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Caravaggio

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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(Jun 30, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Dancer Vladimir Malakhov leads the Stattsballett Berlin in this production of Claudio Monteverdi's opera Caravaggio, as adapted by Italian composer Bruno Moretti and choreographed by his creative partner, Mauro Bigonzetti. The Staatskapelle Berlin performs the music under the direction of conductor Paul Connelly.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Monteverdi, Connelly, Malakhov, Semionova
  • Directors: Morrell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: June 30, 2009
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0027DQH82
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,290 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Bolender on July 18, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This could have been beautiful. I don't doubt it would have been very nice to have seen it live on stage. But the DVD is ruined by someone's bright idea that the editing should be as rapid-fire as possible. Every 0.3 to 0.5 of a second, the perspective changes. And the perspectives are wildly different from one another: one fraction of a second, you are right in a dancer's face. The next fraction of a second, you are far away as though near the audience. The fraction of a second after that, you are directly over the dancers -- and you are spinning around! And it's relentless. What did the filmmaker think this would achieve? Long movement lines are ruined. A lot tension is created, and for no reason. The only way to watch this is to freeze frame it, which does produce lovely silent images -- while obliterating the music, sadly. All that work put in by choreographer, dancers, composer, etc. botched by a filmmaker who doesn't know how to film dance.
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Step 1: Get over the misinformation and pedantry. The disc booklet, listing the 17 sections of the ballet, includes the titles Journey to Rome, The Tooth Extraction (ye gods!), Young Musicians, The Cardsharps, Dispute and Duel, and the three titles of the Saint Matthew Triptych. All that is absolute rubbish, and a stumbling block for the viewer. Below, I outline the progression of Acts I and II. But first, let's riffle through my little notebook:

Posted on the backstage bulletin board: "Caravaggio (1571-1610) was a leading practitioner of chiaroscuro, sidelight dramatically bringing his figures out of the enveloping gloom. He plunged right into his canvas, without preliminary sketches, and absolutely needed models, maybe low commoners right off the street. Temperamental, argumentative, and belligerent, he was a brawler and a terror. As a 'killer,' he stayed away from the Eternal City in his last four years, dying of malaria in Porto Ercole 90 miles away."

Thanks to TV director Andreas Morrell, assisted by a director of photography and six cameramen, the ballet was filmed and edited as a movie (ever refreshing your vision) where the faces, the upper torsos, the hands do make a difference. You will see ten times what the premiere audience saw from the orchestra and three horseshoe tiers. An inspiration is the overhead camera(s) which gives you the wings of an angel.

Amauro Bigonzetti, choreographer, born 1960 in one of the rougher sections of Rome, danced professionally for ten years, then switched to choreography because he believes a ballet company should develop from within rather than depend on guest stars. He's fond of his corps of young dancers, and spreads them throughout Act I and they jump and spin for joy.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The choreography by Bigonzetti and music of Monteverdi arranged by Moretti provide an extremely rich vehicle for an outstanding ballet performance by Vladimir Malakhov, Polina Semionova, and the Staatballett Berlin. I discovered it by chance on YouTube and watched that twice. The result was buying this DVD of the same performance. Yes, I have watched the DVD several times too. The pas de deux work by Semionova and Malakhov is mesmerizing. The whole company is extremely talented, and the performance hangs together well.

The staging imitates the style of Caravaggio in its use of very harsh cross-lighting of the subjects to emphasize the texture and shapes. This too pulls in the viewer, isolating the surroundings. The video work is outstandingly good too, giving the DVD viewer more than anyone in the audience could have received. There are long shots for context, close shots for personal connections, and extreme close ups to show the movements of very expressive hands.

The story is dark from the beginning, and act II becomes even darker as it unfolds various events in Caravaggio's life with connections to his paintings. However, this is not a historical narrative; there is a lot of imagination mixed in, as if, perhaps, the nightmares of Caravaggio.

This is a modern piece of work, but it is fine classical ballet, with a few modern elements mixed in occasionally. If you like ballet, this is something you must see.
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Format: DVD
The elements of the artist Caravaggio's tumultuous life, his artistic achievement, and historical perspective, are all reflected in the DVD of the Berlin State Ballet's DVD production of Caravaggio, choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, with a new score by Bruno Moretti drawn from the early Baroque music of Claudio Monteverdi.

Michelangelo Merisi (1571-1610) was the innovative, famous, notorious Renaissance painter known as Caravaggio, taken from the Italian village in which his family lived. Though he lived only a brief life, art history points to Caravaggio as having a profound influence on the new Baroque style of art that exploded in the early 17th century after his death. This Italian master of "darkness and light," or chiaroscuro painting, frequently depicted vivid, real images of intense emotion, bathed in light against dark backdrops. Such elements are to be found reflected within Berlin State Ballet's production based on Caravaggio's life and art, but with intentional modern twists. Caravaggio's influential impact on the development of Western art was only rediscovered 300 years later, in the 20th century, and the ballet's creators wanted this rediscovery to be incorporated, and it is, perhaps too much. I approached the ballet with high expectations based on the facts: that it featured an important subject figure from Italian Renaissance art, musical material drawn from an important Italian composer, but within a one-decade shadow of the 20th century in which the artist was rediscovered. I expected an interpretive ballet that reflected Caravaggio's life and aesthetic, in modern language full of curiosity, implied dramatic threads, and stunning imagery. In Caravaggio's supporting elements, its score and creative designs, it delivered.
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