Stravinsky and the Ballets Russes

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When Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) premiered in Paris in May 1913, the ballet shocked audiences with its primitive violence and radically dissonant score by Igor Stravinsky. After eight dogged performances, the ballet was withdrawn and disappeared from the Ballets Russes’ repertoire.

This DVD features the well-known reconstruction of Nijinsky’s ballet by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer, and is excellent for students and ballet-goers intrigued to see something of Nijinsky’s famous riot-provoking ballet. It is paired here with Michel Fokine’s The Firebird, which, by contrast, was an immediate success when first performed in 1910. However, we do prefer other stagings of The Firebird to this rather gaudy affair by Isabelle Fokine and Andris Liepa.

These performances by the Mariinsky Ballet, conducted by Valery Gergiev, are accompanied by 30-minute documentary on the reconstruction of Le Sacre du printemps. It includes interviews with Hodson and Archer, and footage of the ballet in rehearsal. There is also a short program on the Ballets Russes introducing the key figures who originally created the ballets on this DVD.

Region Code: 0
Format & Aspect Ratio: NTSC, 16:9 (Blu-ray also available)
Number of discs: 1
Run time: 85 minutes (ballets), 38 minutes (bonus)
Studio: Bel Air, 2013