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From the early days of this century, the Maryinsky Ballet, later the Kirov, dazzled audiences with the beauty of the dance. Five years research in Russia's archives has unearthed fascinating footage, much of it never before available in the West, of many of the company's great dancers including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Natalia Dudinskaya, and many others. Ballets featured include Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Raymonda and more.
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The Glory of the Kirov assembles footage from a variety of Russian sources--some of it, including moments from the early careers of famous defectors like Nureyev and Baryshnikov, was previously suppressed and thought lost. The Kirov Ballet and Opera of St. Petersburg, and their earlier incarnation as the Maryinsky, have always been the Bolshoi's principal Russian rival and an impressive nursery of talent. This profile includes silent footage of the Ballet Russe's Tamara Karsavina doing her barre exercises as well as a classic extract from Ulanova's White Swan pas de deux in the 1940s. The 1960s are heavily represented here with extracts from Glazunov's Raymonda and Khatchaturian's Spartacus as well as even more famous repertory like Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and Petipa's choreography for Le Corsaire, as well as two versions of Fokine's Dying Swan, one from Olga Moiseyeva and a performance from Makarova, whose sublimity almost makes us forget the tasteless arrangement of the Saint-Saëns score for strings and Hollywoodesque choir. This disc encapsulates the greatness of Russian ballet in its Soviet period as well as some of its lapses of taste. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk
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