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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Spoerli: Dance & Quartet [Hagen Quartet/Zurich Ballet] Blu-ray Review


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(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Disc and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.)

The Film



Put aside your preconceptions about classical ballet for a moment. Music takes its origins from the dance, and here we get three Heinz Spoerli takes on some iconic string quartets now transformed into string quartets with … dance. For those used to hearing full orchestra and seeing big stage ballet moments, this will be a new experience. Approaching the choreographer’s take on Janacek, Dvorak and Schubert, these three ballets (each lasting about 30 minutes) drill down to the dramatic essence of these small-scale chamber works. Assisted by a corps de ballet second to none, the Zurich company with the world-renowned Hagen string quartet gives us 90 minutes of pure pleasure. Watching the incredible athleticism of the dancers, in perfect sync with the four players, is soul-stirring and uplifting. A 2012 performance from the Salzburg Festival, there are more magic moments than can be counted.

Video Quality



Arthaus Musik clearly has some top-notch videographers in their stable and we get some of their best efforts here.  Ballet is a difficult form to cover, but the cameras understand their subjects and we, lucky viewers, are the beneficiaries.

Audio Quality



Stage noise is relatively minimal, unusual for ballet, and the string quartet is most clearly reproduced. A win-win for all involved. The 5.0 surround version places musicians and dancers in a much better environment than the 2.0 alternative.

Supplemental Materials



There is a nice brief booklet on the ballets, worthwhile reading for newcomers, and trailers.

The Definitive Word




Three string quartets of the last 150 years get new life in the ballets choreographed by M. Spoerli. Classicists may not appreciate the degree of difficulty that these dance routines require but, being trained in classical dance, I can relate to what these performers put out on stage. There is much to enjoy and I would encourage viewers who want to see the future of ballet to check this one out.

Additional Screen Captures

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