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Delibes: Sylvia

40 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jan 29, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Darcey Bussell and Roberto Bolle perform this Royal Ballet production of the Delibes ballet conducted by Graham Bond with choreography by Frederick Ashton.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Writers: Leo Delibes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Dutch, English, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: January 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,026 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By I. Martinez-Ybor VINE VOICE on February 5, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is Ashton's Sylvia as a Second-Empire entertainement, magnificently danced and sumptuously staged. Darcey Bussell and Roberto Bolle are flawless in roles that are quite difficult yet ironically not showy. They make excellent partners. Soloists and Corps dance in exhuberant good form. The Covent Garden Orchestra sounds primed for Delibes marvelous score, one of the very, very few musical masterpieces to be found among ballet scores. Ashton's choreography is very pretty even if never quite reaching heights of beauty or originality he showed elsewhere, e.g., Symphonic Variations or The Dream, not to mention his re-castings of Petipa. Though I never saw Fonteyn in the part (but did see her in quite a few others), at some points in the choreography, without detracting from the marvelous Darcey Bussell, my mind's eyes would unwittingly summon the image of Fonteyn executing the movements, peculiarly as watching two dancers, one inside the other, dancing the same part. Fonteyn conveyed a sense of wonder about her own dancing while she danced that was unique and most communicative; Ashton knew how best to display it, and we would all be taken in and be made part of it. Hence his choreography for her will always retain an element of reminiscence, however magnificently it may be currently danced, as Bussell does in this performance. This is of no consequence to those who never saw Fonteyn. Those who did can rejoice at this performance for not only will it bring much pleasure on its own merits, but it will as well unmistakably recall, in seeing Sylvia's dances, the great, unique Margot. No sadness here nor nostalgia, just the memory of the beloved, expressive artist on whom the role was created.Read more ›
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By L.T.N on February 1, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ivy Lin's review last month is spot-on. This ballet's music is some of the best there is, comparable with Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda & Midsummer Night's Dream. I was familiar with the beautiful score from a Naxos disc that coupled the ballet with a suite from Saint-Saen's opera Henry VIII. I played it often over the last few years, wondering if I'd ever see a performance, live or video. Last year I saw the Aurelie Dupont DVD was available, but I dislike modern, austere settings/costumes for both ballet & opera, and from more than a few reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, I concluded I should wait for another treatment. I'm glad I did. Ashton's production is beautiful to look at, Darcey Bussell is a charismatic dancer, costumes & backdrop/setting are romantic (as is fitting for the subject, not to mention Delibe's original intentions!) and the music can easily stand alone as a concert piece for any symphony program, which you couldn't claim for some ballet music. I only wish it was longer. This DVD also has a brief, but interesting introduction narrated by Bussell herself. This is a little gem, showing the dancers and backstage crew just before the curtain rises. Some dancers chat together while limbering up, double-checking costumes, while others grab a quick moment by themselves, a bit of solace before the summation of all that practice, rehearsal time, muscle memory, nerves & adrenaline take over before the appreciative audience. Also, the accompanying booklet is thorough and interesting with several nice photos of the production. If you haven't seen this ballet, I urge you to try it. You're in for something special.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By vocal admirer on October 5, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Two beautiful versions of Sylvia are available on DVD, each with its own virtues but with very different approaches to the story. This DVD is a traditional version, choreographed for the Royal Ballet by Frederick Ashton. It follows the classic story and it is closely matched to Delibes' music. The other is John Neumeier's reworking of the story as performed by the Paris Opera Ballet, which I reviewed earlier. Delibes - Sylvia / Aurelie Dupont, Manuel Legris, Nicolas Le Riche, Marie-Agnes Gillot, Jose Martinez, Paris Opera Ballet It is intense and psychologically powerful, but it rearranges some of the music as it modernizes the story.

The difference between the two versions is vividly illustrated in the scene where Sylvia and her huntress companions first enter in Act I. In this Royal Ballet version, the women are dressed in short white ballet costumes and carry decorative hunting bows that look like they might have been borrowed from Cupid in an 18th century French painting. It is a pleasing, pretty scene, with the huntresses' steps closely linked to the music in a way that I found appealing. By contrast, the Neumeier huntresses are fierce warriors wearing bicycle shorts, leather vests, and tight leather helmets. They carry long hunting bows that look like the real thing. These women are beautiful, especially after they remove their helmets and release their hair, but they are also powerful and intense. The music is the same for both versions, and both interpretations are pleasing, but they are very different.

Those differences carry through the rest of the ballet. This London version has a clearer story, a villain and a hero, and a happy ending.
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