Ballet

Le Corsaire

Le Corsaire ballet. Choreographed by Manuel Legris to a libretto by Manuel Legris and Jean-François Vazelle. Music by Adolphe Adam. Staged 2016 at the Wiener Staatsoper. Stars Robert Gabdullin (Conrad); Maria Yakovleva (Médora); Liudmila Konovalova (Gulnare); Kirill Kourlaev (Lanquedem); Davide Dato (Birbanto); Alice Firenze (Zulméa); Mihail Sosnovschi (Seyd Pasha); Natascha Mair, Nina Tonoli and Prisca Zeisel (Odalisques); and dancers from the Wiener Staatsballet and the Balletakademie der Wiener Staatsoper. Valery Ovsianikov conducts the Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper. Set and costume design by Luisa Spinatelli; lighting design by Marion Hewlett; choreographic assistance by Albert Mirzoyan; film direction by François Roussillon. Released 2019, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Woolf Works

Woolf Works ballet. Directed and choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Music by Max Richter. Staged 2017 at the Royal Opera House. Stars Alessandra Ferri, Gary Avis, Matthew Ball, Federico Bonelli, Francesca Hayward, Paul Kay, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, Natalia Osipova, Calvin Richardson, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Akane Takada, Eric Underwood, and Edward Watson. Features soprano Anush Hovhannisyan and speaker Gillian Anderson. Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev). Designed by Ciguë, We Not I, and Wayne McGregor; costume design by Moritz Junge; lighting design by Lucy Carter; film design by Ravi Deepres; sound design by Chris Ekers; make-up design by Kabuki; dramaturgy by Uzma Hameed; directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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John Neumeier Collection

This John Neumeier Collection box set has four Neumeier ballets previously published by C Major. Each disc has already been reported on this website, and you can get more details by using the links provided:

  1. Nijinsky. 2018. (Grade B)

  2. Bach Christmas Oratorio. 2015. (Grade A+)

  3. Tatiana. 2016. (Grade: A-)

  4. The Little Mermaid. 2011. (Grade A+)

All the titles in this box are magnificent dance productions from the finest story-telling choreographer working today. We graded two of these down some for what we consider to be excessive video pace (two many clips too fast). But don’t let this slow you down. With an appropriate price, this would be one of the very best Blu-ray ballet boxes on the market and a must buy for every ballet fan. We are so fortunate to have material of this quality coming out in a money-saving package.

Released 2019. Box Set Grade: A

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Onegin

Onegin ballet. Music by Tchaikovsky arranged and orchestrated by Kurt-Heinz Stolze (various selections and not the music to Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin). Choreography by John Cranko. Filmed November 2017. Stars Friedemann Vogel (Onegin), Alicia Amatriain (Tatiana), David Moore (Lensky), Elisa Badenes (Olga), Jason Reilly (Prince Gremin), Melinda Witham (Madame Larina), and Marcia Haydée (Tatiana’s and Olga’s Nurse). James Tuggle conducts the State Orchestra Stuttgart. Set and costume design by Jürgen Rose; artistic supervision by Reid Anderson. Directed for TV by Michael Beyer. (It appears this was shot in 4K but published in 2K.) Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: C+

Cranko introduced today’s Onegin in Stuttgart in 1967 (after revising slightly the original 1965 version). It’s an extremely simplified, straight-forward telling of the lost-love story from Puskin’s poem with elaborate but easy-to-understand dancing and acting in a naturalistic style (no pantomime). It was an immediate hit and has been in the Stuttgart repertory ever since. It was quickly taken up by many dance companies around the world. With the exception of the great Tchaikovsky/Petipa works from the 19th century (Sleeping Beauty, etc.), Cranko’s Onegin may well have been seen by more people than any other ballet.

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The Art of Ohad Naharin

The Art of Ohad Naharin ballet double bill. Choreography by Ohad Naharin. Performed 2014 and 2017 by the Batsheva Dance Company at the Chaillot-Théâtre national de la Danse in Paris. Disc includes the following works:

1. Naharin’s Virus. Music by Karni Postel with various additional music; soundtrack design by Maxim Waratt; rehearsal direction and restaging by Luc Jacobs; costumes by Rakefet Levy; suit design by Zohar Shoef; lighting design by Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi); sound by Frankie Lievaart; recordings by Frankie Lievaart and Haim Laroz. Naharin’s Virus is based on a German-language play by Peter Handke. It appears text from this play, the title of which is rendered as “Offending the Audience”, appears in the dance work and is translated into English subtitles provided by Michael Roloff.

2. Last Work. Music by Grischa Lichtenberger with additional music; lighting by Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi); soundtrack design and editing by Maxim Waratt; stage design by Zohar Shoef; costume design by Eki Nakamura; choreography and soundtrack design assistance by Ariel Cohen and Guy Shomroni. 

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The Frederick Ashton Collection: Volume One

The Frederick Ashton Collection: Volume One Box Set released 2018. Below are the discs. Each of them has already been reported on this website, and you can get more details by using the links provided:

  1. Ashton Celebration (with ballets La Valse, Meditation from Thaïs, Voices of Spring, Monotones I and II, and Marguerite and Armand). Grade: A.

  2. Ashton Rhapsody and The Two Pigeons. Grade: B for Rhapsody, C+ for The Two Pigeons)

  3. Ashton Triple Bill (with ballets Symphonic Variations, Marguerite and Armand, and The Dream). Grade: A for Symphonic Variations; A- for Marguerite and Armand; C+ for Dream.

Total Grade: B+.

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Bernstein Celebration

Bernstein Celebration ballet collection. The Royal Ballet, for the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, performed a triple bill of ballets set to different pieces by Bernstein. Directed 2018 by Kevin O’Hare. The performances are as follows:

  1. Yugen. Set to Chichester Psalms. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Stars Federico Bonelli, William Bracewell, Harry Churches, Melissa Hamilton, Francesca Hayward, Chisato Katsura, Paul Kay, Sarah Lamb, Calvin Richardson, Joseph Sissens, and Akane Takada. Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Co-Concert Master Sergey Levitin; Assistant Concert Master Melissa Carstairs) and Members of the Royal Opera Chorus and Extra Chorus (Chorus Director William Spaulding).

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The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet. Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to a libretto by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann and Marius Petipa. Choreographed by Valery Kovtun and filmed at the National Opera of Ukraine in 2018. Stars Oleksiy Kovalenko (Stahlbaum); Liudmyla Melnyk (His Wife); Iuliia Moskalenko (Clara, their Daughter); Ielizaveta Gogidze (Fritz, Clara’s Brother/Chinese Doll); Iaroslav Tkachuk (Drosselmeyer/Russian Doll); Ielizaveta Cherniak (The Nutcracker Doll); Mykyta Sukhorukov (The Nutcracker/The Prince); Ruslan Avramenko (Mouse King); Sergii Kliachin (Harlequin/Indian Doll); Ganna Muromtseva (Columbine); Marjia Nelen (She-Devil/Russian Doll); Volodymyr Kutuzov (He-Devil); Raisa Betancourt and Oleksandr Shapoval (Spanish Dolls); Anastasiia Shevchenko(Indian Doll); Mykyta Hodyna (Chinese Doll); and Lina Volodina, Oksana Sira, Vladyslav Romashchenko, and Maksym Bilorkynytskyi (French Dolls), and dancers from the Ballet Company of the National Opera of Ukraine. Oleksiy Baklan conducts the Orchestra the National Opera of Ukraine. Directed for TV by Bertrand Normand; produced by François Duplat. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound output. [Preliminary information needs confirmation.] Grade: NA

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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet ballet. Music by Sergei Prokofiev. Choreography by John Cranko. Filmed 2017. Stars Elisa Badenes (Juliet), David Moore (Romeo), Reid Anderson (Lord Capulet), Melinda Witham (Lady Capulet), Robert Robinson (Tybalt), Roman Novitzky (Count Pairs), Marcia Haydée (Juliet’s Nurse), Matteo Crockard-Villa (Lord Montague), Julia Bergua Orero (Lady Montague), Martí Fernández Paixà (Mercutio), Adhonay Soares da Silva (Benvolio), Rolando D’Alesio (Duke of Verona), Egon Madsen (Friar Laurence), and Rocio Aleman (Rosaline). James Tuggle conducts the State Orchestra Stuttgart. Set and costume design by Jürgen Rose. Directed for TV by Michael Beyer. (It appears this was shot in 4K but published in 2K.) Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Ashton Triple Bill

Triple bill of shorter ballets choreographed by Frederick Ashton---each work is quite different and unrelated to the others. All were recorded on the same day in June 2017 at a revival in honor of Ashton. Because the works are so different, we grade each separately:

  • Symphonic Variations. Music by César Franck. Features Marianela Nuñez, Vadim Muntagirov, Yasmine Haghdi, James Hay, Yuhui Choe, and Tristan Dyer. Solo piano by Paul Stobart. Designs by Sophie Fedorovitch; lighting by John B. Read, staging by Wendy Ellis Somes and Malin Thoors.

  • Marguerite and Armand. Music by Franz Liszt. Stars Zenaida Yanowsky (Marguerite), guest Roberto Bolle (Armand), Christopher Saunders (Armand’s father), Gary Avis (Duke), Mica Bradbury (Maid) and the following as admirers of Margarite:

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Nijinsky

Nijinsky ballet. Choreographed by John Neumeier. Music by Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Dmitri Shostakovich. Staged 2017 at the Hamburg State Opera. Stars Alexandre Riabko (Vaslav Nijinsky), Carolina Agüero (Romola Nijinsky/The Woman), Patricia Friza (Bronislava Nijinska/The Sister), Aleix Martínez (Stanislav Nijinsky/The Brother), Ivan Urban (Serge Diaghilev/The Impresario & Mentor), Anna Laudere (Eleonora Bereda/The Mother), Carsten Jung (Thomas Nijinsky/The Father), Silvia Azzoni (Tamara Karsavina/The Ballerina), Alexandr Trusch (Nijinsky as "Harlequin" and "Le Spectre de la Rose"), Marc Jubete (Nijinsky as "The Golden Slave" and "The Faun"), Lloyd Riggins (Nijinsky as "Petrushka"), and Jacopo Bellussi (Leonid Massine/The New Dancer).

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Great Ballets from the Bolshoi Volume Two

Great Ballets from the Bolshoi box set. This box has four ballets from the Bolshoi. All have been released individually, and we already have done reviews with screenshots and grades for all of them. Following are links to more information and our grade for each title:

1. Minkus La Bayadère A+
2. Auber Marco Spada A+
3. Tchaikovsky Swan Lake D+
4. Shostakovich The Golden Age B+

Released 2018. Combined Grade: B+

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Tchaikovsky Ballet Box Set

Tchaikovsky---The Classic Ballets is a box set with 3 titles previously issued by Opus Arte as individual HDVDs. We have previously reviewed all of them, and all are available at full price. So follow our links here to learn more about each title:

  1. Swan Lake with Natalia Osipova and Matthew Golding, which we graded B-.

  2. The Sleeping Beauty with Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov, which we graded A+.

  3. The Nutcracker with Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli, which we graded B.

Combined Grade: B+

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The Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty ballet. Music by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. Directed by Kevin O'Hare. Choreography by Frederick Ashton, Anthony Dowell, and Christopher Wheeldon (based on tradition of Marius Petipa). This is a revival production (based on the original Oliver Messel 1946 production at Royal Opera House) by Monica Mason and Christopher Newton after Ninette de Valois and Nicholas Sergeyev. Stars Marianela Nuñez (Princess Aurora), Vadim Muntagirov (Prince Florimund), Kristen McNally (Carabosse), Claire Calvert (Lilac Fairy), Christopher Saunders (King Florestan XXIV), Elizabeth McGorian (The Queen), and Alastair Marriott (Cattalabutte). A huge number of other dancers from the ROB are credited in the the nice keepcase booklet.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ballet. Original music by Joby Talbot orchestrated by Christopher Austin and Joby Talbot. Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon. Performed 2017. Stars Lauren Cuthbertson (Alice), Federico Bonelli (Jack/The Knave of Hearts), James Hay (Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit), Laura Morera (Mother/Queen of Hearts), Christopher Saunders (Father/King of Hearts), Steven McRae (Magician/Mad Hatter), and Gary Avis (The Duchess), Paul Kay (Vicar/March Hare), Romany Pajdak (Verger/Doormouse), and Kristen McNally (Cook). Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Associate Concert Master Ania Safonova). Designs by Bob Crowley; scenario by Nicholas Wright; lighting design by Nathasha Katz; production design by John Driscoll and Gemma Carrington; original sound design by Andrew Bruce for Autograph; staging by Christopher Saunders. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon. Released in 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

This is the exact same production that was first recorded and released in 2011. The 2017 show continues to star Cuthbertson as Alice, McRae (perhaps an indispensably fantastic tap dancer) as the Mad Hatter, and Saunders as Father/King of Hearts. Most if not all of the other supporting dancers in 2017 are new.

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