This acclaimed production of Rimsky-Korsakov?s Mlada, a story of early Slavs prior to Christian conversion, captures the essence of the Bolshoi's traditions of drama and realism. It is complemented by Andrei Petrov's insp... more »ired choreography, with its amazing variety of ritual dances. Dancing is indeed the crux of Mlada, which can be described as a ballet with a vocal score as much as an opera with dancing. World-renowned star of the Bolshoi Ballet, Nina Ananiashvili, exquisitely dances the double role of Mlada/Cleopatra. Designer Valery Levental has created breathtaking fantasy effects, immersed in the traditions of Slavonic art, transforming the stage into a panorama of stunning, bizarre and ever-changing delights. With the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Subtitled in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese« less
L. Donald Bartholomew | Seattle, WA United States | 10/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This seldom performed work is a revelation to all who love Russian opera. It is an amalgamation of Russian culture. The singing, dancing, and music are all-enveloping. The staging is magically breath-taking in its originality and yet almost ritualist in its approach. The use of statues and masks add a primitive yet modernistic touch. But this wonderful performance is practically "done in" by the video director's lack of understanding of the art of filming ballet. One doesn't focus on faces, limbs, crowds. You use medium and long shots to show patterns and movement. Why he focused on the Imp in the Hell Ballet is a wonder to me when there was so much more to see. Thank heavens he can't ruin Ananiashvili's wonderfully touching performance of Mlada. I loved it, but was frustrated watching the dreadful camera work."
M. F TERRIS | Miami, FL USA | 12/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rimsky-Korsakov wrote that in 1872 "Gedenov, Director of the Imperial Theaters a the time, had considered the idea of producing a work which should combine ballet, opera, and feerie. ... he had written a program for a theatrical production in 4 acts on a subject taken from the Elb Slavs and had commissioned V.A. Krylov to develop the text. Mlada, with its fantastic and genre scenes, appeared a most grateful subject for musical portrayal. Gedenov offered the composition of this music to Cui, Borodin, Moussorgsky, and myself; moreover, the purely ballet numbers were to be composed by Minkus, the official ballet composer of the Imperial Theaters."
When the joint project fell apart, Rimsky took the project upon himself. He produced a lush and beautiful work, marvelously sung, danced, and played by the Bolshoi in this DVD. However, it fails in two ways: (1) People looking for a musical drama will be severely disappointed: In Moussorgsky's words, Krylov's text is "rot .. inspired by ... fumes of delirium." There is the semablance of a story but not much more.
(2) The technical limitations of the recording reduce its power. The wide stage is filled with a vast cast of singers & dancers. Here, the 4:3 full screen image is particularly confining; wide angle shots lack sufficient definition while up close angle shots fail to give the sweep of the action. Bartholomew is right that the cameraman only makes it worse. It is one thing to take many head & torso shots of the singers, another to treat dancers that way. The sound, while full, is only Dolby 2.0.
I would not lump this work too closely with the TDK recording of Le Coq d'Or. Here, Rimsky is still fully a member of the Russian 5; on the whole, his music at this time seems richer and more varied. On the other hand, Le Coq d'Or is a brilliant, ironic drama. Its production is extraordinary in every detail, and its taping is masterful."
As exciting as Le Coq D' Or
A. Grossman | Florence, Oregon USA | 11/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love La Boheme, Manon and La Traviata you won't care for Mlada. But... if you love Carmen Burana you will love it. The music is gorgeous. This is called an opera-ballet and it is. There are three stars: the singers, Mlada herself (the ballet)and the wonderful chorus that has a tremendous part. This, along with Rimsky's magnificent Le Coq D'Or are two of the most unique and exciting operas on DVD. Maybe, someday. his Sadko and Tsar Sultan will follow."
Not a match made in heaven
Hawkeye | Tulsa, Oklahoma | 01/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, the camera work is frustrating, but with so many singers and dancers on stage, the only unobstructed sightlines might be from the Goodyear blimp. I think there is also a conceptual problem with the work of art. The prima ballerina who doesn't sing and the tenor who doesn't dance are not only separated by death but by artistic genre. This is not a match made in heaven. (But I'll use chapter selection to enjoy Ananiashvili's Cleopatra dance.)"
Great music, distracting staging
Clark Anthony | Switzerland | 06/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is great music well performed and if, as for me, the opera was new to you, the DVD will help you to make sense of the action. But the staging is often distracting. So I no longer watch, only listen."