I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Don Quixote in Royal Ballet style

Ludwig Minkus: Don Quixote
Marianela Núñez – Kitri
Carlos Acosta – Basilio
Christopher Saunders – Don Quixote
Philip Mosley – Sancho Panza
Ryoichi Hirano – Espada
Melissa Hamilton – The Queen of the Dryads
The Royal Ballet
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Martin Yates
Production & choreography by Carlos Acosta
Opus Arte Blu-ray OABD7143D 125m (+12m features) LPCM Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio

Don Quixote - The Royal Ballet

Don Quixote – The Royal Ballet

The classic ballet Don Quixote, created in 1869 for the Bolshoi in Moscow by Marius Petipa and with music by Ludwig Minkus (Léon Fyodorovich Minkus), has always been the merry playground of choreographers, musicians and arrangers of all sorts. It is danced to this day in its most convincing form by the great Russian companies whose time-honored dedication and savoir-faire has resulted in a complete understanding of the ballet’s style and temperament. A 19th-century extravaganza, loosely based on Cervantes, which is now primarily an irresistible feel-good cocktail of sunny locations, some slapstick comedy and of course loads of supreme classical and character dancing.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Sinbad in the land of boredom

Adolphe Adam: Le Corsaire
Maria Guttierez – the Slave-girl
Davit Galstyan – the Corsair
Takafumi Watanabe – the Sultan
Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse
Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse/David Coleman
Opus Arte Blu-ray OABD7140D PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio

Le Corsaire from Toulouse

Le Corsaire – Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse

In the 19th century it was standard practice to alter, edit, reorder and interpolate scores written for ballet productions. Even Tchaikovsky who never allowed others to chop up his music didn’t escape it; after his death his first ballet Swan Lake was revived in a staging which radically restructured the score and added other parts of his piano music orchestrated by Riccardo Drigo. Contrary to the recent trend in ballet productions which tries to go back as much as possible to the sources (similar to the period performance movement in baroque/classical music, the original choreography, dramaturgy, stage design as well as the music are sourced), to this very day scores are still rearranged at will to suit the desires of choreographers and producers. This is not an easy undertaking, as one needs to confront and do better than guys like Tchaikovsky, Delibes or even lesser gods like Adam, Minkus and Pugni, and they usually knew quite well what they were doing. That not everybody is up to it is painfully proven again by this new production of Adolphe Adam’s Le Corsaire featuring the French Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse. Premiered in 2013, the production is now released on DVD and Blu-ray by Opus Arte.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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The Dutch National Ballet in The Nutcracker and Cinderella

Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
Clara Staalboom – Anna Tsygankova
Prince/Mr. Drosselmeyer’s nephew – Matthew Golding
Nutcracker – James Stout
Mr. Drosselmeyer – Wolfgang Tietze
Mouse King – Alexander Zhembrovskyy
Artists of the Dutch National Ballet
Holland Symfonia/Ermanno Florio
Choreography by Toer van Schayk and Wayne Eagling
Filmed live at the Music Theatre in Amsterdam, 2011
Arthaus Musik Blu-ray 108087 108m PCM Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio

Serge Prokofieff: Cinderella
Cinderella – Anna Tsygankova
Prince Guillaume – Matthew Golding
Stepmother Hortensia – Larissa Lezhnina
Stepsister Edwina – Megan Zimny Grey
Stepsister Clementine – Nadia Yanowsky
Benjamin – Remi Wörtmeyer
Artists of the Dutch National Ballet
Holland Symfonia/Ermanno Florio
Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon
Filmed live at the Music Theatre in Amsterdam, 26 December 2012
Opus Arte Blu-ray OABD7126D 139m (incl. bonus) LPCM Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio

Cinderella by the Dutch National Ballet

Cinderella by the Dutch National Ballet

The Dutch National Ballet, the sole classical company in The Netherlands, is doing well on home video. The Blu-ray/DVD catalogue of the Amsterdam-based troupe is steadily growing with interesting titles, often linked to the successful practice of live broadcasts in movie theatres. Both Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Prokofieff’s Cinderella are of course popular favorites, yet the Dutch productions boast plenty of individual qualities to justify their purchase. While cast in a traditionally classical mold, the ballets reviewed here are not only spectacularly staged with grand sets and magnificent costumes that benefit from the high definition transfer in widescreen, they are also splendidly danced.
Read the full review on Classical Net