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  • Hans Werner Henze: Ondine - featuring the Royal Ballet [Blu-ray]
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Hans Werner Henze: Ondine - featuring the Royal Ballet [Blu-ray]


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Editorial Reviews

Miyako Yoshida dances the title role originally created for Margot Fonteyn in the hauntingly beautiful underwater world of Ondine, vividly brought to life by The Royal Ballet. Frederick Ashton's shimmering choreography, Lila de Nobili's impressionistic designs and Hans Werner Henze's specially commissioned, vibrant and inventive score, memorably combine to evoke the many moods and colours of the sea. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Yoshida, Watson, Rosato, The Royal Ballet
  • Directors: Ashton, Carr, Coyle, Wordsworth
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2010
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003BFUS8U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,970 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Paul Linkletter on June 6, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've known the score to Ondine (or Undine if you prefer Henze's title) since the great recording of it that came out on Deutsche Grammophon in 1997. It was conducted by a great friend and admirer of Henze's, Oliver Knussen, and has been a recording I have enjoyed coming back to on many occasions. It seems to be out of print at the moment, but this DVD is a fine, indeed, a better way to experience it. Yes, the ballet was a commission from Frederick Ashton for Henze to write a ballet that would star Margot Fonteyn and The Sadler's Wells Ballet, which became the Royal Ballet. The men worked on it in collaboration (with some input from Fonteyn)and the result was quite a success. Fonteyn always said it was her favorite ballet. She danced it frequently. It has been revived several times and been presented by other companies and this DVD is a recording of a revival by The Royal Ballet. First, the music is dramatic, evocative, lyrical, violent in spots, graceful in others, descriptive, emotional, beautiful. It neither seems padded nor "empty" nor "correct" (and dull.) Its forefathers could be Stravinsky and Prokofiev. It is tonally "directed" if not always created in a tonal way. It is no more difficult nor "unmelodious" than The Rite of Spring or Daphnis et Cloe. The three acts seem to be just right in length and event, Henze giving credit for this to Ashton who worked out the story to the very minute of each part. It is lends itself to dance quite easily. Nothing need be forced. I was never bored or impatient or distracted by something else. Music and story and dance fit wonderfully together. It is not a pastiche of 19th Century ideas, but a valid 20th Century work that seems as fresh today as it must have then. The recorded sound is glorious, even in "plain" stereo.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ballet Fan on July 30, 2010
Format: DVD
Although a competent dancer, Yoshida has none of the poetry of Margot Fonteyn's interpretation in the 1959 Czinner film version of this ballet. Yoshida is particularly disappointing in the Shadow Dance in the first act. Watson's performance as Palemon is more romantic than that of Michael Soames. However, the domineering, spiteful character of Berta is much more developed in the 1959 version. The music in this new version has been rearranged to substitue timpani for bongo drums, and the overall tempo is slower than in the 1959 version. To see this ballet as Frederick Ashton intended it, you should try to get ahold of a copy of the 1959 Czinner version.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jose Brito on April 7, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
After several years of research on Perrot's Ondine ( Cesare Pugni's music ) and on Giraudoux's play, F.Ashton set to work on a new ballet far from 19th century romanticism.And he chose a german composer to provide the score. Henze's intention,I'm sure,was to compose music that would sound like(or suggest) water but the result is a most boring,uninteresting,melodiousless flow of notes.Nevertheless, Margot Fonteyn (for whom Ashton created this Ondine)gave life to the nereid Ondine and danced the role with infinite grace,musicality,and elegance,'naive and loving'(as she described Ondine's character) displaying her immense genius as one can watch in Czinner's film (1959)"The Royal Ballet" dancing with Soames.This, unfortunately, is not the case of Miyako Yoshida on this DVD,a down-to-earth Ondine,much absorbed in her choreography to consider dancing her role more like a water spirit she supposedly is.I wish Tamara Rojo would dance on this DVD for I am sure she gave the role, intelligent and sensitive as she is, another colour.Watson dances beautifully but somehow emotionally distant from his partner.José Martin in Act 3 'divertissement' dances skillfully, once more showing his versatility.Costumes are the original ones designed by Lila de Nobili,top note for John Read's lighting design and the The Royal Ballet Corps.Filmed in High Definition.
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Format: Blu-ray
Unlike other reviewers I have come to this work without prior knowledge of the original 1958 performances given by the original coupling of Fonteyn and Somes and precisely envisioned as such by Ashton. Nor have I seen the alternative modern performance given by the younger and very gifted Rojo. This therefore gives me a possible advantage as I can respond to this production unfettered by such comparisons and secure in the assumption that it is unlikely that there will be a direct competitor for some considerable time, if at all. So on that basis therefore, the only relevant question to ask and to answer is, how does this production fare simply on its own merits and as a one-off opportunity to view and to purchase?

Considerable efforts have been made to reproduce the original conception. Ashton engaged the services of the young composer Henze to create the appropriate musical effects that he required. Henze moved to London for this period and worked on a day by day basis with Ashton spending the day writing the next section of music followed by evening work with Ashton playing, discussing and revising the music as Ashton required. This close collaboration resulted in a musical score that fully realised the concepts that Ashton had in mind and must be accepted by us as such regardless of whether one likes it or not. I personally find that it is totally effective in the context of the ballet although I would not find it rewarding as a separate sonic experience. To criticise the music on purely aural terms is quite wrong therefore - rather like saying that you don't like yoghurt because it isn't a car! So much for the music then.
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