Uwe Scholz, ballet director in Leipzig, was hailed as one of the most brilliant choreographic minds of his generation when he died in November 2004 at the early age of 45. His ballet “The Great Mass” is one of the most impressive works of this important neoclassical Choreographer - a requiem, a choreographic revelation and certainly his grand legacy to the Leipzig ballet. The full length Choreography, here recorded at the Leipzig Opera in a performance in June 2005, takes its name from Mozart's famous unfinished Mass in C minor. It absorbs the structure of the liturgy of the mass and adds other works by Mozart as well as passages of Gregorian chant, and sequences from contemporary music by György Kurtág, Thomas Jahn and Arvo Pärt and readings of poems by Paul Celan. Internationally famous soloists from the Leipzig Ballet, among them Kiyoko Kimura, Christoph Böhm and Oksana Kulchytska, take on the leading roles and the staging proves the ensemble to be one of the best ballet companies worldwide.
Respected American troupe Pacific Northwest Ballet take on equally revered choreographer George Balanchine's 1962 version of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Artistic director Francia Russell emulates Balanchine's intentions as closely as possible in this classic ballet combining Shakespeare's much-loved tale of love and magic, married to Felix Mendelssohn's energetic score.
The diversity of Wayne McGregors astonishing talent is demonstrated through Chroma, Infra and Limen, each created for The Royal Ballet, for whom he is resident choreographer. Intimate yet universal, light yet dark, frenetic yet lyrical, McGregor pursues his passion for exploring the inner workings of the human body and mind, his many-layered and beautiful dances providing visual, sensual and kinaesthetic stimulus for the viewer.
Giselle remains one of the most popular Romantic ballets of all time. The story brings together an engaging mix of human passions, supernatural forces, and the transcendent power of self-sacrificing love. The production by Sir Peter Wright catches the atmosphere of this great Romantic ballet, especially in the perfection of its White Act, with ghostly maidens drifting through the forest in spectacular patterns – one of the most famous of any scenes for the corps de ballet. Giselle dances with lightness and fragility, giving the impression of floating through the mist.
Ludwig Minkus’s Don Quixote has held a place in the repertoire since its premiere at the Bolshoi Theater in 1869. The music is charming and well orchestrated, but persistently a little bland. There are plenty of melodies, but none of them are particularly distinctive. This is certainly not Tchaikovsky or Prokofiev. The poor boy meets rich girl love story interwoven with the fantastic adventures of Don Quixote has attracted the biggest names in ballet over the years, with Marius Petipa’s original classical production being followed by Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and George Balanchine. Now, it is Carlos Acosta’s turn. His choreography is based on Petipa, but he has modernized it with his trademark physicality, and some new unclassical sounds (clapping, vocal exclamations) from the corps de ballet on stage.
Agnès Letestu, a feminine and warm Odette, and José Martinez, a convincing, pale, vulnerable prince Siegfried, are the stars of this deeply passionate, 'dream’ version of Swan Lake. Rudolf Nureyev’s interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s lyrical ballet, far from being a clichéd stereotype, is an exposé of astonishingly powerful and recognisable human emotions. Under the inspired and clear-cut musical direction of Vello Pähn, this production is one of the jewels of the Paris Opera Ballet’s repertoire. It brilliantly displays the meticulous precision, technical prowess and pure, unmannered style of the company’s unrivalled female corps de ballet.
Marius Petipa's 'The Sleeping Beauty' is one of the best loved of classical ballets, combining in a single work all the enchantment and virtuosity that ballet has to offer. The royal court, the panoramic journey of the Prince to the overgrown castle, and the great celebratory dances of the happy ending (in which other famous fairytale figures appear) are all brought to life by the luscious designs of this celebrated production, created in 1946 for The Royal Ballet. The inspired performances of its revival for the 75th anniversary of the Company in 2006, together with a magnificent High Definition recording, make this a superb tribute to The Royal Ballet's unique style and visual splendour.
The Firebird is an exciting one-hour dance special based on the mystical Russian folk tale of enchantment and love, and is set to Stravinsky’s fantastical ballet score. This adaption of James Kudelka’s masterpiece for the stage, combines classical ballet with magical visual effects.