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Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet [DVD Video]

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev perform with the Bolshoi Ballet in this Prokofiev ballet conducted by Algis Zhuraitis live at the Bolshoi Theatre, 1974.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ekaterina Maximova, Vladimir Vasiliev, Bolshoi Ballet, Algis Zhuraitis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Live, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Video Artists Int'l
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 152 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00143XE3C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,841 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By kaream on June 26, 2006
Format: DVD
Having seen most of the available DVD versions of Romeo and Juliet, I still greatly prefer the more traditional MacMillan choreography, which sticks closely to Prokofiev's original conception in his scoring, to either Nureyev's idiosyncratic 1995 Paris National Opera, with Loudieres and Legris, or Grigorovich's radically revisionist 1988 Bolshoi, with Bessmertnova and Mukhamedov.

I'm not a dancer, and leave appraisals of technique and skill to other reviewers. For all I know, this late-Soviet-era Grigorovich Bolshoi production might be a dancer's delight, but it's performed bare-stage with dim lighting, uninspired costumes, acting which -- unless you count a lot of stern looks -- generally ranges from poor to nonexistent, little comprehensible story line, and a musical score frequently so pushed, pulled, and twisted out of shape (and at times simply badly played) that the film's middling audio quality and inattentive camera work are the least of its problems.

Of the three productions based on MacMillan that I know, the 1984 Ferri/Eagling Royal Ballet is the least desirable, but not at all bad. The 2000 Ferri/Corella La Scala is superb in all respects -- dancing, acting, 'chemistry', sets and costumes, orchestral conducting and playing, and filming -- but my personal favorite remains the 1966 Fonteyn/Nureyev Royal Ballet, despite Kultur's failure to bother with a needed remastering. Fonteyn at 46 shows some ravages of age for a 14-year-old, but she remains a strikingly beautiful woman, and she inhabits, rather than 'plays', the role of Juliet, with utter conviction. In this same 1966 production Paul Czinners' film direction is flawless, David Blair as the mocking Mercutio is the best on film, and Desmond Doyle's depiction of Tybalt's cold haughty rage, in his every stance and expression, is a wonder to behold. The entire fight scene is a major highlight of this production, putting all other versions to shame.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By balletomane on September 22, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My favorite version of Romeo and Juliet is definitely Leonid Lavrovsky's, the first official version(except the one for Brno) of this great ballet, and this DVD is the only choice for the complete performance of Lavrovsky's choreography. The DVD featuring Ulanova(VAI) is an abridged version, and the Kultur DVD by Bessmertnova and Lavrovsly doesn't contain their whole performance. To be honest, I can't stand what Kultur had done to the film. The original playing time of the performance is about 150 minutes like that of Maximova and Vasiliev(VAI), but Kultur cut out about 40 minutes worth out of the film. The Bolshoi Ballet performed the whole of the work, and all of it was filmed without any part of it being cut out. Anyone who ever saw the whole of this very performance like on TV could see what I'm saying. I suspect why Kultur cut out 40 minutes is because they didn't want to make dual layered DVD(DVD-9) which can contain more than 120 minutes(up to 240 minutes). They just put in 108 minute performance in a single layered DVD(DVD-5) which can contain up to 120 minutes.

Although this DVD(VAI) is not good in terms of the quality of video & sound and camerawork, this is the only complete performance of Leonid Lavrovsky's choreography, and Vasiliev's and Maximova's dancing and acting is simply the best. What else could I say about them?
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on March 14, 2005
Format: DVD
After watching a couple more times, I lowered my rating from 4 stars to 2.

The score is as demanding as the dancing. It must have been a cold night in Moscow because the orchestra downright stank. The Russian government should have executed the brass section. There were some really nasty and obvious mistakes that have been digitized for all posterity. Imagine a member of the brass section living this down. Cringingly horrid and almost killing the whole thing. I think the producers should have considered taping two or three performances and picking the best one.

Mercutio stole the show for me. He makes the purchase worthwhile. Effortless with beautiful flourishes. His death scene was awesome: (c'mon Romeo, I'm fine, mixed in with pain/anguish and somberness, Then he finally kicks the bucket). It looks like it required more technique that Tybalt's stomping and rolling around. Tybalt seemed overplayed to me. IMO he was portrayed as a really hot headed fellow who needed to sort out his attitude. Yes, its Tybalt but its overdone in this performance.

Again, the orchestra stank. This I cannot overemphasize. Please don't be practicing and tuning before the conductor calls you to order, which required pretty loud baton banging. The audience was also distracting. Please let the audience know the performance is being recorded. One or two fellows stood out with their obnoxious sounding bravos.

Video and sound quality leave lots to be desired but I guess this is an old performance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Hickey on September 28, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Mauro Bigonzetti has staged a dance program distantly (he would term it "abstractly") alluding to Prokofiev's brilliant ballet. Physically appealing young people stomp, writhe, and frozenly pose while garbed in unlabeled Speedos, in what might be fun to observe in a live performance. But the experience is completely, completely destroyed by the juvenile strobe-manic TV direction of one Andreas Morell. As one's mind wanders during this frenetic and tedious production, one recalls that Fred Astaire had it written into his film contracts that his entire body should be visible during all dance routines; the one time this rule was broken occurred when Francis Coppola directed his final musical and ended up with Astaire's biggest musical movie flop. By all means, invest in this DVD if you are more interested in extreme close-ups of nostrils, wrists, and cuticles. If, on the other hand, you prefer dance programs (or, for that matter, aesthetic soft porn) that features a preponderance of whole bodies creating forms and suggesting interpersonal sparks, Mr. Morell's egocentric fatuousness will spit in your face for an hour and forty minutes. As for the Bifonzetti production itself, it's always nice to hear Prokofiev's score (even in this butchering of the suites), but the self-celebratory artiness of this (the word "deconstruction" captures its the reek of pretentiousness here) does not support the claim in the accompanying booklet that the choreographer COULD have presented a "traditional" version of the narrative ... which, by the way, is what most purchasers of the DVD might have sought. Again, one is reminded of Zeffirelli's post-R&J SHREW that so distrusted audience tolerance for the Bard that he substituted grunts and heavy breathing for the verse, and reminded of Dietrich's famous solo in DESTRY. In every respect except for the physical beauty of the splice-n-diced dancers, this product is a cheat, a thorough disappointment, and a bore.
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Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet [DVD Video]
This item: Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet [DVD Video]
Price: $34.95
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