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Tchaikovsky:Swan Lake [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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(Jun 29, 2010)
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Product Details

  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Naxos of America
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003O1SINS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,521 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I've seen several productions of "Swan Lake", and I have to say that this is far and away probably the best one around. Peter Wright's updated staging takes the classic tale of love and magic and turns it into an exquisite Gothic tragedy. The ballet opens with the funeral of Siegfried's father, a narrative touch overlooked in other stagings. As the prince faces the twin impending dooms of kingship and marriage (as his mother tells him, "You WILL marry"), his friend Benno tries to cheer him up with wine, women, and dancing. When that doesn't work, they decide, in classic male fashion, to go shoot something with Siegfried's new crossbow. The rest of the story proceeds along familiar lines: the meeting of Siegfried and the enchanted swan-princess Odette, Siegfried's entrapment by the sorcerer Von Rothbart and his disguised daughter Odile, and the final reunion of the lovers in death.
What sets this production apart is its magnificent staging and excellent performances by the artists of the Royal Swedish Ballet. Anders Nordstrom is a boyish Siegfried who seems to mature as we watch, until he makes the final step into adulthood with his pledge to die with his beloved. Johannes Ohman is a hoot as sidekick Benno; watch his chagrin in Act I when the Queen discovers the court carousing after the King's funeral. He and Nordstrom are also very fine dancers, effectively displaying their prowess in the Act I pas de trois (now a dance with two courtesans) and the Polonaise, which becomes a bravura drinking dance for the men. Nathalie Nordquist is a lovely Odette, delicate and lyrical.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I just bought two DVDs of the Swan Lake. One is the Barenboim, Scherzer, Matz, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin (I will soon write a review for that one) and the one on this page. The both are very good. The one on this page has stunning costumes and stage sets. The sections with the white swans are magnificent and Nathalie Nordquist is absolutely stunning. She dances with impeccable technique and superlative expression. Her swan is a joyful one rather than a dejected, oppressed bird. In addition, the camera work is extremely rewarding with a very clear picture and rich color. The sound is very clear and the orchestra plays well. Since I am a professional musician, I have compared the music in this DVD with the Barenboim, Scherzer, Matz, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. The Barenboim is a musical experience in itself. The music is so well performed that one could play it as a music source without the video and find it very rewarding. You can't say the same about the Swedish orchestra in this DVD, but if you are watching the video and not comparing the orchestra with a superlative performance, the production is very enjoyable.
This DVD is sure to remain one of my favorites and recommend it to anyone interested in a Swan Lake performance. Nathalie Nordquist and the swans make it totally worth the purchase and the time spent watching the performance.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As some one who is an expert on ballet(I am a ballet dancer), let me assure you that this is one of the top five performances of Swan Lake available. The dancing of the entire company is extremely accurate and lyrical. The use of mime is the best I have seen in any Swan Lake. This is characteristic of Scandinavian traditon(the company director is proud to point out the contribution of the great Danish ballet choreographer of the 19th century, Bournonville, to the Royal Swedish Ballet in one of the many interviews on this dvd). The choreography is very well thought out and rehearsed. The performance is fresh and vibrant, while still being classical and traditional. The dvd is also very nicely packaged with a large and informative booklet. If you are looking for a traditional Swan Lake performance, don't pass this one up!
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Format: DVD
I was looking for a performance of "Swan Lake" that would give me both musical and visual satisfaction and at the same time would be suitable for watching with children. I've seen many productions of this ballet but each had some problems. The magnificently conducted performance from Berlin (on Arthaus) was well danced but didn't convince me in its overly psychologizing dramatic approach. The cruelly abbreviated performance from Moscow with the fantastic Maya Plisetskaya was a great document but musically almost unbearable. Another Bolshoi performance, with Bessmertnova and Bogatyrev, gorgeously staged, danced (apart from Bessmertnova who seemed too mechanical to me) and played, was somewhat messy in its treatment of the libretto. There were some other performances, including Nureyev's and Fonteyn's, that somehow didn't work for me.
For many reasons, the Swedish Ballet's "Swan Lake" seems to me close to perfection, even if it isn't perfectly danced and - as some reviewers mentioned already- is certainly not the most rewarding musically. The orchestral playing is crude and often heavy (very prominent brass), particularly when compared with the luxurious playing of the Berlin Staatskapelle under Daniel Barenboim on Arthaus. Yet the conductor (Michel Quéval, otherwise unknown to me) seems to understand the dancers and leads them sensitively, if not always beautifully.

The corps de ballet respond to the music in a way that I don't think I've ever seen before: they really dance to the music, they seem to listen to it and respond with their steps. I am no great expert on ballet but what strikes me often, even in some very good ballet performances is the discrepancy between the music and the dance, the rhythm and the steps.
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