J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 06/25/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This ballet based on Johann Strauss's 'Die Fledermaus' was created in 1979 by Roland Petit for his then-wife, Zizi Jeanmaire, who came out of retirement to dance the part of Bella (Rosalinde, in the opera). Creating the role of Ulrich (Falke in the opera) was the extraordinarily talented character dancer Luigi Bonino. Here, in a restaging 24 years later, Bonino recreates the part and also co-directs the production. And, to tell the truth, he is the only thing here that makes the performance worthwhile. Both the leading lady -- Alessandra Ferri -- and her husband (here called Johann) -- Massimo Murru -- are virtually ciphers, competent but uninteresting. There are many comic moments with much pantomime, some of it so frenetic that it is hard to watch, but one must add that the 'corpo di balletto' of La Scala, who contribute some of those moments, are excellent. The orchestra, led in Douglas Gamley's arrangement of music from the opera (with some additions from other Strauss music) by conductor Kevin Rhodes, are also fine. Sets by Jean-Michel Wilmotte (and updated by Jean-Michel Désirée) are in bright cartoon colors, adding to the farcical approach to the ballet. Costumes by Luisa Spinatelli and lighting by Jean-Michel Désirée are mostly unobtrusive and effective.
Still, except for the moments when Bonino shines -- and he does, especially with his Chaplinesque movements -- the ballet is flat as yesterday's champagne.
An amazing performance
James A. Pantano | beacon, new york United States | 08/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"of the many reasons why one would purchase this dvd mine was to see alessandra ferri. some ballerinas are technically gifted. some have great acting skills. some have great stage charisma. alessandra ferri has it all and combines the three to give an added 4th dimension to her performances. i am absolutely charmed by her performance here as bella, ignored and neglected wife of johann. her entire performance was beguiling but the act two pas de deux where she clips johann's wings was just incredible. the emotions that were implied here could not be told thru dance alone but by a seamless intergration of body language and facial expression. just the type of thing alessandra does so well. it is true artistry that can reach inside a viewer and stir deep emotions. i can honestly say of all the ballerinas i have seen perform live and all the video performances i have watched, alessandra ferri is by far the best i have ever seen. im sure there are many who share the same infatuation that i have for ms ferri and (hard to believe)there are some of you who do not. but i admit freely to this obsession even as i now search for a new ballerina to worship from my seat (next to my wife) in the audience. all of that being said, the actual ballet was pretty good too. this is the third ballet i have seen choreographed by roland petit the other two being notre dame de paris and clavigo.(both superb) all three are starkly different from each other this being more comedic and boisterous, and i would say slightly less radical or modern then the other two i mentioned. one thing they all share in common is a stage gimmick or prop. notre dame had its giant swinging bell and a maze of staircases. clavigo descended to the stage like a giant spider. here, johann flys around with his "bat wings". if you enjoy roland petit's choreography this will not disappoint. i find it to be elegant, sophisticated, expressive and modern, although keeping a foot planted firmly in the traditional. massimo murru,s performance here as the disinterested husband johann is excellent. he reminds me a bit of another of ferri,s long time partners, julio bocca. the rest of the cast turn in fine performances as well. on the technical side of things, the picture is clear, the color is reproduced accurately and the lighting is very good. the editing is actually pretty good here. the camera angles that were chosen were very good and they tend to linger for a while which is a good thing. mostly all the angles include the whole dancers body. there are some closeups but nothing too distracting. the sound is excellent. and of course strauss music is the perfect accompaniment to the story. in conclusion; for ferri admirers, lovers of inventive choreography, la scala fans and those who want something a little different than classical ballet. magnificent!"
Ronald Petit at his best
Satish Kamath | 03/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This gem of a production is indeed a tribute to the brilliance of Ronald Petit more than anything else. Oh yes. Ferri has done a fantastic job, however, it is Luigi Bonino who really glitters. The production itself is brilliant, with the minimal amounts of props and sets yet looking lavish.
The adaptations of themes from the Strauss works is simply superb and I have ripped just the music into my iPod. It is the production as a whole that wins out here.
biotechmich | 01/08/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was well done, but if you can get your hands on the version with Denys Ganio and Zizi Jean Marie, you will be in for a real treat. Of course, Zizi was fabulous, as usual, but Denys Ganio was amazing! He was an incredible dancer and artist!"