Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake
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But there's more. Margot Fonteyn was one of the greatest ballerinas ever. In 1961, when Nureyev famously leapt to the West, a partnership began that many have described as miraculous. Fonteyn's age was fairly transparent here. Certainly the technique maintained a high level of purity and style. Even though the roll was trimmed to accomadate the way of all flesh (Fonteyn was 47 when this was filmed!) and she probably was even more breathtaking at her peak, this performance will not dissapoint anyone but a moron.
Sadly, the corps here is weak and the orchestra disappointing. This is why it lost a star from me. Because the corps is so vital to this ballet, and Tchaikovsky's music so fine, you'll probably want another Swan Lake if you can only have one. But if you're a seeker for heart-melting beauty, you'll have to get it if only for Nureyev.
Nureyev had transformed the role of the male dancer, but it was Fonteyn in my opinion who held the essence of ballet. So of course I bought this video as a record of her art.
At first viewing I found the close up Nureyev a little narcisstic but this did not detract from the quality of the first act.
I was overwhelemed with the dancing in act two and the rapport between Odette and Siegfried has never been matched. Fonteyn's dancing is simple, precise, and without affectation. There is no over extension which one sees today and which I find rather more suitable to the gymnasium then the stage. Her placement is extraordinary, the poise of her head and lovely port de bras that has even tho this day no equal. As an example see her in Les Sylphides in the Prelude solo (An Evening with the Royal Ballet) when just running her arms move as though there are no bones!
Her first entrance captures the whole essence of the ballet. A swan queen who has been tranformed into a graceful young maiden. One is not aware of technique so wll absorbed is it into the whole performance; wonderful arabesques and balances culminating in the great pas de deux which should be mandatory viewing for any aspiring Odette. Not to be copied but as an inspiration for elegiac dancing.
In the third act Fonteyn subtley portrays the role of Odile-with flashing eyes and and a different poise of her head. After all Siegfried has to be able to recognise that this must be Odette, the woman to whom he has sworn undying love in act two.Read more ›
Makarova's 1988 version derived from Petipa and Ashton, and mounted for the London Festival Ballet, offers the standard Prince who poses, prances, and rarely dances, and is such a pathetic fellow that one cannot imagine dying for him. Nureyev complained, "The Prince sits on his ass for thirty-five minutes and then has to walk," (instead of dance). Discerning a deeply sinister mood in Tchaikovsky's music Nureyev added psychological depth to Swan Lake by introducing an unhappy ending in which Seigfried drowns in his struggle to be reunited with Odette. The Prince's obsession with the Queen Of Swans, the ideal woman, destroys him. Thus the emphasis of the drama is on Seigfried rather than Odette, and for him to be seen as a tragic figure rather than a mere pawn demanded the first rate character portrayal that Nureyev brought to his dancing.
Totally recasting the brooding passive Seigfried into an active character Nureyev introduced the Prince into the first act birthday entertainment normally danced by two girls and a boy. Nureyev recast this for two girls, two boys, and himself, dancing with them separately, together, and with energetic outgoing solos for himself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For Swan Lake, this was an ideal partnership and I have not seen a better performance of this ballet anywhere, ever since. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tahseen Nakavi
I expected more dancing from this celebrated couple. The finale in particular drags on and on; not much dancing. I found it quite dull.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
THE DVD is excellent. It is one of my favorites , and Tchaikovsky is "Top Shelf" with me. I have almost every thing he has created . . .Published 12 months ago by Constance L. Vadnal
It's romantic classicism at its best. If you've never seen Fonteyn and Nureyev dance, their style is more lyrical than the more showy exhibitionist style we see today, and it is... Read morePublished 16 months ago by glo
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