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The Penguin Cafe Orchestra [DVD Video]

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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(Jan 29, 2008)
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$18.57 $31.36

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Penguin Cafe Orchestra Directed by Andrew Harries Under its leader and composer Simon Jeffes, this ensemble has been making its own idiosyncratic brand of music since the mid-1970s, drawing on classical and avant-garde sources, as well as pop, folk and ethnic forms, with instruments ranging from the piano, cello, violin and drums, to the ukelele, electric guitar and penny whistle. A studio recording of performances by the PCO is punctuated with interviews in which they discuss their original and eclectic style. This programme celebrates the music of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra which, in the words of Simon Jeffes caters for an audience "capable of enjoying Wilson Pickett, Beethoven, the Rolling Stones, choral music from West Africa, Bach, Stravinksy, Irish bagpipe music and even Abba on the odd occasion".

Review

A delightful opportubity to revisit one of the most imaginative projects in recent music history. -- Audaud.com

The most cheerful and amusing new ballet at Covent Garden for well over a decade. -- The Times

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Simon Jeffes, The Royal Ballet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, Spanish, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: January 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Y351ZC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,667 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of this ballet for years, ever since seeing it on A&E channel about 15 years ago. For a long time, it has been available only on VHS or LaserDisc. Finally, it is availble on DVD. The video quality is not perfect, because it is just a copy of the 1988 tape, but it is good enough ... just dont expect HD quality.

The music is tuneful, fun, foot-tapping. The ballet is not too long (44 minutes?). The costumes are fantastic. The dancing is great, the environmental message is understated.

Simply stated, this is one of the best dance pieces ever created, and it deserves wider attention.
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Verified Purchase
Let me start out by saying that I think the title of the DVD should more strongly emphasize the Royal Ballet performance of "Still Life at the Penguin Cafe," which is what my review is about. I believe that any ecologically concerned person should have this DVD Video in their collection. It not only carries a very meaningful message, it does so in the most sublime and artistic manner. The music is quite catchy and the dancing is of the highest caliber, as you would expect from the Royal Ballet. I had the wonderful experience of seeing a live performance of this magical ballet when it first premiered at the Metropolitan Opera House many years ago (the early '90s)and I was so impressed that I immediately purchased a LaserDisc (the only quality video format available at that time) of the same performance that is now on this DVD. You can imagine my delight when I happened on this DVD while browsing on the net. Highly recommended, primarily and especially for the ballet.
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I reviewed this a few years ago under the VHS section even though my copy was on lazer disc. The content of this DVD is easily worth 5 stars, unfortunately the video quality is not as great as I had hoped it would be on a DVD release - But I would never want to be without this magnificent work in my collection.
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After seeing snippets of this ballet on YouTube, i decided to buy it. It instantly became one of my all-time favorite works. I love the music, the choreography, the costumes, the characters, etc. I love everything about it. My favorite piece is the Texan Kangaroo Rat. I showed sections of this ballet to my students, and they also loved it. (I had to skip the scene of the family, because the mom is topless!) I had my students choose a ballet to study and write an essay about for a history/appreciation assignment, and this was by far the most popular choice. Well worth the price!
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Verified Purchase
The Penguin Cafe orchestra documentary was a little bit too arts channel and earnest for me but the ballet is delightful with the company performing very interesting choreography very well. Each section represents a particular extinct animal and it was certainly enjoyable. Recommended to both ballet and modern dance lovers.
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I had seen but a single number of this ballet - the zebra - in a Royal Ballet Gala, together with other excerpts from various ballets and I remember I found the number very interesting. I later bought the VHS tape with the complete ballet. I honestly don't care very much for the music. It's simply adequate.. But the ballet is another matter. It begins with a group of people having fun in a cassino and slowly develops into a series of character numbers describing animals - and a South American rainforest family of natives - in the brink of extinction. The vocabulary is ecletic - ballet, folk, social dances - but the numbers are all very expertly choreographed and danced. The ballet ends with a huge rainfall, and we notice that they have all - humans and animals - taken refuge in an ark...

Ballets with ecological subjects are rather uncommon, and this is one of only two I know, the other being "Plains daybreak" by Erik Hawkins, also a beautiful piece.

If you're the kind who likes to take untrodden paths, why not try tis one?
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