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Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / Maya Plisetskaya, Bolshoi Theatre

4.4 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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(Jul 29, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

...As Odette she is passionate. As Odile she is alluring. - NY Times

As a record of a great artist in her prime, this Swan Lake is a treasure. NY Times

Swan Lake tells the timeless tale of redemption through love. It is probably the best-known, best-loved of all the classical ballets, and, for the prima ballerina who dances the dual role of Odette and Odile, the supreme test of the dancer's craft.

Maya Plisetskaya's melting lyricism and superlative technique make her one of the greatest exponents of the dual role since the ballet's first production over a century ago.

Tchaikovsky's score, the first in his triumvirate of great ballets, is the perfect complement to the imaginative choreography that sets Swan Lake apart from anything that had preceded or has followed it. This production, filmed live at the Bolshoi Theatre, captures a great ballerina in her prime in an eternal classic.


Odette/Odile...Maya Plisetskaya

Prince...N. Fadeyechev

Evil Spirit...V. Levashev

Jester...V. Khomyakov

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Tchaikovsky, Maya Plisetskaya, Yuri Faier
  • Directors: Z. Tulubyeva
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: KULTUR VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: July 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00197YZA4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,657 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have watched many live and video performances of this ballet and this is the one version I find myself returning to time and time again. There is something so dramatically compelling about the way Makarova and Dowell interpret their roles that my attention is held in a way that perhaps more technically proficient renderings of the roles could not. Makarova and Dowell in the leads are ultimately the most satisfying interpretations I have yet witnessed.

Makarova's dancing is a wonder to behold; her magisterial, liquid adagio dancing in the Act II grand pas deux was of course, a given. Makarova's dancing was possessed of a unique physicality, a way of moving that made it seem as though her arms and legs were radiating a plush and limitless stretch. One could almost see an energy field originating from the centre of her body and pulsing out through her arms and legs and emanating far beyond her head, hands and feet. There seemed to be a mysterious and boundless stretch to Makarova. Baryshnikov too, had this "mysterious stretch" in his dancing. And Makarova's hands, what magical and bewitching worlds can be conjured from a pair expressive arms and hands! Watch, at the coda of Act II when Makarova's Odette runs towards Dowell's Siegfried, and is caught in his arms and lifted high above his head. With a ripple of her arms, the well-timed arch of her back, neck and head, one could almost believe Odette would take flight right then. The moment is breathtaking and for that moment, time might as well have stopped.

What has continued to surprise me is Makarova's Odile. In this act Makarova, physically, becomes a whole other creature.
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Format: DVD
A glorious 'Swan Lake'.

This is a movie version of Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' filmed in 1990. The performance is done by the Kirov Ballet and stars Yulia Makhalina and Igor Zelensky.

There are many positives regarding this DVD and only one minor negative...let me explain.

The good:

1.)This is one of the most beautiful renditions of this ballet I've ever been privileged to witness. Makhalina is a vision of loveliness and her skills, designating her as a prima ballerina are not hard to spot. Her spins and balance are flawless and her sense of timing with her partners is perfection itself.

2.)Prince Siegfried is danced by Igor Zelensky (a dancer unknown to me prior to this performance). I felt his emotional response to his role was a little flat, BUT his spins and leaps (especially in his solo in Act II) were breath taking. The height and hang-time of his leaps were reminiscent of Baryshnikov in his prime; his leaping spins were exquisitely performed and fully completed.

3.)The costumes and sets; simply sumptuous...enough said.

4.)Camera work and position of shooting angles was, with a couple of exceptions, well done and resulted in visual pleasing presentation on this DVD.

The Negative: (singular)

Whether you like a recorded performance with or without a live audience is, of course, a personal preference. However, I felt this work sorely missed the spontaneous response that is only obtained with a live audience. Within this DVD you'll be witness to some of the most incredible skills in the form of a pas de deux or solo dance(s); but then, the music would end, the dancer(s) would hold their finishing poses and...nothing...just dead, disquieting silence.
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Format: DVD
Historic performances must be evaluated utilizing entirely different criteria from those applied to contemporary works. To judge a recorded performance from the past using modern audio-visual standards is to entirely miss the point of historic art preservation. Even precious snippets of performances, however poor the quality, enable us to time travel back to an earlier era in which artistic practices were markedly different from today's. These differences, however, in no way diminish the gifts and genius of earlier talents.

These older and sometimes extremely rare artifacts are a spectacular opportunity for those of us who appreciate having these otherwise lost cultural treasures salvaged and preserved.

In this case, we have the legendary Maya Plisetskaya - youthful, beautiful, and phenomenally flexible, charismatic and dramatic, in the quintessentially Russian Swan Lake.

The sound and picture quality are by no means inadequate. It is a stunning experience just to be able to see Plisetskaya in her milieu at the Bolshoi, creating two completely different characters - one vulnerable, magical, the other seductively evil and predatory. Her gracefulness, her almost supernatural ability to incarnate the soul of a bird, make the cuts and audience shots irrelevent.

In fact, for those who truly appreciate history - cultural and political as well as artistic - this video is priceless. We see the Soviets at their propagandistic best. It's as if we're seeing two videos - one an historic ballet performance starring one of the 20th century's immortal artists, the other an adroitly executed and subtle propaganda film - in which the well-groomed, appreciative audience from all classes in this classless society is as much a part of the performance as the dance.
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Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake / Maya Plisetskaya, Bolshoi Theatre
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