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La Petite Danseuse De Degas [Ballet de l’Opera National de Paris] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 31, 2011
  • List Price: $45.98

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La Petite Danseuse de Degas (Paris Opera Ballet) -

Purchase La Petite Danseuse de Degas on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Edgar Degas’s sculpture La petite danseuse de quatorze ans, is an iconic exhibit in Paris’s Musee d’Orsay, attracting curious viewers since 1882. Starting as the inspiration for a full-length ballet, choreographed by Patrice Bart with a score by modernist composer, Denis Levaillant, La Petite Danseuse de Degas premiered in 2003. This 2010 Opera National de Paris performance bears testimony that ballet is still a vital art form in the new millennium. Briefly, the various scenes follow the story of a young ballerina from her beginnings in the conservatory, through a rapid awakening of her femininity and desires, with an eventual  descent into the demi-monde of Paris, crime, jail and, eternal life as a work of art. The principal ballerina, Clairemarie Osta, conveys the innocence and fragility essential to the realization of her character. She is ably supported by Benjamin Pech (the Man in Black), Mathieu Ganio (The Ballet Master) and Dorothee Gilbert (The Star Dancer). Unlike some recent modern ballets, La Petite Danseuse is aided by an impressionistic score in the styles of Ravel and Satie, peppered with surrealistic phrases, and mated with gorgeous choreography.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The camera work captures the kinetics of dance quite well, featuring a large corps de ballet alternating with numerous solos and smaller ensembles. There is excellent balance in the choice of shot selections, maintaining good focus on the dancers. The staging tends toward a darker visual pallet, but this is offset by beautiful period costumes. The overall effect is mesmerizing and what might have seemed like a static exercise, akin to a museum piece, emerges life-like and engaging.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Orchestre de l’Opera National de Paris, under Koen Kessels’s steady hand, deals with the avant-garde elements of the score and keeps the rhythmic pulse under good control. The DTS-HD Master Audio sound track is well balanced and given the frequently sparse orchestration, allows the solo instruments to be heard quite clearly. The microphones appear to be placed a little forward of the stage, which is to the advantage of the players and to the minimization of stage noise. Hall ambience is discretely carried through the surround channels.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Brief interviews with choreographer Bart, composer Levaillant, dance director Brigitte Lefevre, and author Martine Kahane provide some insights albeit not very profound, into the project of this ballet.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Considering its period of composition, La Petite Danseuse de Degas might be considered a “modern” work. However, both its choreography and score reside well within the traditionalist comfort zone. There is much beauty to behold here and viewers will come away, as I did, with the feeling that we were being treated to a contemporary masterpiece. I was tempted to recall Sunday in the Park with George as an analogical work inspired by a famous but static painting. In this case, the inspiration really comes from the notion of ballet as a relevant art form in its own right. The synergy between choreography, score, sets, costumes, and musical and video direction is evident throughout the 2 hours of this performance. While La Petite Danseuse de Degas might not displace Swan Lake or Giselle from most balletomanes’ primary affections, it will provide a most enjoyable evening of skilled dance.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004TWOX94[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B004TWOX94[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
La Petite Danseuse de Degas (Paris Opera Ballet) -

Purchase La Petite Danseuse de Degas on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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