With its perfect fusion of music and choreographic ideas, The Sleeping Beauty is the quintessential romantic ballet, and it finds its spiritual home preserved in the outstanding classic traditions of the Kirov Ballet. The ... more »stylish grandeur of choreographer and artistic director Oleg Vinogradov's production shows the entire company at its best. Founded more than 200 years ago as the official ballet of the St. Petersburg Imperial Court, the Kirov Ballet was home to Marius Petipa, creator of this classic as well as Swan Lake and Raymonda. The highest tradition in dance continues with Larissa Lezhnina, one of Kirov's brightest new talents, brilliant as Princess Aurora, and Farukh Ruzimatov's performance in the role of Prince Desire demonstrates both power and grace.« less
"Tchaikovsky's second ballet, presented at a prestigious Russian theater in the 1880's, became successful and standard for ballet dancers and is still a ballet enjoyed by many in several levels. It is the age-old Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Aurora is the princess under the curse of a wicked fairy, doomed to sleep forever until a prince awakens her with a kiss. Bits and pieces of the Tchaikovsky score was used in the 50's Dysney animated film, Sleeping Beauty. This DVD is visually striking and the Russian ensemble who perform the ballet are exceptional. The costumes are gorgeous, true to the French-style that Tchaikovsky was going for when he wrote this (he was said to be modeling the court of King Louis XIV). The principal dancers in the roles of Aurora and Prince Desire, as well as the evil fairy, express themselves fully in their solos. Fancy footwork, pas de deux, lavish corp and the ensuing divertissements in Aurora and the Prince's wedding are fine examples of how great the ballet is visually on DVD and in the hands of the Russians.Act I begins with the theme associated with the evil fairy, dark, powerful and fatalistic, but is subdued when the hopeful, romantically melodic theme of the Lilac Fairy (Aurora's fairy godmother) erupts into a glorius introduction. The kingdom prepares for Aurora's christening (The March) and congregate in the hall of the castle. The fairies endow the child with special qualities, beauty, grace, song, etc..keep in mind this is not all that different from the Dysney film or the fairy tale. When the Lilac Fairy is about to bestow her gift on the baby, the evil fairy and her minions storm the castle and the evil fairy rages in her fury about not being invited. In revenge, she casts a dark spell on the child. She will prick her finger on a pointy spindle and die. Of course, the Lilac Fairy offers hope and reverses some of the spell. Aurora will sleep and not die, awaken only after the kiss of her true love prince. Also, the entire kingdom will sleep with her. Act 2 features Aurora as a young woman who is awakening to her femininity, celebrating her sixteenth birthday, surrounded by loving and doting parents and many interested princely suitors. The Waltz, the Rose Adagio and Aurora's Death are the highlights. In the final act, the Prince, with the help of the Lilac Fairy, defeats the evil fairy, penetrates the castle and awakens the sleeping beauty with a kiss. Their wedding features many characters from fairy tales, including Cinderella and Puss'N'Boots. The Apotheose ends gloriously, and is without doubt Tchaikovksy's most brilliant work for orchestra. This ballet is a great introduction for ballet novices, a lesson in good choreography and over all, a glittering rendition of the masterful art. Who says ballet is sentimental nonsense ? It is a passionate, engulfing and living art form that requires stamina, endurance and precision, full of magnetism and full of life. This particular ballet can be enjoyed in many levels. Children will like the fairy tale ambiance, adults will enjoy the developing ballet structure and balletomanes will be in heaven. I am a ballet/ music and opera teacher and encourage any medium to instill a love of the arts. On DVD, ballet is a must see, almost, but never quite, like, seeing a live performance."
The Sleeping Beauty/ Kirov Ballet
Lea Jadis | 07/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
This was such a great performance of this ballet. The camera angles helped compliment the dancers and Larissa is adorable as Princess Aurora. The set, costumes, and corps helped to accent the principle dancers. The choreography was well done to the music and the orchestral balance was fine tuned. They also included all the most memorable songs and themes. Many movie verson cut some out due to available tape time, but this one kept to the original main themes.The downers:They tried to add some Computer Graphics at one point that was rather annoying, but they did not interfere with the ballet so it is permissible. They DID happen to cut off the corps at some points and the corps got rejected for more intricate choreography, and they repeated their movements quite a bit. Still, it is one of the better corps parts that I have seen.
*I hope that you enjoy this ballet and that this review was helpful to you!"
A muscial and visual delight
Karen B. Chenier | LA, CA United States | 03/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is exceptional! I am very pleased. The quality of the digital images is clear and crisp and the audio is wonderful. The Kirov's Sleeping Beauty is staged, choreography and danced beautifully. I highly recommend anyone interested in romantic/classical ballet to purchase this DVD."
A classic with wonderful performers and really bad lighting
Karen B. Chenier | 09/12/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This should have been a wonderful performance. Great dancing by Asylmuratova and Zaklinsky and several others who annoyingly are nowhere identified! No cast list on the video or the liner notes. Unfortunately, in many scenes, strangely in the Prologue and also in the Awakening Scene (Act 2), the lighting is so dim you can hardly see the dancers or the beautiful sets and costumes. The scale of this ballet is one of the things that makes it so enjoyable. In this filming, it is often lost. If you are a fan of Asylmuratova (as I am - saw her dance this role exquisitely with the Kirov in NYC in June 1999) this tape is worth having for your collection. She's a delight as Aurora and at least has a spotlight on her most of the time. Otherwise, chose one of several other Sleeping Beauty's available."
A beautiful `Beauty'
Karen B. Chenier | 05/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although there are two other excellent videos of `The Sleeping Beauty' by the Kirov, you will probably want this one as well, since the glorious Altynai Asylmuratova dances Aurora, partnered by her husband, Konstantin Zaklinsky. Unfortunately, Kultur videos has an annoying habit of not including cast lists, but the performance is conducted by Viktor Fedotov and Kirov fans will spot a number of familiar faces, including Elena Pankova and Zhanna Ayupova. It's a lovely performance. You won't be sorry you bought this."