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Christie Grimstad, December 2012

Royal Opera House/Opus Arte have put together a nicely balanced selection of passages from renowned performances…the…collection is pure delight.

In this album…The Royal Ballet has a common denominator of opulent staging and artistic articulation. Combined with dancers’ nuanced dilettante perspectives, the resultant richly enhances the viewers’ senses. Osbert Lancaster’s La Fille mal gardée set is colorful…

…Miyako Yoshida’s pirouettes in the The Nutcracker’s Sugar Plum “Pas de deux” are sharp and well-positioned…Steven McRae (as The Prince) enters into the choreography with nice angles and razor thin alacrity. Tchaikovsky’s perennial favorite, “The Cygnets”, danced by Keating, Loots, Maguire and Pajdak, re-emphasize Lev Ivanov’s pas de chat with tightly bracketed technique that digests into sublime proportions. The final segment places returning Marianela Nuñez, Thiago Soares and Christopher Saunders in Swan Lake’s finale, “Pas de trios and apotheosis” that is wrought with a classical, dramatic conclusion.

Straight out of mythology, we see Darcey Bussell and Roberto Bolle dance an aesthetically pleasing “Pas de deux” from Delibes’ Act III of Sylvia. La Réunion vis-à-vis Sylvia and Aminta recreates a dignified and majestic spectacle.

…Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta pair as Prokofiev’s star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet. Grand posturing in “The Ballroom” is soon followed by the contemporary passionate vision in the couples’ “Balcony pas de deux.” Kenneth MacMillan’s teeming choreography is consuming, set against Sergey Prokofiev’s searing score. Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta fly across the disproportionately vacuous stage to Frederick Ashton’s routine, Voices of Spring, while Johann Strauss II’s effervescent music from Der Fledermaus plays on.

Perhaps the most memorable dancer can be accredited to the finesse of Alina Cojocaru in the title characters of The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle. Her mathematical arching translates fluidly in the “Rose Adage” just as the demands demonstrated in Giselle’sPas de deux and conclusion”…clearly demonstrate her taxing yet flawless execution. Cojocaru’s lines have rich continuity, and they are par excellence.

If an award could be given to a dancer in the category of “Best Mechanical Marvel”, it would go to Leanne Benjamin in Coppélia. She interprets the Ninette de Valois-based choreography with bona fide clarity. Benjamin’s meticulous diction (aided by Luke Heydon’s softened pantomimic antics as Dr. Coppélius) is triumphant.

Snippets are good, and this Opus Arte collection embraces. This DVD lays out a “welcome mat” for all, even those reluctantly doubting Thomases. © 2012 Read complete review

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