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Joby Talbot: The Winter's Tale / Lauren Cuthbertson, Steven McRae, Edward Watson, Sarah Lamb (dancers). Royal Opera, David Briskin [Blu-ray]

Notes & Reviews:

Following his highly popular Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, created for The Royal Ballet back in 2011, Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon draws on the same music and design team to create 'a triumph' and 'something entirely new' (Daily Telegraph) in this evocative re-imagining of The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's enduring story of jealousy, compassion and forgiveness. Wheeldon's staging is 'eye-delighting' (Financial Times), effortlessly capturing the work's profound emotional trajectory, with powerful designs by Bob Crowley, Joby Talbot's 'skilful' score (Guardian) and constantly inventive choreography. Strong company performances - among them Edward Watson's 'masterly' portrayal of Leontes (Financial Times), Zenaida Yanowsky's 'commanding' Paulina and Sarah Lamb as a 'serene' Perdita (Independent) - put the finishing touches to a gleaming production, one that will be treasured for years to come.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 134 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: Blu-Ray, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM 2.0, DTS HD Master Audio


Fantastic ballet rendition of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”
This Blu-Ray DVD from Opus Arte features Edward Watson as Leontes (and what a marvelous job he does bringing forth his character’s suspicions into the kinetic language of the ballet form), Lauren Cutherbertson’s Hermione is captivating, Zenaida Yanowsky is simply stunning as Paulina, and Federico Bonelli as Polixenes is wonderful as Leontes boyhood friend. And Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae are beautiful as Perdita and Florizel, the young lovers.

Part of the challenge of this work is essentially how to express Leontes suspicion of an affair between Hermione and Polixenes, and Christopher Wheeldon deserves an insane amount of credit for coming up with physical language with Mr. Watson to convey not only the pain of the emotions from Shakespeare’s text, but the physical manifestations of what each character is experiencing. This is masterful work on a number of levels, and it bored straight into the heart of this viewer. The rawness and simultaneous grace of the movements of the performers coupled with the magnificent score as conducted by David Briskin is just simply breathtaking, and the sets and lighting thereof form a cognizant whole that is possible only when everyone is committed to giving everything they have to give.

As the second Act unfolds, it is clear that Ms. Yanowsky is completely emotionally invested in her performance, and what she does on stage with Mr. Watson is so painfully beautiful that it is difficult to put into words. This quality of work is why some of us go to see live ballet, in the hope of witnessing this kind of magic with our own eyes. But having it captured on video is a delightful thing indeed. The entire sequence when Hermione’s statue comes to life is incredibly moving, and both the dancers and the orchestra complement each other in a way that is pure poetry that spans the senses. Yes, this is that good.

The DVD itself has extras that provide insight into the specifics of the kinetics of the dancing itself, as well as the composition of the music and the challenges faced by Joby Talbot, the composer, in bringing the story to fruition via the medium of sound. The lighting is gorgeous, and everything about this production is simply top-notch. This is artistry of the highest form, and a delight to watch unfold. It is one of the jewels of my collection, and I highly recommend it.

Submitted on 01/04/16 by KlingonOpera 
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