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Posted May 31, 2012
Natalia Makarova's production of La Bayadère has been featured several times on video in the past, notably in two separate releases of the Royal Ballet. Her choreography, and the re-orchestration of Minkus' music by John Lanchberry, do away with the best parts of the famed classical ballet, practically ruining these (such as the corps de ballet in various acts, the butchering of the final 'lost' act, and the doing-away of the beloved folk dances). Nevertheless, the production still has its magical moments, complemented by the sets and costumes, which look excellent in the parameters of the La Scala.
As for the dancers - Svetlana Zakharova is a jewel amongst stones. Her technique, artistry, looks, and acting all culminate in one of her most-renowned roles. As for Roberto Bolle, he continues to show off his perfectly square body and clean technique, while completely ignoring any artistic inclination whatsoever. While the corps de ballet is decent, the demi-soloists in this ballet are lacking, as is Isabelle Brusson, in the role of Gamzatti.
The music is played and recorded wonderfully, though it's not the 'original' genius of Ludwig Minkus, re-done to oblivion by John Lanchberry. The video is filmed excellently, as well. I do have to bring to attention the error of the producers of this product; in the re-release, the DVD jacket lists La Bayadère under 'Opera'...
I'd recommend this DVD to fans of Zakharova and Bolle, but not necessarily to someone looking for the ideal La Bayadère.