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Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / Makarova, Dowell, Royal Ballet Covent Garden
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Product Description

Studio: Kultur Release Date: 02/04/2003 Run time: 137 minutes

Customer Reviews:

  • swan lake par excellence
    This is a stunning production - visually, the sets and costumes are wonderful... enough of a set to transport you to the world of the lake and tasteful, colourful costuming; Anthony Dowell is a handsome Prince, and Natalia Makarova shows us the meaning of 'tendresse'. In her portrayal of the white swan, it's amazing how like a bird she is. Watching this video, I could see why Swan Lake is one of the most beloved ballets of all time. This is a show to be savoured... sit back and let Tchaikovsky's music carry you into a beautiful, mystical world... (do be warned that it does not have your regular happy fairy-tale ending, tho'...)...more info
  • The best Swan Lake
    This is the one!I've seen dozens of Swan Lakes in video and on stage, and this one is just perfect!Makarova is the best Odette, her technique suits perfectly for the role, she has such a beautiful line, amazing arms, pure lyrism, and Anthony Dowell is the last danseur noble, those few who were born to be a prince....more info
  • Excellent! A must for all Swan Lake fans.
    The most beautiful performance of this classical title. Natalia Makarova and Anthony Dowell not only performed excellently but also emotionally. Emotion between the two lovers is the fundamental element in such a romantic story but it has almost been forgotten by other dancers, including the famous Fonteyn and Nureyev. Fortunately in this video, besides ice-cold, purely technical performance, the real emotion prevades. I hope Kultur video can make this wonderful performance on the DVD in the near future....more info
  • I recommend the DVD of the Swedish Ballet as First Choice

    All that I might have said has been well presented by those who ranked this performance two or three stars. I am sellling off my copy of this Royal Ballet DVD - not that it's a bad production at all but that it is over-rated and rather bland.

    I highly recommend the performance by the Swedish Ballet as a first choice keeper. Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake It is gripping it its drama, the sets establish a mood but do not call attention to themselves, and the emotional commitment of everyone involved is clearly profound. And oh yes, the dancing and the acting (it is a story ballet, after all) are superb, and the orchestral playing if not better in execution is certainly better in recorded sound....more info
  • Too much scenery
    I loved the dancing, and the story was a real tear-jerker. Unfortunately, there was too much scenery in Acts 1 and 3, which made it difficult to see the dancers very closely. (The screnery at the lake was perfect for the story.)...more info
  • A Great Way to Tell the Story of Swan Lake
    This is an outstanding performance by the Royal Ballet. The Royal Ballet is one of my absolute favorite ballet combanies. Makarova is phenominal. Her Odette is so dramatic and is filled with passion. On the other hand, her Odile is creepy. A perfect Odile in my opinion: wicked and bewitching.

    I especially loved Makarova's facial expressions during the Adagio in act one. They were so dramatic and filled with passion. It was as if Makarova dedicated herself to her role. Like Fonteyn, she can act as well as dance. I recommend this ballet to anyone who loves ballet and romance. It's a great ballet.
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  • five stars are not enough
    anyone who likes dance and ballet wil be moved by the extraordinary blend of technique and emotion miss makarova gives us in this wonderful video. dowell is a first class dance and partner. but the real stars of this item is first makarova, second the royal ballet girls, who dance an unforgettable second act. ivanov would be pleased....more info
  • Still the definitive "Swan Lake" - on video
    I have watched many live and video performances of this ballet and this is the one version I find myself returning to time and time again. There is something so dramatically compelling about the way Makarova and Dowell interpret their roles that my attention is held in a way that perhaps more technically proficient renderings of the roles could not. Makarova and Dowell in the leads are ultimately the most satisfying interpretations I have yet witnessed.

    Makarova's dancing is a wonder to behold; her magisterial, liquid adagio dancing in the Act II grand pas deux was of course, a given. Makarova's dancing was possessed of a unique physicality, a way of moving that made it seem as though her arms and legs were radiating a plush and limitless stretch. One could almost see an energy field originating from the centre of her body and pulsing out through her arms and legs and emanating far beyond her head, hands and feet. There seemed to be a mysterious and boundless stretch to Makarova. Baryshnikov too, had this "mysterious stretch" in his dancing. And Makarova's hands, what magical and bewitching worlds can be conjured from a pair expressive arms and hands! Watch, at the coda of Act II when Makarova's Odette runs towards Dowell's Siegfried, and is caught in his arms and lifted high above his head. With a ripple of her arms, the well-timed arch of her back, neck and head, one could almost believe Odette would take flight right then. The moment is breathtaking and for that moment, time might as well have stopped.

    What has continued to surprise me is Makarova's Odile. In this act Makarova, physically, becomes a whole other creature. The same lambent grace is still there, the same palpable and mysterious stretch, but now her edges have sharpened and her dancing has taken on a hard, cold, obdurate quality. I will never forget her baleful expression when she first turns towards Prince Siegfried to present her hand for the very first time. This moment marks the beginning of the Act III "Black Swan" grand pas de deux, and what a spellbinding moment it is. The whole ballroom now shines with a hectic glitter and now begins the ultimate dance of deception.

    Unshakable bravura was never a hallmark of Makarova's dancing and I could quibble about her indifferent fouettes. I prefer instead to revel in the splendour of her dramatic interpretation. From start to finish, Makarova's Odile is a textbook example of how to enchant a Prince and an audience into believing completely, an evil magician's deception. Even as Makarova negotiates Odile's treacherous choreography, her conviction and her hold on her dramatic portrayal is so unwavering that by the end, the Prince is utterly destroyed. Makarova's Odile is so convincing that at the end of the pas de deux, the audience finds itself on its feet applauding not a ballerina, but for the total triumph of von Rothbart's diabolical creation. As an aside, Makarova's pique/chaine turns at the end of her solo are so fleet and so delicious that I never again want to see another dancer stumping her way through this same variation.

    I make special mention of Sir Fredrick Ashton's choreography in Act IV. There's a particularly lovely and effective sequence where in small groups, Odette ushers away her swan sisters and returns to a kneeling Siegfried, bends down slowly and deeply into an arabesque penche and bestows her forgiveness for Siegfried's unwitting betrayal. Almost no one does this "forgiveness and reconciliation" scene anymore.

    The overall production values of the Royal Ballet's "Swan Lake" are somewhat inconsistent, the stage sets and costumes look like they were taken out of cold storage and the dancing of the corps de ballet could benefit from a more pliant use of the back and arms.

    Natalia Makarova and Anthony Dowell's dancing are of a kind that informs an age. I search in vain for a young Makarova or a young Baryshnikov that would bring the same magic and transcendent artistry from which their legends were made....more info
  • five stars are not enough
    anyone who likes dance and ballet wil be moved by the extraordinary blend of technique and emotion miss makarova gives us in this wonderful video. dowell is a first class dance and partner. but the real stars of this item is first makarova, second the royal ballet girls, who dance an unforgettable second act. ivanov would be pleased....more info
  • Classical Ballet at its Greatest
    This was the first "Swan Lake" I ever saw and one of the greatest revelations of my life. The story of the enchanted Swan Queen and the prince who fails to save her because of the interjection of the evil sorcerer is absolutely incredibly set to ballet with the Royal Ballet's matchless dancers. In the leading dual role of Odette\Odile, Natalia Makarova is spellbinding. As Odette, her fragility and tenderness--not to mention her impeccable dancing--always bring a catch into my throat, and her resemblance to a swan is remarkably realistic; as Odile, she is a sinuous, leering seductress who makes me tremble as she triumphantly entraps her helpless partner. The said partner, Anthony Dowell, is a truly remarkable Prince Siegfried. His famous cleanliness and precision of movement cannot be mistaken or ignored, and his dramatic abilities are prodigious. This pair is so wonderful that they dominate the ballet--the first-act dances never seem boring, but once the connection is made between the leading couple I am so enthralled that I can hardly sit through anything else from an eagerness to see them again. I must admit, though, that the swans' dances are the most exquisite example of corps de ballet dancing that I have ever seen. The first time I saw this video, my heart and breath were stopped; now, about a hundred times later, it still has the power to move me profoundly, although I know it by heart. This video is a true example of classical ballet at its greatest and a wonderful first "Swan Lake."...more info