Nureyev's Don Quixote / Lanchbery, Nureyev, Helpmann, Aldous, Australian Ballet

 
9780769711751: Nureyev's Don Quixote / Lanchbery, Nureyev, Helpmann, Aldous, Australian Ballet

Rudolf Nureyev and Robert Helpmann are thrilling in this Australian Ballet production. Also starring Lucette Aldous, Ray Powell, and Francis Croese. Shown in widescreen, and digitally restored to its' original brilliance. Includes bonus features.

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Review:

This 1973 film treatment of the ballet classic Don Quixote has a spaciousness, a freedom of movement often missing when a staged ballet production is taped for television. It captures the art of Rudolf Nureyev at the height of his powers, both as a dancer and as a choreographer. With distinguished supporting performances by Robert Helpmann and Lucette Aldous, the production balances lyric and narrative elements, wit and pathos, satire and idealism, with virtuoso solo and ensemble dancing.

Nureyev, a perfectionist, had an enormous airplane hangar in Australia transformed into a studio for the 25 days he spent dancing and shooting this episode in the crazy life of Cervantes's mock-epic hero. The routine 19th-century score by Ludwig Minkus has been modestly upgraded by conductor John Lanchbery, contributing positively to the performance's energy. --Joe McLellan

Additional Features:

The DVD version of Don Quixote is about as feature-packed as any ballet DVD to date. The 1973 film was meticulously restored, the original mono soundtrack was reworked for Dolby Digital 5.1 (good, though a bit bass-heavy), and the picture is presented in anamorphic widescreen. The flashiest DVD feature discusses the restoration process in a text summary, then follows with a split-screen comparison of the original, washed-out footage and the spectacular restoration. Other features are a 16-minute documentary "A Little of Don Quixote" (a backstage look at the making of the film), a helpful scene synopsis, and text biographies of John Lanchbery, Rudolf Nureyev, Robert Helpmann, and Lucette Aldous. --David Horiuchi

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