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Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake [DVD Video] (2008)

 NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, Color, 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 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014D5Q3S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,808 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Maya Plisetskaya and Alexander Bogatirev perform in this 1976 Bolshoi Ballet conducted by Algis Zhuraitis live at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plisetskaya's Legacy April 19, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was surprised to get a msg from Amazon asking me to write a review for this Swan Lake. Obviously, I must be one of the early buyers and perhaps there has not been a rush of buyers and reviewers. It puzzled me because Maya Plisetskaya is arguably the greatest dancer of our generation. Some compare her position in ballet to Maria Callas' in opera, unequaled and unchallenged in their respective spheres.

However, for people who may not be familiar with Plisetskaya, I can understand the price tag could be a "show stopper". Maybe she's not current enough for the younger ballet enthusiasts. I would suggest watching a few clips on Youtube of Plisetskaya dancing in her prime to convince them what a phenomenon Maya Plisetskaya was and still is.

I was fortunate to have seen her perform Swan Lake in San Francisco in 1959, the first time she was allowed to leave the Soviet Union to tour with the Bolshoi. She was in her early 30's by then. This DVD is a 1976 performance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Swan Lake at the Bolshoi. Maya Plisetskaya was 51. Think about it.

For the sake of comparison, I viewed her earlier version taped in late 1950's with the Bolshoi. Trying very hard to be objective, I really couldn't see she had lost anything. Unbelievable! With age, she had deepened her emotional expressiveness a great deal, especially in Act 4. You could see the Swan Queen was so wounded even physically that you couldn't withhold your emphathy. I also liked the "happy ending" that the Russians favor over the sad one. When she stepped in front of the prince to protect him from getting killed, timed perfectly to the music, it was overwhelmingly moving.

The taping of this performance was not world class as the cliche goes.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special Swan Lake April 20, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD a few days ago because I had never seen Maya Plisetskaya dance and I'd read so much about her I just had to see what she was all about. I'm glad to say she is fantastic. I have a lot of Swan Lake DVD's and Maya's Odette/Odile is one that stands out. She really creates characters like I've never seen before. Beautiful dancing and drama. On the down side, the lighting of the stage was not very good. Much of the background was in darkness and only the person(s) dancing had light on them. I like to see everything on the stage so I was disappointed with the lighting. I'm still glad I have this recording of Maya Plisetskaya. Now I'll be looking for more of her on DVD.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A common man's point of view. November 1, 2008
This is one of the best Swan Lakes I have in my small collection of twelve(Swan Lakes). I fell in love with Nina Ananiashvili when I saw her in this production. Her partnering with Fadeyechev is perfect, so I buy as many of their ballets I can afford. This is the same production being sold by Amazon with a different keepcase cover picture distributed through Kultur. Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / Ananiashvili, Fadeyechev, Russian State Perm Ballet It was filmed in Japan and the orchestra was also Japanese, but they were GOOD. You couldn't ask for better orchestration. But remember, that's just a common man's point of view. I'm so common that Aaron Copeland wrote the most famous fanfare of all time just for me.Copland: Appalachian Spring; Rodeo; Fanfare for the Common Man

Nina Ananiashvili is a very beautiful but sad Odette, and when she is in character, you can tell that she is a very unhappy swan maiden, trapped as she is, half swan and half human yearning to be set free. When the audience is yelling it's bravos, she cannot afford to lose her composure, else the effect is gone. Yet, when she becomes Odile, her evil counterpart, her composure is completely different. She is now vivacious, saucy, taunting and deliciously beautiful in her Black Swan "feathers". Who could blame Siegfried for falling in love with her? Even Odette is able to forgive him, and they celebrate their love together on earth, since this is a Russian version, but in the western versions they celebrate their love into eternity. Who could ask for a more romantic idea than that? Go ahead and buy this ballet, you won't be sorry.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tribute to a majestic talent January 22, 2011
Amazingly, the great ballerina Maya Plisetskaya was 51 when this gala production was recorded by the Bolshoi company in Moscow's Kremlin Palace. The production was mounted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ballet's première, and so one significant advantage this has over most other available DVD releases is that its musical edition is pure Tchaikovsky, without including the interpolations by Drigo customarily found in many other sets (such as the finely danced 1980's Kirov version with Makhalina). It's well played and conducted, with sensibly musical tempi (once again unlike that Kirov version) and includes the Russian dance in Act 3 as well as many more repeats than is usual in stage productions of the ballet.

First, I have to report that there are significant downsides to both production and picture quality. The tatty sets and basic staging around Petipa and Ivanov's classic choreography are (perhaps mercifully!) so poorly lit that the whole ballet seems to be taking place in stygian gloom, except for the spotlights on the principal dancers. The video quality is slightly fuzzy, colour definition is poor, and there are some bald edits where fragments of the performance seem to have gone missing.

Second, let me suggest that none of this matters one jot, when at the heart of the matter we have the privilege of witnessing a searing performance from one of the world's great dancers. If her sheer athleticism isn't what it had been a quarter of a century earlier, Plisetskaya more than compensates through depth and subtlety in the role of the swan-princess Odette. The way she suggests the physical discomfort of swan-into-woman, though angular hand movements, gauky and tentative steps, slightly stiff "wing-shoulders" and the rest, is mesmerising and very moving.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ballet
Again, Maya Plisetskaya sets her own standards for ultimate performances in Swan Lake. The use of her arms and hands is magical.
Published 8 months ago by Dave H
1.0 out of 5 stars AV review only
Audio: More than 20 years behind its time in quality. Distant, unclear, unbalanced and the bassoon got preferential treatment. Very strange. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Frequent Buyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Beautiful
Plisetskaya's dancing is so expressive - she can say more with a flick of a wrist or a slight turn of her head than most dancers do in the entire performance, and so beautiful,... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Tatyana Podgursky
5.0 out of 5 stars None Better
To me, this is the gold standard of Swan Lake(s) - ultimate Swan, all Swan, Swan to die for. Makarova, Murphy, Osipova, Somova - they pale beside this masterpiece. Read more
Published on October 10, 2011 by Gordon Ackerman
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Document of Incredible Performances
I would have to agree with many of the previous reviews, that the quality of the photography and sometimes the sound isn't all that great, and that the lighting is not adequate to... Read more
Published on June 14, 2011 by Lesley M. Schultz
5.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to Maya Plisetskaya.
Despite poor lighting, marginal sound, a lack of sets and mind numbing assaults on the choreography of Petipa and Ivanov by Yuri Grigorovich, Maya triumphs. Read more
Published on June 22, 2010 by Thomas E. Ascher
5.0 out of 5 stars Swan Lake Maya Plisetskaya
The VAI will be presenting a historical version of the ballet Swan Lake. Music by Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petipa (First and Third Act) and Lev Ivanov (Second and... Read more
Published on January 25, 2010 by Ali Hassan AYACHE
5.0 out of 5 stars A common man's point of view.
My next two ballet reviews are going to be about twin ballets. I call them twins because they are so similar. Read more
Published on December 1, 2009 by Richard Rawls
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