little more and yet my favorite piece is probably the Pas de deux from the Act II of Giselle (Adam) by Carole Arbo and Kader Belarbi; the smoothness, the height of the lifts, the glides, the quiet touches and the grace of both performers is simply hard to believe.
As a bonus there is a short commentary on the history of ballet by Ruth Leon in the accompanying booklet that is interesting reading.
All in all, some great performances of the greatest ballet scenes you'll ever find on one disc. Highly recommended!"
Very good with bits of different ballets!
Amy | South Africa | 03/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I thought Odette was a wonderful dancer.The Leaves in The Leaves are Fading were brilliant and I love the choreography. Diana and Actaeon were excellent and the costumes for the corps de ballet were very pretty. Paquita was beautiful with all the corps de ballet in tutus and in lovely colours, Olga Chenchikova's pirouettes were amazing and all of it very well danced. Anuita was quite modern but very nice and with lovely music. The Sleeping Beauty,Le Corsaire, Giselle and the others were all good but I didn't like The Firebirds dance of costume. The lighting and filming were fine and the DVD was very enjoyable. On the whole I think it is Essential Ballet and worth getting and keeping."
jfnsantiago | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | 03/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This video shows highlights from some beautiful ballets performed by the renamed Kirov Ballet at Convent Garden under the presence of Lady Diana and in Red Square under the presence of Russian people. Although most of the numbers chosen are famous I would not say they are essential as the title of this DVD suggest. There are far more important and interesting works which is not included in it. However I would recommend this DVD for those who are just curious about the art of ballet or want to be acquainted with it. The production is careful and the image and the sound are goods. This video is a nice entertainment for the whole family."