This Tchaikovsky Gala is a showcase of virtuosity which is not to be missed, presented by Roberto Bolle resident star of La Scala and a handful of international guest artists: Polina Semionova, Nadja Saidakova and Ronald S... more »avkovic. Some of the most exacting and demanding moments from Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker are presented, showing to great effect the prowess of the corps de ballet and stars alike: Roberto Bolle and Polina Semionova, principal of the Berlin Staatsballett. And also from Berlin the principal couple Nadja Saidakova and Ronald Savkovic, in this their very first appearance on the Scala stage. David Coleman conducts some of the musical highlights from the three Tchaikovsky's ballets, all of which are held in high esteem in the hearts and minds of ballet fans: Swan Lake, in Vladimir Bourmeister's version, Sleeping Beauty, with choreographed by Marius Petipa and The Nutcracker, another familiar title for La Scala, this time in Patrice Bart's version. Jewels of music and dance all set in the Act III decor of Swan Lake: Prince Siegfried's birthday festivities are being held in the castle hall, a veritable tourbillon of dances, from Czardas to Spanish, Neapolitan to Mazurka all of which leads into the celebrated Black Swan pas de deux, starring Roberto Bolle and Polina Semionova. As if by magic, another homage to Tchaikovsky appears: Aurora and her four princes in the immortal Rose Adagio, encompassing both dreamy sweetness and technical strength, being one of the most difficult choreographic passages of Sleeping Beauty alongside the Blue Bird pas de deux and the Act II pas de deux from The Nutcracker performed here by Nadja Saidakova and Ronald Savkovic.« less
"This is a finely danced La Scala New Year's Eve Gala which primarily features the set from Scala's Swan Lake with guest artists dancing mostly scenes from Swan Lake but also Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker. Roberto Bolle is a classy dancer with beautiful style and dances the Swan LAke excerpts well. I found Polina Semionova to be also a very fine dancer but her acting is a bit coy for my taste. The Rose Adagio, the Bluebird Pas De Deux and the Pas De Deux from the Nutcracker are solidly danced but no fire works here. It would have been nice to see some party pieces danced by the artists especially Bolle but no such luck. The Gala portion of the DVD lasts about 90 minutes and is filled out with an unfocused film about La Scala and Milan at Christmas including some scenic but pointless travelogue-type footage of Milan at Christmas and some backstage scenes of the dancers rehearsing. Sections of the film are also used to fill the actual Gala recording. Given the steep price of the DVD, I would have preferred more dance and less filler."
Joseph L. Ponessa | Glendive MT USA | 11/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the stage of La Scala on the last night of 2007, this is the first Blu-Ray ballet title that I have viewed and I give the high-resolution format high points for clarity. There probably will be no motion-picture format that captures movement perfectly, but Blu-Ray comes the closest yet. I was very critical of DVD motion ten years ago, so I am not damning Blu-Ray with faint praise here. The dance motions may still be a little blurry, but the sense of space, and depth of field around the performance definitely adds to the sense of dance. The camera operators here could have benefited from being raised a little higher than floor level. The sets and dancers look taller from this angle, and the profiling is great, but there isn't much toe room at the bottom of the screen, and the floor geometry of the choreography is entirely lost. At least the feet are not frequently chopped off as in many ballet videos. I appreciated the PCM 2.0 sound better than the DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, but my current Blu-Ray player does not have the multiple analog outputs that will extract the best sound from this disc. Now for the program. This has more continuity of action than a usual gala, splicing excerpts from three ballets together. Act III of Swan Lake acts as the framework within which cameos appear from Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker. All three ballets have a big showcasing act with multiple solos, duets, quartets, sextets and ensembles. So, for example, Bluebird and the Rose from Sleeping Beauty suddenly crash Siegfried's party in Swan Lake. That is interesting as a concept but there are some things I didn't like. The black swan appears at the beginning of the party, and the evil wizard introduces not only her but each of the individual acts thereafter. He seems transformed into the Fledermaus (not even as threatening as the Mouse King), and this trivializes the danger underlying the beauty in all three of these ballets. Much is made in the liner notes of the contribution of Italian dancers to the premieres of the Tchaikovsky ballets. This is true. As long as this gala is, perhaps a complete performance of Swan Lake would have only lasted a few minutes longer and would have been a better tribute to the link between La Scala and the Russian ballet repertoire. These are Italians, but they are not Neapolitans. The tarantella is a pretty sad spectacle. Anybody from south of Rome could have probably given a more spirited castanet dance. No tarantulas bothering the feet of these Milanese girls! I hate to be negative, but Tchaikovsky was paying a tribute to Italian dance with that number, and yet the Russians dance it better? Come on! Not to let the Russians off the hook, however, I have never been fond of that joker introduced into Swan Lake in the early 1950's. I tolerate him when he crashes the stage of the Kirov or the Bolshoy, but I don't like to see him invading Italy. The wicked wizard has been tamed, but the joker has grown in menace and seems like the real nightmare presence for the first half of the program, dancing the very first number and then weaving annoyingly among the onstage guests. If Von Rothbart has become kinder and gentler like the Fledermaus, then the Joker seems to be a younger version of Rigoletto. Roberto Bolle assumes a modest stage presence, and doesn't get a lot of dance action. He is billed as "etoile" but never hogs the stage, leaving that to the joker and the wizard. We have become accustomed to gigantic egos in male dancers, but it was not always so, and Bolle shows how commanding a presence he can be without a big head. Many classical discs have really annoying audio clips while the main menu is on screen. Not this one. The menu page shows the well of La Scala, and on stage there is a whole duet segment between Bolle and the black swan, Polina Semionova of the Berlin Ballet. Very nice, and I don't mind hearing it over and over after the program is over. I like the final bows taking place during the music, not as a separate event afterwards. So the gala is wrapped up in a nice ribbon, with New Year wishes at the very end in several languages, wineglasses for every body on stage during final waltz music. I give this five stars because though I would have staged it differently, these people at La Scala know what they are doing and I cannot fault them for it. It was New Year's Eve, so they deserve a little leeway. At least they weren't throwing firecrackers at each other like the people outside in the Galleria!"
Douglasmagee | Ludington,Michigan | 09/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great collection of memorable Tchaikovsky ballet moments. Fabulous Blu-Ray clarity makes one feel like you have the best seat in the house. Robert Bolle is a superstar-not seen,in my opinion, since Nureyev."
Excellent ballet. Highly recommended
Mr. John A. Coulson | Australia | 06/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A stunning example of ballet with dances to music from his 3 ballets "Swan Lake". "The Sleeping Beauty" and "Nutcracker". It is unusual in that all the dancing from all 3 ballets has been integrated into the one scenario. Basically it uses the Swan Lake scene where the Prince chooses a bride and is duped into the wrong decision but the choreography is unique and is not the traditional scenes from those 3 ballets. The staging, costuming and dancing are brilliant and the music is also appropriately excellent. It opens with the music of the love scene from Swan Lake played as an overture and then moves to a series of dances from the three ballets, so skillfully interwoven it has one perplexed as to which of the original ballets it originated."
N.Y. | 06/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Dancing here is of the highest quality and the sound is good. Semionova is a real Diva. Pity there aren't more of her performance. Other dancers are very good too. My problem is with the compilation. It satarts with the orchestra for a long time in the dark. Then some sights from Milano in New years day. This was followed by some behind the screen excersizes before the dances began (where the whole program was 83 minutes). All pieces from the three ballets were mixed in order and performed in the same background that have a king, a queen, a magician, a clown, a prince and some pallace members in the same place."