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The Kirov Celebrates Nijinsky / Sheherazade, La Spectre de la Rose, The Polovtsian Dances, The Firebird

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Mikhail Fokine was Diaghilev's chief choreographer 1909-14 and he is considered to have been the creator of modern dance. This sparkling Russian gala features four Fokine ballets, all associated with Nijinsky. Recorded live from the Th+ª+¢tre du Ch+¢telet.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Svetlana Zakharova, Farukh Ruzimatov, Zhanna Ayupova, Igor Kolb, Islom Baimuradov
  • Directors: Mikhail Fokine
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Color, Dolby, Anamorphic
  • 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: February 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006SSQ6Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,724 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Fowler on February 18, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It is ironic to watch the Kirov Ballet perform works that were not seen in Russia at the time of their original creation. [The exception is the Polovtsian Dances] All are well presented and performed.

The gem of the DVD is the production of Sheherazade -- the Bakst decor and costumes are ravishing. The performances chew the scenery without having it actually fall down! I enjoyed Svetlana Zakharova's aloofness because it symbolized,for me, her position as the favorite wife. There was an intentity underlying her coolness, which made her final moments even more effective. I think Fokine would have liked her performace for its dignity & restraint. As performed by Zakharova & Farukh Ruzimatov, the central duet between Zobeide and the Golden Slave sizzles, perhaps a bit more "hands on" than in the first performances of 1910 :)

The downside of the DVD is the lead performance of Firebird. Compared to the old [currently unavailable, alas] Royal Ballet version with Margot Fonteyn [who was coached by the original Firebird, Tamara Karsavina] the Firebird of Diana Vishneva is pale. Her performance was more ballerina than bird. You didn't see her desperation or struggle in her attempts to escape the Prince's clutches. The steps are all there, but as danced by Vishneva they don't make dramatic sense.
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The four ballets presented by the Kirov are all based on the original designs for Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, and the jewel-like colors leap off the screen. (The costumes for Sheherezade and The Firebird especially seem to be inspired by the jeweled eggs of Faberge.) The dancing is indeed technically accomplished -- perhaps too much so, since the bodies that Michael Fokine had to work with were probably not quite this flexible (just a theory). I've read the posted reviews on this site, and they had valuable things to say: I find myself wavering somewhere in between.

Scheherezade seems to be the least choreographically accomplished, taking a while before the dancing really kicks in, and when it does, the moves seem quite repetitive at times, especially in the long central pas de deux. (Sometimes it seems like there are long stretches of filler material.) Still, I've only read about it up to now, so it was good to see it.

Le Spectre de la Rose is a mood piece more than anythng else, and the performance here is quite good. So what if Zhanna Ayupova forgets to close her eyes: other famous theatrical sleepwalkers keep their eyes open as well, notably Shakespeare's Scottish Lady in the play and in Verdi's opera. Otherwise, how would she know where she was going? (And don't forget Balanchine's sleepwalker in La Sonnambula.) This sleepwalker gets the romantic mood right, and that's what matters. Igor Kolb as The Spectre is appropriately androgynous, and although I found his leaps graceful, they didn't seem quite effortless.

I saw a production of Prince Igor in New York some years ago, and the ballet was the best part.
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The Kirov dancers not only have formidable technique, they know how to use it. The dancers are all beautiful but sincere and dance honestly. Especially notable is their joy of folk dancing in this DVD. It captures the true spirit of dance, which is joy. I can watch this over and over and never tire of the beautiful dancing of the Russians. To me, the two jewels of this recording are the Firebird and Spectre de la Rose. I imagine what Nijinsky must have looked like as the spirit of the rose. The Russian man has amazing flexibility, which is only seen in male dances who start training young enough to develop it. The choreography of this is brilliant, as is the choreography in the Firebird. The firebird is a true animal spirit, which Nijinsky has captured in his ballet. A very entertaining DVD.
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This is a very good video for people who are interested in getting ballet on video. It includes four short ballets, each in a different style and by a different composer, and all excellently performed. Unfortunately, it does not have the story of any of the ballets, which makes it hard to follow the action for anyone who is not already familiar with these ballets. If they had included a synopsis I would have rated it 5 stars.
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This is one of the best purchases I ever made! The music, the dancing, and the selection of pieces all complement each other to provide for a true beautiful performance. My favorites at this point are Sheherezade and La Spectre de la Rose. I really like to wake up and whenever I can watch them because they have so much positive energy and beauty about them. Highly recommend it!
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The quality of the taping was superb....sound, picture clarity. I've seen some recording of live ballets that were pretty awful in sound and picture. As for the perfomances themsevles.....it was good, not great. The Kirov is considered to have the best Chore in the industry, yet they were hardly on stage. All in all, it's not a bad purchases if you are a ballet enthusiast.
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By Kelly on April 4, 2008
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I purchased this DVD with excitement to see Svetlana Zakharova's performance as I am a loyal and devoted fan, and this video does not disappoint! Svetlana is truly amazing. I must admit though, (and I truly hate to admit this) i think the costume choice for her was a bad one. I found myself focused on her ribs showcasing themselves every time she moved, as she is one of our more delicate beauties of ballet. "Le Spectre De La Rose is a little dull in my opinion, but the celebration glo's with talent in the other performances. Vishneva is a lovely "Firebird". I would've liked more emotion from her, but her beautiful extensions, and striking beauty more than make up for it. This DVD is a ruby to add to any collection of gems!!!
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