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Adam: Giselle [Bolshoi Ballet/Grigorovich] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.970Hz)
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: BelAir Classique
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 26, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:3.5/5]

A staple of most of the world’s major corps de ballet, Alphonse Adam’s Giselle is a medieval tale set in the Rhineland. Giselle, a peasant girl, falls in love with Duke Albrecht, disguised as Loys, a commoner, who seeks out some final flings before his marriage to the princess, Bathilde. Hans, a gamekeeper, and in love with Giselle, tries to derail this relationship.  Eventually, Hans  reveals the true identity of the Duke, driving Giselle to madness and death. Duke Albrecht finds Giselle’s grave and begs her forgiveness. as she dances for him. Hans is pursued by the Wilis who drag him to death in the lake. When these evil spirits are about to do the same to Albrecht whose pleas for mercy to the Wilis’ Queen Myrtha are in vain. Giselle saves him by professing her undying love and returns to a peaceful grave at the ballet’s conclusion.

This Bolshoi Ballet Blu-ray comes from 2011 performances that feature Yuri Grigorovich’s reworking of the venerable Marius Petipa choreography. For those familiar with the older versions, you will note the omission of some mimetic action, and reordering of the first act pieces. The principal dancers Svetlana Lunkina (Giselle), Dmitry Gudanov (Albrecht), Vitaly Biktimirov (Hans), and Mria Allash (Myrta) are all in good form, and the corps de ballet, up to the usual high Bolshoi standards. The Bolshoi Theater Orchestra receives expert direction from its young principal conductor, Pavel Klinichev. Videography serves the dancers well, and while much of the second act action has a bluish cast, this creates an effective atmosphere for the mythic nature of the tale.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

There are expert cameramen at work here. The capture of the solo, small ensemble and large company shots are excellent. There is good balance between close and distant shots. As mentioned, while the first act is in bright color, the second is clothed in a bluish hue. The image details are good without being etched, and the sense of movement is conveyed appropriately.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The excellent house acoustic is well portrayed here with stage noises, so common in ballet, kept to a minimum. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack has good ambience and just a touch of audience noise that gives a live quality to the recording.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

No extras are included.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

The BD Giselle field is already pretty crowded with entries from the Netherlands, Paris, and Royal Ballet companies. Although this Bolshoi production calls upon its time-honored tradition of Russian dance, the current production suffers a bit in comparison with its competitors both on the counts of the Grigorovich choreography and the performances turned in by its two principal dancers, Lunkina and Gudanov, neither of whom is in the same league with their counterparts in Paris or London. Of course, those with longer memories would want to see the second coming of Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn, unfortunately not captured in high-definition video during their peak years. While this Giselle is a perfectly serviceable performance, the Dutch and Paris versions are noticeably better and either would be my first go-to BD.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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