This is one of my favorite videos
chaerae | Williamstown | 02/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Les Sylphides, Le Corsaire, La Valse, and Sleeping Beauty (Act III)....Les Sylphides is absolutely magical, the best performance of this ballet I've ever seen. Nureyev gives his usual intense, wonderful performance, and Fonteyn -- words cannot describe the beauty of her every exquisite movement. This ballet is, perfectly suited to her lyrical style. IMO, Fonteyn had the most incredibly expressive arms.... But before I start rambling (or have I already?)....Le Corsaire is an absolutely brilliant performance from Nureyev, and Fonteyn dances beautifully as well (although her performance is perhaps a bit too subdued in comparison to Nureyev's mindblowing one).La Valse was probably wonderful to see live, but the magic is kind of lost on film. I think it's one of those ballets you had to see in person.Sleeping Beauty is a joy to see. Fonteyn is wonderful as usual, and David Blair makes a superb prince, very noble and suave. A young Antoinette Sibley gives an exquisite peerformance in the Blue Bird pas de deux.A great buy!"
Wonderful DVD, wonderful history, wonderful performances!
chaerae | 11/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nureyev and Fonteyn! Need I say more? This DVD is sooo valuable for so many reasons! As an historical record, it cannot be surpassed. The performance of "Les Sylphides" is pure Fokine choreography, with a grace and fluidity that is not always present in performance companies these days. The "storyless" ballet is actually about the poet (Nureyev) being inspired by the sylphs who seem to caress his mind with both dreamy visions and moments of ecstasy. This ballet alone is worth the price of admission! For those who want to see the more bravura side of Nureyev, look to the pas de deux from Le Corsaire. Balletomanes will probably recognize that the male technique has advanced remarkably overall since 1963. But still, Nureyev is electric and amazing in this pas de deux. La Valse should be seen just because it is Ravel's music at its most lush and passionate. This may also be the only filmed record of the choreography of this rarely performed ballet. And of course... if you long to see Margot Fonteyn in her true element, the last act of "Sleeping Beauty" is pure delight. All of the divertissement are danced by dancers we now recognize as principal ballerinas... who were mere soloists at the time. Puss in Boots and the Bluebird pas de deux are marvelous reproductions of the original Petipa choreography, and a joy to watch. The costuming, sets, and mannerisms of this ballet definitely take the viewer to a different time and place. Magnificent! Fonteyn is an ageless diamond in this wonderful performance! There are a hundred reasons to buy this DVD, and few detractions. I saw this movie when it was released in theaters back in the 1960s, and the DVD transfer is not without its occasional moments of fuzz, but for the most part it is fantastic. The insertion of the "Russian Dance" from "The Nutcracker" into the last act of the "Sleeping Beauty" was quite jarring, but it was well danced. It was not uncommon, even in Petipa's day, to insert specialty numbers to accommodate a particular dancer, or up-and-comer who needed exposure... or even to promote a particular composer. So, in keeping with the age-old tradition, this odd insertion is not without precident. I rate this DVD at four stars. The ballets are beautifully photographed, the feet are never "cut off" by the camera, and there are no "special effects" to interfere with one's total enjoyment of the performances. This one comes highly recommended!"
Very Good performance
Amy | South Africa | 07/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Margot is certainly a wonderful dancer and so is Nureyev. Les Sylphides is beautiful with the tutu's and choreography. I did not like La Valse really though. The Sleeping Beauty was lovely. Margot and David Blaire were excellent and I loved the Bluebird pas de deux. On the whole I really enjoyed it but I also recommend Essential Ballet for people wanting a beautiful dvd of excerpts. It is with the Kirov Ballet and has bits from The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird, Giselle, Don Quixote, Paquita, and quite a few more."