In celebration of the premiere of Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) in Paris in 1913, this new edition in a DVD-book presents a wonderful Stravinsky night at the Mariinsky (ex-Kirov) with the original Nijinsky version of The Rite of Spring and The Firebird, both conducted by Valery Gergiev.
The premiere of The Rite of Spring at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, in May 1913 caused a veritable scandal. The audience was shocked by the primitive violence of the ballet. It was so radically rejected that the ballet was taken off after eight performances. Although long forgotten, thanks to the relentless work of Millicent Hodson, Nijinsky's original choreography was recreated.
Read more The Firebird is a Russian folk tale in two scenes, with a ballet score commissioned by Diaghilev and premiered at the Paris Opera House in 1910. The ballet was an immediate success. The Ballets Russes enabled the choreographer Fokine to bring to his enterprise the right amount of novelty needed to captivate but not clash with the audience. It was a total success. Read less
Works on This Recording
Le sacre du printempsby Igor Stravinsky
St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1911-1913
Firebirdby Igor Stravinsky
St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: Russia
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Wonderful ProductionsDecember 18, 2013By Joe S. See All My Reviews"There is a recurring theme in the arts that if you try and reconstruct something ancient using modern resources, you end up with something new entirely. By trying to recreate the experience of ancient Greek theater, both opera and the music of Harry Partch emerged. Neither got the original experience perfectly right, but instead created something new with their resources. The same thing happened when Stravinsky and Nijinsky tried to recreate the experience of the inhabitants of ancient Russia. They certainly didnt recreate it exactly, but what we got out of it was The Rite of Spring, one of the greatest ballets ever. The Mariinsky Orchestra and Ballets performances of The Firebird and The Rite of Spring on DVD is a great performance that highlights a similar process that went into these works reconstruction. With no video documentation of the original productions, the choreography was painstakingly reconstructed from sketches, diaries, and reviews of the original productions. The process of reviving these works parallel their artistic inception. As someone who has more familiarity with Stravinskys music, the choreography especially stood out. While Stravinskys music on its own can be a freewheeling beast in the concert hall, the performances and the interviews on this DVD reiterate that the choreography was what really elicited the violent, riotous reaction from the audience. The music projected very well on TV speakersI could hear the winds very clearly and that was really great for me. If youre familiar with the Firebird suite, you might get thrown off by the pacing of the themes in the unabridged work, but overall its still quite enjoyable even if youre just listening and not watching. From the choreography side, if youre looking for a DVD for your 4-year-old daughter who likes ballerinas to watch, this is not the thing to get. While there are some traditional Swan-Lakey kinds of gesturing, especially in Firebird, a lot of the dancing is angular, gyrating, almost-epileptic movement. Dont get me wrong, its AWESOME, but its not traditional. I was in awe at the physicality of these dancers, especially of the crotchety yet powerful King Katschei in Firebird. There are some flubs that make it into the final cuts of these performances, like an apple being dropped on the stage that gets in the dancers way during Firebird, but chalking them up to the variability and excitement of live performance, you can easily get past it. The supplemental material, including interviews with the artistic team that mounted the production, is informative and not overly long. This material focuses on the choreography, and not so much on Stravinskys compositional process, but its still a great resource for musicians, dancers, and amateurs alike."Report Abuse
StunningOctober 2, 2013By Robert E. (New York, NY)See All My Reviews"Stunning and brilliant performances from all involved in every aspect of these performances. Truly, a revelation not to be missed. Maestro Gergiev's interpretations of Stravinsky's music are indeed magical and should be the decisive benchmark for all time."Report Abuse