Ballet

Mayerling

Mayerling ballet. Music by Franz Liszt as arranged and adapted by John Lanchbery. Choreography of Kenneth MacMillan performed 2018 at the Royal Opera House. Stars Steven McRae (Crown Prince Rudolf), Sarah Lamb (Baroness Mary Vetsera), Meghan Grace Hinkis (Princess Stephanie), Gary Avis (Emperor Franz Josef), Kristen McNally (Empress Elisabeth), Laura Morera (Baroness Marie Larisch), Elizabeth McGorian (Baroness Helena Vetsera), James Hay (Bratfisch), Mayara Magri (Mitzi Caspar), Nehemiah Kish (Colonel ‘Bay’ Middleton), Catherine Carby (Katherina Schratt) and other artists of the Royal Ballet. Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev). Designs by Nicholas Georgiadis; lighting design by John B. Read. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Ghosts

Ghosts ballet, based on the play Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen. Music composed by Nils Petter Molvær. Created and directed 2017 by Marit Moum Aune at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Oslo. Choreography by Cina Espejord. Stars Andreas Heise (Oswald/Captain Alving, Oswald’s Father), Kristoffer Ask Haglund (Oswald as a Child), Camilla Spidsøe (Mrs. Alving, Oswald’s Mother), Sonia Vinograd (Young Mrs. Alving), Ole Willy Falkhaugen (Pastor Manders), Philip Currell (Young Pastor Manders), Grete Sofie Borud Nybakken (Regine, a Maid), Erle Østraat (Regine as a Child), Yoshifumi Inao (Carpenter Engstrand), Nils Petter Molvær (Musician), and other dancers from The Norwegian National Ballet (Artistic Director Ingrid Lorentzen) and The Norwegian National Ballet School. Set design by Even Børsum; costume design by Ingrid Nylander; lighting design by Kristin Bredal; video projections by Odd Reinhart Nicolaysen; voice over by Håkon Ramstad. Directed for TV by Tommy Pascal; produced by Xavier Dubois. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler ballet. Music composed by Nils Petter Molvær. Choreographed and directed by Marit Moum Aune based on the play of the same name by Henrik Ibsen. Staged 2017 at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Stars Grete Sofie Borud Nybakken (Hedda Gabler) Silas Henriksen (Eilert Løvborg), Philip Currell (Jørgen Tesman), Eugenie Skilnand (Thea Elvsted), Shane Urton (Assessor Brack), Samantha Lynch (Tante Julie), Klara Mårtensson (Diana), Kristian Alm (General Gabler, Hedda’s father), Erle Østraat (Hedda Gabler as child), and Helle Flood (Thea Elvsted as child) supported by other dancers of The Norwegian National Ballet (Artistic Director Ingrid Lorentzen) and The Norwegian National Ballet School. Set design by Even Børsum; costume design by Ingrid Nylander; lighting design by Kristin Bredal; assistant direction by Christoper Kettner; group choreography by Kaloyan Boyadjiev. Directed for video by Tommy Pascal; produced by Xavier Dubois. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Woolf Works

Woolf Works ballet. Original music by Max Richter. Directed and choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Staged 2017 at the Royal Opera House (revival of 2015 production). Stars Gary Avis, Matthew Ball, Federico Bonelli, Alessandra Ferri (special appearance), Francesca Hayward, Paul Kay, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, Natalia Osipova, Calvin Richardson, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Akane Takada, Eric Underwood, and Edward Watson supported by other members of the Royal Ballet and students of the Royal Ballet School (Christopher Powney Artistic Director). Features soprano Anush Hovhannisyan and speaker Gillian Anderson. Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev). 3 separate works are presented, all related to the writings of Virginia Woolf:

  • I Now, I Then (based on the 1925 novel Mrs Dalloway), designed by Ciguë

  • Becomings (inspired by the 1928 novel Orlando), designed by We Not I [not to be confused with the name of Act 1above]

  • Tuesday (inspired by the 1931 novel The Waves), designed by Wayne McGregor

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Iolanta and The Nutcracker

This title has a double bill of Tchaikovsky works, an opera and a ballet:

  1. Iolanta opera to a libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky. Stars Sonya Yoncheva (Iolanta), Arnold Rutkowski (Vaudémont), Alexander Tsymbalyuk (King René), Andrei Zhilikhovsky (Robert), Vito Priante (Ibn-Hakia), Elena Zaremba (Marta), Roman Shulakov (Alméric), Gennady Bezzubenkov (Bertrand), Anna Patalong (Brigitta), and Paola Gardina (Laura). Sung in Russian.

  2. The Nutcracker ballet to a libretto by Dmitri Tcherniakov. Choreography by Arthur Pita, Édouard Lock, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Stars Marion Barbeau (Marie), Stéphane Bullion (Vaudémont), Nicholas Paul (Drosselmeyer), Aurelien Houette (The Father), Alice Renavand (The Mother), Takeru Coste (Robert), and Caroline Bance (The Sister) supported by the Corps De Ballet de L’Opéra national de Paris.

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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) as well as 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. Directed for TV by François Roussillon. Released 2019, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A

The show opens with our bodacious boatload of buccaneers beating across the boisterous billows boldly breaching beaches boasting beautiful bimbos. Wherever these pirates venture, wild adventures await:

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Swan Lake

Swan Lake ballet. Music by Tchaikovsky. Book by V.P. Begitchev and Vasily Geltzer. Choreography by Liam Scarlett (assisted by Kristen McGarrity) after Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa with additonal choreography by Frederick Ashton. Directed 2018 by Liam Scarlett at the Royal Opera House. Stars Marianela Nuñez (Odette/Odile); Vadim Muntagirov (Prince Siegfried); Elizabeth McGorian (The Queen); Bennet Gartside (Von Rothbart); Alexander Campbell (Benno); and Akane Takade and Francesca Hayward (Prince Siegfried’s Younger Sisters). Other dancers in Act I are Tierney Heap, Meagan Grace Hinkis, Fumi Kaneko, Mayara Magri, Matthew Ball, James Hay, Fernando Montaño, and Marcelino Sambé (Waltz and Prolonaise); Artists of The Royal Ballet (Court Ladies, Lieutenants, and Corporals); and Students of The Royal Ballet School (Ladies in Waiting, Servants, Heralds, Guards). Other dancers in Act II are Isabella Gasparini, Elizabeth Harrod, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, and Romany Pajdak (Cygnets); Clare Calvert and Mayara Magri (Two Swans), and Artists of the Royal Ballet (Swans). Other dancers in Act III are Itziar Mendizabal (Spanish Princess); Melissa Hamilton (Hungarian Princess); Yuhui Choe (Italian Princess); Beatriz Stix-Brunell (Polish Princess); Tierney Heap, Reece Clarke, Nicol Edmonds, Kevin Emerton, and Fernando Montaño (Spanish Dance); Romany Pajdak, Tristan Dyer, and Artists of The Royal Ballet (Czárdás); Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Marcelino Sambé (Neopolitan Dance), Nathalie Harrison, William Bracewell, and Artists of The Royal Ballet (Mazurka); Artists of The Royal Ballet (Guests, Ladies in Waiting); and Students of The Royal Ballet School (Servants, Heralds). Other dancers in Act IV are Isabella Gasparini, Elizabeth Harrod, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, and Romany Pajdak (Cygnets); Claire Calvert and Mayara Magri (Two Swans); and Artists of The Royal Ballet (Swans). Koen Kessels conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. (Concert Masters Peter Manning [Black Swan solo] and Ania Safonova [White Swan solo]). Designs by John Macfarlane; lighting design by David Finn. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Coppélia

Coppélia ballet. Music by Léo Delibes. Libretto by Charles Nuitter and Arthur Saint-Léon after E.T.A. Hoffmann. Choreography by Sergey Vikharev and Vladimir Grigoriev after Marius Petipa and Enrico Cecchetti. Recorded 2018 at the Bolshoi Theater. Stars Margarita Shrayner (Swanilda), Artem Ovcharenko (Frantz), Alexey Loparevich (Coppélius), Xenia Averina, Daria Bochkova, Bruna Cantanhede Gaglianone, Antonina Chapkina, Anastasia Denisova, Elizaveta Kruteleva, Svetlana Pavlova, and Yulia Skvortsova (Eight friends); Nadezhda Blagova (Coppélia [Automaton]), Alexander Fadeyechev (Lord of Manor), Yuri Ostrovsky (Burgomaster), Nikolay Mayorov (Chronos), Oksana Sharova, Alexander Vodopetov, Ekaterina Besedina, and Dmitry Ekaterinin (Mazurka), Kristina Karasyova and Vitali Biktimirov (Czardasz), Anastasia Denisova (Aurora), Antonina Chapkina (Prayer), Daria Bochkova, Ksenia Averina, Maria Mishina, Stanislava Postnova, and Tatiana Tiliguzova (Work), and Elizaveta Kruteleva (Folly). Pavel Sorokin conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Bolshoi Theater. Scenography by Boris Kaminsky; costumes by Tatiana Noginova; lighting design by Damir Ismagilov; archive research and coordination by Pavel Gershenzon. Directed for TV by Isabel Julien; produced by François Duplat. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Manon Ballet

Manon ballet. Music consists of excerpts from the works Jules Massenet arranged and orchestrated by Martin Yates, based on an earlier compilation by Leighton Lucas with the collaboration of Hilda Gaunt. Choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan. Revival staging by Julie Lincoln and Christopher Saunders performed 2018 at the Royal Opera House. Stars Sarah Lamb (Manon), Vadim Muntagirov (Des Grieux), Ryoichi Hirano (Lescaut), Gary Avis (Monsieur G.M.), Itziar Mendizabal (Lescaut’s Mistress), Kristen McNally (Madame), Thomas Whitehead (The Gaoler), James Hay (Beggar Chief), Fumi Kaneko, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Olivia Cowley, Mayara Magri (Courtesans), Matthew Ball, William Brackwell, Marcelino Sambé (Three Young Gentlemen), Nichol Edmonds, Benjamin Ella, Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød, Alastair Marriott, David Yudes (Clients), Jonathan Howells (Old Gentleman), and a multitude of extras played by Artists of the Royal Ballet. Martin Yates conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev). Designs by Nicholas Georgiadis; revival lighting design by John B. Read after William Bundy. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2019, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Giselle

Giselle ballet. Modern musical composition and sound design by Vincenzo Lamagna after themes from Adolphe Adam. Directed and choreographed by Akram Khan. Performed 2017 at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. Stars are Tamara Rojo (Giselle); James Streeter (Albrecht); Jeffrey Cirio (Hilarion); Stina Quagebeur (Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis); Begoña Cao (Bathilde); Fabian Reimair (Landlord); and Jung ah Choi, Anjuli Hudson, Maria José Sales, and Adela Ramírez (Giselle’s Friends). Ensemble dancers (Outcasts): Precious Adams, Aitor Arrieta, William Beagley, Francisco Bosch, Georgia Bould, Barry Drummond, Shevelle Dynott, Giorgio Garrett, Jennie Harrington, Amber Hunt, Rina Kanehara, Daniel Kraus, Sarah Kundi, Van Le Ngoc, Laurent Liotardo, Adriana Lizardi, Guilherme Menezes, Ken Saruhashi, Emily Suzuki, Francesca Velicu, Vonnie Vowles, Angela Wood, Erik Woolhouse, and Jia Zhang. Ensemble dancers (Court Couples): Matthew Astley, Claire Bennett, Julia Conway, and William Simmons. Ensemble dancers (Wilis): Precious Adams, Jung ah Choi, Emilie Cadorin, Eireen Evrad, Jennie Harrington, Tiffany Hedman, Anjuli Hudson, Amber Hunt, Maria José Sales, Rina Kanehara, Sarah Kundi, Adriana Lizardi, Alison McWhinney, Francesca Velicu, Connie Vowles, and Angela Wood. Gavin Sutherland directs the English National Ballet Philharmonic (Leader Matthew Scrivener). Visual and costume design by Tim Yip; orchestration by Gavin Sutherland; lighting design by Mark Henderson; dramaturgy by Ruth Little; assistant choreography by Andrej Petrović; rehearsal direction by Mavin Khoo; sound design by Yvonne Gilbert. Directed for TV by Ross MacGibbon; produced by Janie Valentine and Nikki Weston. 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 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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