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Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote
Ludwig MINKUS (1826-1917)
Don Quixote, ballet (1869)
Orchestration and Adaptation by John Lanchbery
Choreography by Rudolf Nureyev
Natalia Osipova (Kitri/Dulcina); Leonid Sarafanov (Basilio); Christian Fagetti (Espada); Vittoria Valerio (street dancer); Giuseppe Conte (Don Quixote); Gianluca Schiavoni (Sancho Panza); Matthew Endicott (Lorenzo); Riccardo Massimi (Gamache); Nicoletta Manni (Queen of the Dryads); Serena Sarnataro (Cupid);
Ballet Company of Teatro alla Scala
Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala/Alexander Titov
rec. live, Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 2015
Video Director: Patrizia Carmine
NTSC 16.9 Colour Region Code 0 (worldwide) PCM stereo DTS 5.1
C MAJOR 735708 DVD [120:00]

Rather than cover the very solid ground that was Rob Maynard’s wittily acerbic, in-depth review of this recording, I would rather concentrate on my impressions of the DVD version of this production that I received for review. Rob had the Blu-ray equivalent and was not too impressed with its production values. I will compare the DVD with the Carlos Acosta/Marius Petipa Don Quixote production on Opus Arte Blu-ray OABD7143D.
My first query (rhetoric?) was whether the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the Nureyev production were filmed simultaneously from the same cameras. C Major give the same date for both so perhaps one should assume that the same cameras were used for both sources. I did not discern any of the visual judder that disconcerted Rob. What disappointed me more was the dismal colour filming of the apparently drab costumes of the dancers in Act I. The costumes, lighting and set are so much more appealing for the Acosta/Petipa production.
There is no denying the fabulous dancing of Osipova and Sarafanov. As Rob wrote: “Their signature performances in Russia, and on sell-out tours wowed audiences worldwide and won rave reviews.”  He seemed to be in two minds as to the chemistry between the two principals – Sarafanov may sometimes have seemed to be more concerned with his technique so as not to let his fair partner down but they exchanged many smiles and I felt a genuine affection passing between them. Rarely have I seen such accomplished dancing, such grace, such vigour. Minkus’s music was given the once-over by Lanchbery and it is true that certain ‘mickey-mouse’ embellishments could be wince-making on repeated viewings. The Martin Yates arrangement and orchestration for Carlos Acosta admirably suited story and location. The Teatro Alla Scala corps de ballet with the solo dancers in the second act vision scene were all grace and precision. Don Quixote, himself, as Mr Maynard amusingly commented, was more “away with the fairies” than usual. Second leads Christian Fagetti as Espada and Vittoria Valerio as his capricious street dancer did not really let themselves go but then who could shine in the shadow of such brilliance as that displayed by Osipova and Sarafanov? On the Acosta production I singled out the “joyous and charming dancing of Ryoichi Hirano and Laura Morera as Espada and Mercedes.

Watching this DVD I was initially prejudiced in favour of the Acosta/Petipa production but the sheer beauty and incandescent energy of Osipova and Sarafanov won me over to such an extent that I found myself sitting on the fence between the overall appeal of the Opus Arte DVD and the brilliance of the principals of this new but overall disappointing Teatro Alla Scala production; never mind the even worse RAI filming and editing.

Ian Lace

Previous review (Blu-ray): Rob Maynard



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