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  • Gala Tribute to Tchaikovsky [VHS]
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Gala Tribute to Tchaikovsky [VHS]

7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Irek Mukhamedov, Plácido Domingo, Tito Beltrán, Leanne Benjamin, Sylvie Guillem
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • VHS Release Date: May 25, 1994
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303107311
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,644 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By L.T.N on August 7, 2008
Format: DVD
Since this 1993 concert recording is only now being released in the US & Canada, there must have been copyright/contract problems for one or more of the artists involved. To mark the disparity in length of career, singers Te Kanawa, Domingo, Hvorostovsky & others are still performing (infrequently for the semi-retired Te Kanawa), while the Royal Ballet dancers featured have either retired and/or gone on to teaching (except for Leanne Benjamin, still a principal with the company). Darcey Bussell, Lesley Collier & Viviana Durante, the prima ballerinas when this was recorded, have been replaced by Alina Cojocaru, Marianela Nunez, Tamara Rojo and Miyako Yoshida.

This gala tribute was for the centenary of Tchaikovsky's death in 1893. It includes some of his most popular pieces, both arias from the operas and dance excerpts from the ballets. But for some reason they also included music by other composers, and its hard to fathom why these were considered better choices than Tchaikovsky's own music. Its not as if they didn't have enough music by Tchaikovsky to choose from. Instead of arias from Rachmaninoff's ALEKO and Rimsky's SADKO they could have selected bits from Tchaikovsky's MAID OF ORLEANS, MAZEPPA or THE LITTLE RED SLIPPERS. It also would have been worth considering choral selections, like his rousing MOSCOW cantata or his haunting ST.JOHN LITURGY.

For the dancing, to have Bussell, Collier, Benjamin & Durante together in one evening is worth any price of admission. But the inclusion of part of Kenneth MacMillan's ANASTASIA, set to the same 3rd symphony that Balanchine used for the finale of JEWELS, was also an odd programming choice, in my opinion.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Trimmer on June 11, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
I found this disc by searching for "Sylvie Guillem." For some reason, Sylvie's name appears in the cast list, even though she does not perform in this production. This caused me some initial disappointment. I am posting this review so that others will not be misled, and to evaluate the disc on it's merits.

In his amusing little guidebook, "Bluff your way in Ballet," Craig Dodd offers the following definitions:

Gala evening: Odds and ends of ballets the company couldn't make a regular evening of.

Royal gala: As above, but at higher prices and graced by a minor royal.

These definitions do not apply in this case (although Prince Charles does appear on screen for about 3 seconds). As one might guess from the title, the program concentrates on Tchaikovsky, with a couple of other Russians (Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov) and an Italian (Puccini) mixed in. The program is about half ballet and half orchestral music and opera pieces.

The ballet pieces are not odds and ends, but excerpts from major works, such as The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. One piece is presented by the Royal Ballet's Corps de Ballet; the others by four teams of principal dancers: Darcey Bussell/Zoltan Solymosi, Leanne Benjamin/Tetsuya Kumakawa, Viviana Durante/Bruce Sampson, and Lesley Collier/Irek Mukhamedov. The excerpts are performed in costume, but without sets or supporting cast; the dancers are alone on a bare stage. A family trio (man, woman, daughter) also dance in a presentation of the 1812 Overture, conducted by Placido Domingo. The four teams of principals also perform together in the finale.

If I had known these things beforehand, I would not have bought this disc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MsBookworm on July 17, 2011
Format: DVD
Not much that to add that hasn't been mentioned already. In answer to the query about why the Anastasia pas de deux was used when the music is that used in the "Diamonds" act of Jewels, or why another Tchaikovsky work like Theme and Variations was not chosen instead - the simple answer is that the Royal Ballet didn't have the rights to perform these works in 1993, although both are in their repertoire now. Anastasia was actually revived around this time, so the duet was of some interest to the audience that frequented the Royal Ballet - granted, if you didn't know the ballet Anastasia, the pas de deux might seem a bit quirky and odd. The other answer to the query about Sylvie Guillem is that she did perform that evening in a duet from William Forsythe's Herman Schmermann with principal dancer Adam Cooper, with contemporary music most definitely NOT by Tchaikovsky, and the style rather at odds with the other pieces included. It is possible that Ms Guillem refused permission for her work to be released on DVD, or that the editors felt the piece was out of kilter with the others in the programme (or most likely both) so the performance was not included in the DVD. No matter - the rest of the performances are so sublime and starry, that you don't really miss it (although it was done well on the night). The DVD suits those who like both opera and ballet, or those who are big fans of Tchaikovsky.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Showcasing works from several Russian composers in memory of Peter Tchaikovsky. The program includes vocal talents of Dimtri Hvorostovsky, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Placido Domingo, who also shares the conductors podium. One of my CD's includes Kiri Te Kanawa singing the Rachmaninoff 'Vocalise', to piano accompaniment, while this Winter Gala features the full orchestral accompaniment. Vocalise is a vocal composition without any words. Adjectives such as sublime, erotic, harmonious, dynamic, florid, exotic, or visceral might all potentially typify an individual's response to, or appreciation of this moment in music. The artist's interpretation showcases the unseen as a thing of beauty.

Another encore performance is Placido Domingo's brilliant rendition of one of Tchaikovsky's Six Romances, "Only the Lonely." While conventional English versions of the song exist, the more faithful lyric is soulfully captured by this great talent. I'd also like to note that while I've been exposed to ballet artists whose egos simply spoiled their presentation, that the dancers in this performance aren't just at the pinacle of their profession, but that their joy in their art, and their respect for their audience of this classical form is sincerely appreciative and appreciated.
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