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Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker / Kirov Ballet (1994)

Larissa Lezhnina , Victor Baranov , Victor Fedotov  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Larissa Lezhnina, Victor Baranov, Piotr Russanov, Kirov Ballet
  • Directors: Victor Fedotov
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: Unknown (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Philips
  • DVD Release Date: December 12, 2000
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000051VS3
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,914 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker / Kirov Ballet" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Opera conducted by Victor Fedotov and featuring the Kirov Ballet and Orchestra. Stars Larissa Lezhnina, Victor Baranov and Piotr Russanov.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid performance with minor weak spots November 11, 2005
Format:DVD
This is an enjoyable, straightforward performance of the Nutcracker Ballet, which I'd rate very good overall in terms of dancing, music and video composition. It is important to point out that this version, choreographed by Vasily Vainonen (libretto by Petipa), follows a slightly different storyline that the most common version. In this performance, the Sugar Plum Fairy is absent, and the role of Drosselmeyer (Piotr Russanov) is far more prominent. I won't quibble with which interpretation of the ballet is better than which other one; the story is intact and very recognizable, and a different twist here or there shouldn't keep anyone from enjoying this.

On the positive side, the amazingly clear and bright orchestral music (played before a live audience) was superb, to the point of actually being moving. I'd be pleased with this as a CD. The Kirov dancers all performed admirably, and the lack of any major standout in the cast didn't detract. The pas de deux with Masha (Larissa Lezhnina) and the Prince (Victor Baranov) was very well done. A welcome surprise was the Dance of the Mirlitons, performed by three young and impressively skilled students of the Vaganova Dance School.

On the downside, there were a few instances of image framing that cut the dancers off at the knees, which I consider a faux pas because ballet videography should make every effort to capture a dancer's entire form. The result was some missed footwork. The only glaring annoyance arose during the pas de deux (the highlight, it figures), which was marred by the waving silhouettes of the conductor's hands intruding into the field of view. Unfortunate. Also, the DVD menu is without a chapter selection mode, so that a reference back to the liner notes must be made in order to jump to a specific scene.

All things considered, the few negatives are far outweighed by a fine show. This Nutcracker is likely to please most everyone.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent traditional Nutcracker March 22, 2004
Format:DVD
With the complete absence of videos from the major Russian ballet companies after 1992/3, this live recording at the Mariinsky Theatre of Vassili Vainonen's "Nutcracker" as danced by the Kirov Ballet in 1993, has now attained the status of treasurable rarity. Headed by that magnificent little jewel Larissa Lezhnina (long since a leading ballerina with the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam) and the charming Viktor Baranov, this recording gives a fair idea of this particular production which remains since its creation in 1938 one of Russia's most beloved "Nutcrackers". Part of Vainonen's lasting appeal is his ability to devise a choreography which superbly matches Tchaikovsky's at times monumental musical inspiration. The masterful Waltz of the Snowflakes, the Waltz of the Flowers, and the final Grand Pas de deux are excellent examples of his art.
A remarkable asset of this performance is the presence of the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, conducted by the incomparable Viktor Fedotov, one of the most able ballet conductors of our time.
Good video transfer and excellent digital sound.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful staging, but I have some reservations. November 28, 2005
Format:DVD
This production of Tchaikovsky's evergreen ballet "Nutcracker" is very fine, but I have some reservations about the camera work. This is a wide screen production, and having a small (13 inch) television makes it difficult to watch, as many shots are taken from a distance to see the dancers on stage interacting with each other, and in a counterpoint to one another - the architecture as a whole. I suppose the answer would be to buy a larger TV set, but this is hardly cost effective to playback of one DVD...

That said, the Kirov orchestra plays very well under conductor Fedotov, and the precision of the dancers is very engaging, especially in Act 1. I was impressed and intrigued with the dancing of Herr Drosselmeyer. The "Dance of the Snowflakes" and "Waltz of the Flowers" are beautiful and very moving. However, in Act 2, tempos seem really slow, especially in the "Dance des Mirlitons" and the omission of "Mere Gigone and the Clowns " (The old woman who lived in a shoe) seems curious to me: it's one of my favorite pieces from "Nutcracker" and I was disappointed not to see/hear it in this production.

Still, the sound is top notch digital, warm and enveloping, and it would sound terrific on Surround Sound systems. There is much to enjoy here, and I recommend this DVD with a few reservations.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Every time I play this DVD the orchestra seems to play better than the previous time. The winds are just amazing. On the other hand, the choreography, by Vasily Vainonen, is excellent, and Lezhnina and Baranov are superb in the main roles.
The only drawback of this DVD is its "below average" picture quality, which may be somewhat improved by watching it in "cinema mode" (if bright colors are enhanced, then the figures acquire a ghost or shadow). But the quality of the performance more than makes up for this drawback. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Ballet of All Time February 14, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The content of the DVD was amazing, but the only flaw was that I could not play it on my computer which has DVD playing capability (Sound was coming out but had static-ish display). Could only play from a DVD player connected to TV.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kirov's elegant Russian Nutcracker September 22, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
In this 1994 DVD, Viktor Fedotov conducts the Kirov Ballet in a live performance of the traditional Russian version of The Nutcracker, featuring Larissa Lezhnina, Viktor Baranov, and the Kirov's renowned corps de ballet. Despite shortcomings in video quality and also the need to explain what the Russian Nutcracker is and is not, this is among the handful of best Nutcracker productions available to home viewers.

Obviously, the now-20-year-old video is not as sharp as today's Blu-rays. Plus, some DVD players and TV sets might have trouble accommodating the 1.85:1 aspect ratio (the product page identifies the aspect ratio as 1.33:1, but the DVD says 1.85:1). Aside from these drawbacks, some primitive, hokey computer graphics are employed in the journey to the Land of Sweets. Such were the limits of the era.

So, then, what is a traditional Russian Nutcracker? First, we need to look at the original libretto Tchaikovsky set to music for ballet master Marius Petipa's 1892 staging of The Nutcracker, which nobody nowadays seems to follow.

In it, the Stahlbaum family is hosting a Christmas Eve party, at which their daughter Masha (the Russian diminutive of Maria) is given a nutcracker doll by her godfather Drosselmeyer, a toymaker and magician. After bedtime, Masha sneaks downstairs to check on the doll. The clock strikes midnight, Drosselmeyer appears, threatening mice come out of the woodwork, the tree grows to enormous heights as the Mouse King emerges in his evil glory, and the nutcracker -- grown to life size -- leads his soldiers into the fight.

To help protect her endangered nutcracker, Masha throws her shoe at the Mouse King, distracting him and enabling the nutcracker to stab the wicked ruler and force his minions to retreat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful production
I bought this as a gift for a friend who is a ballet enthusiast. She enjoyed it very much. It's a lush and romantic production.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Nutcracker
My granddaughter absolutely loves it. We also have a copy. In my opinion this is the best version I have ever seen. The set decoration, costumes and scenery is breath taking. Read more
Published 7 months ago by W.A.Mozart
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Classic
This is my favorite Nutcracker. It has been loved in our house for many years now. When we switched to DVD, we tried to transfer the old tape, but it had blue-out areas and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Delivery and Efficient Service
Great video of a beautiful traditional Nutcracker. I will enjoy watching it over and over again during the next few months right up to Christmas.
Published on June 12, 2009 by Fury Darlington
5.0 out of 5 stars A common man's point of view.
There are folks in my town who have no idea what "The Nutcracker" is all about, nor do they know that there is even a ballet called "The Nutcracker". Read more
Published on January 6, 2009 by Richard Rawls
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely but Somewhat Lethargic
The sets are gorgeous, music and sound is fantastic, the costumes are very well done overall, although I agree with the other criticism of the Nutcracker looking ugly and not like... Read more
Published on December 26, 2007 by C. Lopez
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
My 2 year old daughter loves this DVD!! She puts on the Nutcracker anytime that she thinks of it and dances, marches, and twirls! Great entertainment for both parents and kids! Read more
Published on January 17, 2007 by L. Grigaitis
3.0 out of 5 stars No one mentioned these things....
I read all the reviews for this DVD, and chose it based on that; I had decided not to go for the "star" power of some of the others, and this one sounded good. Read more
Published on December 27, 2006 by Terry L. Bolo
5.0 out of 5 stars best by far
I regard this version the best by far of all Nutcrackers. It makes clear that the ballet is about a young girl's awakening to sex. Read more
Published on December 24, 2006 by Diatonic
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