- Format: Classical, Color, Multiple Formats, NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Naxos Deutschland Musik & Video Vertriebs-GmbH / Poing
- DVD Release Date: 25 Oct 2011
- Run Time: 120 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- ASIN: B005LVEFTA
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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
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Lewis Carroll's ever-popular story provides the basis for Christopher Wheeldon's spectacular new work, starring Royal Ballet Principal Lauren Cuthbertson. Captivating designs by Bob Crowley, an engaging and passionate score by Joby Talbot, and Wheeldon's breathtaking choreography combine to produce in the words of The Times "spectacular family entertainment brought to life with enormous theatrical verve."Press Reviews
"What a treat this is - such an imaginative treatment of a favourite story. There are extraordinary, eccentric sets and special effects; colourful, larger-than-life, argumentative characters and extraordinary costumes. Lauren Cuthbertson, as Alice, is excellent, her every movement suggesting the actions and emotions of this curious, spirited pre-adolescent... Christopher Wheeldon's choreography is very imaginative and fitting for every character." (Musicweb International)
Lauren Cuthbertson (Alice)
Sergei Polunin (Jack / The Knave of Hearts)
Edward Watson (Lewis Carroll/ The White Rabbit)
Zenaida Yanowsky (Mother / The Queen of Hearts)
Steven Macrae (Mad Hatter)
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Barry Wordsworth
Company: The Royal Ballet
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Catalogue Number: OA1056D
Date of Performance: 2011
Running Time: 120 minutes
Sound: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Subtitles: EN, FR, DE, ES
Label: Opus Arte
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Since Balanchine's death in April 1983 no choreographer has emerged to unambiguously don the mantle of genius. That may weigh heavily in Homans' calculations of ballet's future prospects. What we have had are glimpses of new styles of dance, of pastiche ballets, of a new irreverence that upends ballet's history. That playfulness that we signify as irreverence often toys with our expectations of what we think are the genuine artistic pretensions of modern dance versus what are merely a form of glamorous kitsch in motion. Mark Morris' ingenious and witty 1991 version of The Nutcracker, "The Hard Nut", is a landmark representative of several of these trends and the very embodiment of the new playfulness.
With the 2011 premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, based on Lewis Carroll's children's book for grown-ups, the various recent trends in ballet have been united in a masterful souffle. Instantly and dramatically obvious is that Alice is only possible in our multimedia era. And because of Alice's complexity, its presentation is unthinkable without access to robust computer technology. It features stunning stage designs, a barrage of kaleidoscopic scenery, gigantic three-dimensional human puppetry, film, video, shadow plays, trompe l'oeil imagery, urban architecture, landscapes, gardens, human hedgehogs and flamingos, imaginative costumes, hand puppets, dancers and an orchestra. Uniting these disparate elements must have been difficult.
Wheeldon's choreography - with its sly historic allusions to choreographers such as Martha Graham, Balanchine and (inevitably) Mark Morris, athletic or elegant dance moves created by Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, absolutely stunning tap dancing, the over-ripe glamour of Las Vegas show girls, Hip-Hop, ballroom dancing and disco - is endlessly inventive. Yet despite this rainbow of dance elements, Alice never feels like a pastiche. It is always an organic whole. Alice's choreography is spirited and fun and always a joy to watch. Especially remarkable are Lauren Cuthbertson's Alice (she dances the entire 70 minute first act, a test of endurance that leaves her with several large, angry looking bruises and scrapes) and Zenaida Yanowsky's deliriously funny Queen of Hearts. All of the dancers are superb, exemplifying why the Royal Ballet maintains such a high reputation.
Joby Talbot's music is distinctive and often quite beautiful. It contains elements reminiscent of Stravinsky, the British Pastoral composers, Brian Easdale's lovely score for the Red Shoes ballet, the film music of John Williams and Minimalist composers like John Adams. What it most definitely is not is a traditional ballet score as composed by Delibes or Tchaikovsky. Those who expect such a conservative score are advised to stick with their ballets. The set, scenic and costume design are all exemplary with work of the highest imaginative force and arresting visual beauty. Alice is a veritable feast for the eyes.
The Opus Arte Blu-Ray disc is a technical marvel of sound and image. The music is presented in 2-channel lossless DTS-HD Master Audio and is crystalline in its resolution and beauty of sound. The 1080i video is color saturated and lovely to see. What some reviewers have complained about, and a viewpoint I share to some degree, is the shot selection by the cameras. Much of Alice is filmed at middle distance or even further away with fairly frequent cutaways. I suspect this may have something to do with the large, crimson bruise that Lauren Cuthbertson suffered on her shoulder during the ballet. Cuthbertson never exhibits any discomfort (she is a consummate professional) but it cannot have been easy for her to dance so energetically hampered as she was. The director may have been compensating on the fly in order to minimize showing the injury to his star as she danced in every scene of the first act.
Alice suggests that ballet may be morphing into something new: a multimedia presentation incorporating imaginative use of all of the visual and motion arts. This may be where the genius of ballet will settle in the future. If so, ballet isn't dying; it is undergoing a metamorphosis into an entirely new vision of dance. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with all of its humor and beauty and complexity, may be remembered as the first masterpiece of an emerging genre of ballet. And it helps make the future of ballet look a bit less bleak to those who love the dance.
The dancing and the choreography is just wonderful. Although it is defined as a ballet in two acts, I would say that is a ballet with pantomime and acting together and that combination makes it even more enjoyable. The music is nice, modern while accessible. The use of extensive percussion makes it different than a “normal” ballet, but I find it effective and being part of the story. The use of projections and special lightning is very well executed and it adds to the enjoyment. Most of the story happens in Wonderland, so expect to be in a magic environment. The extra feature gives and insight to the creation process.
Strongly recommend this Blu-Ray. Watch it in the company of kids, you and they will enjoy it.