Notes and Editorial Reviews
Return of the Firebird presents film recreations of three of the most celebrated Ballet Russes premieres from Paris in the early years of the twentieth century. They are headed by The Firebird, whose performance brought the young Igor Stravinsky overnight fame. In this, as in the other two ballets, the lead male role is taken by the charismatic young Russian dancer, Andris Liepa, who also conceived the project and directs these films. Accompanying The Firebird is Petrushka (Stravinsky's next success) and Scheherazade, Fokine's ballet set to the popular score by Rimsky-Korsakov. Both the original films (shot in Moscow's celebrated Mosfilm Studios in the early 1990s), and this DVD, were produced in Russia, with the DVD benefitting from
gorgeously colourful animated menus. In addition, there is a 17 minute 'bonus' film, consisting of a compilation of on-set rehearsal footage.
Composers: Igor Stravinsky, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Works: The Firebird, Petrushka, Scheherazade
ARTISTS: Andris Liepa and stars of the Bolshoi Ballet
R E V I E W S
"...a dazzling film version of three favourite ballets from the Diaghilev Ballets Russes seasons in Paris.
Based on Michael Fokine’s choreography, these are expansive Mosfilm studio recreations, directed by Andris Liepa, who also dances Petroushka, Prince Ivan & Shakhriar. The Firebird is updated to modern fantasy film expectations, with more terrifying monsters etc, and even though it is put out in 4:3 format, there are three dimensional illusions (especially in the preliminaries). The filming is impressive with sumptuous costumes and fine sound for these three key scores, making for an irresistible entertainment.
The Petrushka will, perhaps, repay repeated viewing even more, with 'puppets' that make you care about their quarrels and fates, and both the Stravinsky scores are, of course, of such brilliant inventiveness that I cannot feel I shall ever tire of them.
Rimsky-Korsakov's score for Scheherazade is not on the same level, and in the concert hall gains from the wizardry of the greatest conductors. But it serves well as an accompaniment to dance for this luscious, over-the-top orientalist extravaganza, and it is invaluable to have these three famous ballets brought together. Excellent value is increased with an unusual extra, a charming sequence of 17 minutes rehearsal footage catching the dancers off-guard in informal moments and providing a behind the scenes impression of the preparatory work for making the film..."
Peter Grahame Woolf, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Firebird by Igor Stravinsky
Period: 20th Century
Pétrouchka by Igor Stravinsky
Period: 20th Century
Scheherazade, Op. 35 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Written: 1888; Russia
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