Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ballet Review: Raymonda

LittleBallerina: Ballet Review
Raymonda (Documentary) By Paris Opera Ballet

This is the 1st time i watched a Documentory of Raymonda on DVD. I was fascinated to find out that Alexander Glazunov's music was just fantastic, I love very beat of the music! Do you know that Glazunov's music is being used in many RAD Graded syllabus? Familiar tunes reminded me of my ballet class. =)It is, quite simply, brilliant. It was one of the most varied, colorful, and interesting scores in the entire history of ballet. As interesting to hear as to dance to, including an innovative finale in which the prima ballerina dances to a solo piano with only occasional interjections from the winds and pizzicato strings. I find myself humming to the tunes while i watched the DVD.

This DVD is a documentary about Rudolf Nureyev, the ballet legend's version of Raymonda. He was appointed director of Paris Opera Ballet in 1983. In the film, it features Nureyev rehearsing as well as talking to the press about his work, but more important, the reactions and reminiscences of dancers who worked with the legend. Among the great stars who appear in the film are Fanny Gaida, Elisabeth Platel, Sylvie Guillem, Isabelle Guérin, Laurent Hilaire, Charles Jude, Manuel Legris, Elisabeth Maurin, and Kader Belarbi.

Raymonda was wonderfully choreographed by Marius Petipa. I especially enjoyed the fantastic rehearsal scenes of dancers of Paris Opera Ballet. Sometimes, I almost prefer watching dancers in rehearsals in their simple leotards and tutu (simplified, pure line, clean work), than in elaborate costumes and head accessories (No doubt, they do add dramatic and stage effects)

Raymonda is such a technically challenging, extremely artistic ballet. As one ballerina put it, in most choreography you have a little “breathing room” between dances, but in Nureyev’s staging you went from whirling in one scene to a six-minute Adagio of extraordinary difficulty. “All you want to do is rest for a minute, and you have to control your body for what seems like an eternity!” she lamented.

In case you have no idea what Raymonda's story is about. Let me tell you briefly, it tells the story of Raymonda, a beautiful noblewoman who is engaged to marry the Crusader Jean de Brienne. During her lover's absence the wicked Saracen knight Abderakhman attempts to abduct her, but she is saved by the intervention of a protecting spirit, the White Lady, whereupon Brienne returns to slay his rival. The lovers' joyful marriage is celebrated by a lavish Hungarian divertissement. One of the highlight of Raymonda is the Waltz Fantastique.

Watching this DVD left me wanting to see a complete Paris performance of Nureyev’s Raymonda. Can't wait!