Le Corsaire (Kirov Ballet) (1989)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Listing-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1989|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Colin Nears|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Its origins are from a poem by Byron written in 1814 called The Corsair. This work is a tragedy whose main character is Conrad, a pirate who leaves his home and his love, Medora, because of the pain he suffered as a youth. This pain is not explained in the poem. After a time, Conrad is wounded and captured by the unmerciful Pasha Seyd who threatens him with torture and death. Seyd has a concubine, Gulnare who falls in love with Conrad, murders Seyd and releases Conrad only to be killed in the process. Only pausing briefly to give Gulnare a single kiss, Conrad sails home to Medora only to find that she too has died while he has been away.
The first performance of Le Corsaire as a ballet was in 1837 at the King's Theatre in London. The choreography for the performance was by Francois Albert and the music composed by Nicholas Bochsa. In that performance, the original story was re-worked somewhat.
The next re-work of this ballet was by Joseph Mazilier, whose version was first performed in 1856. The music in this version was from Adolphe Adam and it was performed at the Paris Opera to unexpected success. In this version, the tragic ending was replaced with a happy one and the character Medora was re-worked to become a major feature.
The story was again adapted in 1858 by Jules Perrot who added several new dances and cast Marius Petipa in the title role. Petipa, an emerging choreographer, loved this ballet and created several versions of it starting in 1863 and finishing in 1899. The version presented on this DVD is essentially the same as Petipa's final, 1899 version.
In this translation, performed by The Kirov Ballet in 1989, there are three acts plus a prologue and an epilogue. The following is a synopsis by act.
I recently saw the New Zealand Ballet Company perform Dracula, which I enjoyed immensely. I was keen to see another ballet and to see how this art form would translate to DVD. The music, choreography, costumes and set design in this Le Corsaire are all very good. I particularly enjoyed the first two acts where I think the story is stronger. The prima ballerina Altynai Asylmuratova is a real stand out, being very graceful and dynamic. This is a large production, performed on a large stage, with a large company and would no doubt have been a wonderful experience live. Sadly, this DVD doesn't do it justice. Read on to see why.
This transfer is taken from a low quality source, in this case video, and suffers greatly as a result. The image is VERY soft. There are several examples where the details of a performer's face cannot be clearly distinguished - see 6:52-7:00 and 14:41-14:47 for examples of this. There is another section in which the brightness level fluctuates slightly and the sharpness level varies between a tight shot and a long shot, see 17:42-18:00 for an example. Because of the soft image, detail levels are low. This is a shame as the costumes looked like they were quite detailed and beautifully made.
This ballet is set in Greece during the Turkish occupation and the costumes reflect this. For much of the performance, the dancers have bare legs and midriffs which, in a better transfer, would allow you to see how much effort goes into making their leaps and turns so graceful. Having seen ballet live, I can tell you that the dancers work very hard indeed!
Despite its humble video origins, shadow detail is acceptable as is the black level.
Colour saturation and contrast are subdued but in the appropriate ball park, as are skin tones. The costumes are largely earth colours, which is just as well as the moment a strong red is shown, in this case against a blue background, bleeding occurs (see 16:37-16:50 and 27:48-27:56 for examples of this artefact).
I noticed one occurrence of analogue video tracking marks during the period 67:38-67:44. It occurred in the background and so would most likely go unnoticed during normal viewing. There are several periods in which pixelization can be seen on the outstretched arms of performers. I noted some at 16:41 and again between 23:12-23:20.
The audio quality fares much better than the video although that isn't really saying much. It is hard to actually write anything about this soundtrack. The most I can say is that it is utilitarian. It sounds not dissimilar to the cheaper classical CDs that are released by labels such as Naxos, Belart and Adagio.
Being stereo, the music is firmly locked to the front of the soundstage. I noticed very little use of the two channels to highlight different instruments or parts of the orchestra. You can clearly hear applause, woo hoos and Bravos as well as minor thuds from jumping dancers. In this regard the soundtrack accurately reproduces what you experience at a live performance.
Nobody asked the subwoofer to do anything, so after about 15 minutes it went to sleep and stayed that way!
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output|
|Display||Grundig M70-281. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Mains and Rears: Tannoy Mercury M1. Centre: Tannoy Mercury MC. Subwoofer: Polk Audio PSW-120|