Glazunov - Raymonda / Bolshoi Ballet, Ludmila Semenyaka, Irek Moukhamedov
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Out of the three DVDs of Raymonda out so far (this, another Bolshoi one with about 20 minutes cut from two years later and a classic Kirov performance from 1980) this is probably the place to start, although the Kirov has a lot to recommend it as well. Grigorovich's staging is largely exquisite although I don't like some of the changes made to the original (which he'd later elaborate on--currently the Bolshoi cuts the White Lady completely when they perform Raymonda). What really makes this release preferable to the other Bolshoi recording is the cast--which is just a little bit better, with the exception of Ludmila Semenyaka who is a LOT better than the Raymonda on the other release, Bessmertnova who was a decent talent but too old and miscast in the role. Semenyaka is divine as Raymonda--which is good because the role seems to have more solos than any other ballerina role in the classical repertoire.
Glazunov's music likewise tends to divide people, but I think it's the greatest 1800s ballet score after Tchaikovsky--it may take a few more listens but its gorgeous medieaval themes will sink into your head. This DVD isn't perfect--the videotape source shows its age, the lighting isn't idea for filming in some dark scenes, and the sound lacks some oomps (and even briefly fades in and out for a minute in Act III, due to degraded video source), but we should be happy for what we have especially of this oft negelected ballet. Highly recommended.
"You don't want that one," another customer (an older lady) admonished me.
"O, why not?"
"It's not that great a ballet. I'm a ballet teacher. It doesn't have very many advanced moves. Also the story is not very interesting."
"OK, thanks for letting me know."
Well hell, I don't attend the ballet for the plot ... that is simply a little spoon to deliver the caviar, isn't it? I did want to hear Glazunov, that child prodigy who composed his first symphony at 16. Also I was in the mood for a true Russian ballet done at the Bolshoi, and this was just about the only item that fit those parameters. So I waited until the friendly lady had gone, and bought it :)
Well, I wasn't disappointed at all. True, it is not an explosion of fireworks from beginning to end, but it was calm, relaxing, colorful (yes, much more than blues & grays), and exotic. I am glad to have it. If I had any reservations at all, perhaps it was a little too dark in places, in fact, there were a few times it was totally black. However, I'm pretty sure it was actually dark or black on the stage at those times, not a matter of poor videography.
Again, extremely happy to have made the purchase (although it cost over double what it goes for on Amazon! At least the difference benefits San Francisco Ballet!)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although i have two other DVD of the same subject with Bessmetnova and Kolpakova,when a new o different version is available, the enjoyment restart, in this wonderful art of... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Denaro Francesco
I've been making a conscious effort to aware of the beauty of ballet and to know the various ballets that are most worthwhile... this was more than a pleasant surprise... Read morePublished on February 9, 2013 by matl234
this bolshoi version of raymonda is beautifully done. my only criticism is that the videography is uneven...not only the framing but the lighting. but the dancing is marvelous.Published on July 5, 2012 by dippy
The whole ballet takes place in a dark blue scenario that does not change throughout the 146 minutes that lasts the ballet... Read morePublished on March 3, 2010 by Marx Lives
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