- 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: 16 Nov 2010
- Run Time: 104 minutes
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- ASIN: B00421HAQK
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Elite Syncopations/Judas Tree/Concerto
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MacMillan's vision has been vital in shaping The Royal Ballet's style and repertory, and what better way to appreciate his art than with this rare chance to experience three contrasting works in a single performance. Abstract, dramatic, humorous - this programme gives a wonderfully varied introduction not just to MacMillan's work but to the beauty and dramatic power of ballet itself. Concerto, to Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto, contrasts moments of exuberance and elegiac reflection. The Judas Tree places a single woman among 13 men to enact a harrowing event that is recognizably contemporary but with biblical overtones. Elite Syncopations completes the programme with a sparkling evocation of a dance hall that brings ragtime rhythms to the dance, and a ragtime band to the stage.Works
Works: Concerto (Shostakovich); Elite Syncopations (Joplin and Others); The Judas Tree (Elias)
"There has never been a choreographer that I can think of who could produce three such contrasting works, and you sit watching in wonderment at the fertile imaginings of his mind." (The Daily Telegraph)
"It's grisly, and yet horribly exciting in its momentum, as the men show off to each other like skateboarders, flinging themselves into barrel turns while knotting and unknotting their legs." (The Independent)
"As far as I am aware there are no other versions of Elite Syncopations or Concerto currently available on DVD and as mentioned these are significant works in the MacMillan canon so pretty much an obligatory purchase for admirers of his work. As a programme this strikes me as an excellent triple bill as diverse in its emotional range as it is accomplished in its technical excellence from every department. " (Musicweb International)Cast
Sarah Lamb (Elite Syncopations)
Steven McRae (Elite Syncopations; Concerto)
Carlos Acosta (The Judas Tree)
Leanne Benjamin (The Judas Tree)
Edward Watson (The Judas Tree)
Marianela Nuñez (Concerto)
Rupert Pennefather (Concerto)
Yuhui Choe (Concerto)
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Dominic Grier; Robert Clark; Barry Wordsworth
Company: The Royal Ballet
Choreographer: Kenneth Macmillan
Catalogue Number: OA1038D
Date of Performance: 2010
Running Time: 104 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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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
And yet all too often it isn't, either because (in the case of good companies) we can only afford so much or because there is not enough worth taking the time to go to. Given my ambivalence, it is understandable that I approach each new DVD with a lot of doubt.
Well, no doubts linger with this wonderful DVD.
First the company itself: The Royal Ballet. For live performances, I would hate to make a choice between the New York Ballet performing Balanchine and the Royal Ballet performing McMillan. But on DVD, the choice is simpler. Without a live stage, without the thrill of being in the moment, Balanchine's pieces just do not have the same emotional impact, likeable though they may be. But -- at least on this DVD -- McMillan's emotional movements come through with stunning power, even when the choreography is as abstract as his interpretation of Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto.
Only one of these three pieces comes close to being a true story ballet in the sense of a Romeo and Juliet or Giselle: The Judas Tree. And yet, Judas Tree will prove the most inaccessible for most watchers. Driven by a relentless contemporary score, the "story" is amibiguous, disturbing, sexual and suggestive. Of the three ballets, this is the one viewers will return to the least ... and yet many will return, indeed, trying to read below the surface, trying to understand beyond the dancing. It is not a piece easily abandoned. The dancing itself is too convincing. Casual, strong with modern dance elements, yet never letting go completely of its balletic roots, Judas Trees holds the watcher in place, even when we want to leave the piece and move on to something more comfortable.
And, yes, there is more comfortable. An impeccably balanced DVD of a night at the ballet, we are given two much more accessible works bracketing Judas Tree.
The lead-in to the evening is Elite Syncopations, a totally playful interpretation of ragtime music, the dancers delightfully costumed, the set simple and attractive. Presented as a day of dancing, various characters and groups meeting and dancing and flirting and dancing and showing off and dancing and ... well, you get the point. Nothing groundbreaking in this approach; what matters is the perfection with which this is realized. Tiny emotional nuances are what makes this more than mere dancing. And if Balanchine's nuances are in the area of visual delight, then McMillan's nuances (and that of the splendid Royal Ballet) are those of emotional delight. We know these people! Their foibles, the humor and/or pathos of their characters as they dance past us on the stage.
The close to the evening is the abstract realization of Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2. The music itself is terrific and needs no dancers. Playful and compelling, the music is among the best of Shostakovich. But here, McMillan uses his dancers like a microscope, revealing the composition in ways our ears alone won't, done so well as to have a sense of inevitable rightness. It will be hard for me to ever listen to this piece again without wishing to see these dancers in front of me. Without any real story to tie it together, there is still a remarkable cohesion and emotional expression in the choreography. And the dancers bring only brilliance in their interpretation.
As for the camera, it is almost perfect. A few times, the feet are cut off when we wish they weren't, a close-up misses a pan we wish we could have seen instead. For that reason alone, I might have only awarded 4 1/2 stars or 4 3/4. Don't worry. This is a DVD not to be missed!
The Judas Tree is well danced by very accomplished performers, but the subject matter is disturbing; as it was intended to be. This should probably be watched at a different time than the other two selections on this disc, as the moods are so different.