Notes and Editorial Reviews
Note: This Blu-ray Disc is only playable on Blu-ray Disc players, and not compatible with standard DVD players.
Hans Werner Henze
(Blu-ray Disc Version)
Ondine – Miyako Yoshida
Palemon – Edward Watson
Berta – Genesia Rosato
Tirrenio – Ricardo Cervera
A Hermit – Gary Avis
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Barry Wordsworth, conductor
Frederick Ashton, choreographer
Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, June 2009.
- Illustrated synopsis
- Cast gallery
- The Making of Ondine – an interview with Hans Werner Henze
Picture format: 1080i High Definition
Sound format: LPCM 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Menu language: English
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish (bonus only)
Running time: 114 mins
No. of Discs: 1 (BD 50)
Barry Wordsworth, cond; Miyako Yoshida (
); Edward Watson (
); Genesia Rosato (
); Ricardo Cervera (
); Royal Op House O
OPUS ARTE 7064 (Blu-ray: 114.00) Live: London 6/3,6/2009
Interview with Hans Werner Henze; cast gallery
received its world premiere by the Royal Ballet in October 1958. Choreographer Frederick Ashton conceived the story about a human’s inconstant love for a water sprite primarily as a vehicle for Margot Fonteyn. After selecting Hans Werner Henze as composer, Ashton envisioned
to have a romantic ambience and watery feel with a contemporary score. Henze’s music is early 20th-century Middle European postromantic in style, and even hearkens back to the world of Mendelssohn. Almost inevitably with the images evoked by the sea and a water sprite, there are some vaguely Impressionistic elements, but nothing that is remotely reminiscent of Debussy and
Although there are plenty of gentle dissonances, the easily accessible, even cinematic music is not particularly forbidding, but you will not hear any hummable melodies in a Tchaikovskian sense, either.
frequently sounds like a relentlessly minor-key
Sacre du printemps
on Valium. In other words, it lacks the shock value and dramatic impact of
Le Sacre du printemps
even when the drums are pounding. The orchestration is excellent and usually interesting (for example, an energetic, almost Leonard Bernstein-like piano divertissement and a duet for harp and celesta). No doubt
is a major full-length ballet that conjures up its own sound world that is at times brilliant but remains emotionally chilly given the romantic subject matter and stage action.
Frederick Ashton’s choreography is designed to evoke images of the sea: “I wanted the movement to be fluid like the rhythm of the sea rather than set ballet steps. In general, all the choreography has been inspired by the sea. I spent hours watching water move and have tried to give the choreography the surge and swell of waves.” The interaction of the dancers and the sets in act II with painted scrims reproducing the effect of a ship riding on waves climaxed by the concluding storm scene is truly amazing and perhaps unprecedented. Unfortunately, Henze’s music does not quite match the stage action in the storm sequence.
Miyako Yoshida may not be Margot Fonteyn but her dancing is fluid and graceful, and she evolves effectively into a tragic figure. Edward Watson appears to be the Royal Ballet’s go-to guy in modern dramatic ballets. As in
, his acting is the primary focus. His dancing is more lyrical than physical here. Yoshida and Watson generate considerable chemistry onstage. Their pas de deux in acts I and III are very affecting. Ricardo Cervera is smoothly athletic but not particularly menacing as Tirrenio. Barry Wordsorth conducts the Royal Opera House Orchestra effectively.
The Blu-ray visual images of the spectacular stage action play a crucial role in this production. In the accompanying Henze interview, the aging composer reveals himself to be a charming and humble man as he discusses the genesis of
in his home in Italy.
is highly recommended for anyone interested in moving outside of the mainstream of classical ballet. For those of you with little or no interest in dancing,
is available in a complete Deutsche Grammophon recording played by the London Sinfonietta conducted by Oliver Knussen.
FANFARE: Arthur Lintgen
Works on This Recording
Ondine by Hans Werner Henze
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1956-1957; Germany
Date of Recording: 06/2009
Venue: Covent Garden, London
Be the first to review this title