CriticalDance Forum

VCR alert: ABT Swan Lake on Dance in America
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Author:  mehunt [ Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:31 am ]
Post subject:  VCR alert: ABT Swan Lake on Dance in America

For those of us who just can't get enough Swan Lake's in our video collection...

Dance in America --remember that program? -- is broadcasting ABT's Swan Lake with Gillian Murphy and Angel COrella on June 20.

More info on their website:

Author:  ncgnet [ Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:17 am ]
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From Christine Temin in the Boston Globe:
This ‘Swan Lake’ makes lofty viewing
Gillian Murphy and Angel Corella are among the most glorious couples I’ve ever seen in “Swan Lake,” and that alone makes tonight’s televised version of American Ballet Theatre’s current production a must-watch.


Note this is airing tonight (June 20) in the Boston area on WGBH/Channel 2 at 9PM.

Author:  Poohtunia [ Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:31 pm ]
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Thank you PBS for this wonderful broadcast!

As wonderful as it was, the filming just didn’t do justice to the production. I’ve been following McKenzie’s production since it’s first year, and of course, comparing it to every other production I’ve seen in more than (cough) four decades. I like McKenzie’s concept of Von Rothbart. It makes complete sense as to how and why Odette got herself into her predicament. But above all, it makes really good fantasy.

One aspect that the filming may not have brought across to the viewer was Von Rothbart’s single-mindedness as he danced with the various princesses. Sitting in the theater, one can see the reactions on the princesses’ faces as he dances more roughly with them than they are accustomed. Then, as he spots his princess-prey, the others are mechanically lifted out of his way so he can get to her. It is wonderful theater!

The editing also made it difficult to see many of the corps formations. A lot of effort, too much, was made to capture the facial expressions of Murphy and Corella. Some of it was worth it, but most was not. And I have always disliked Murphy’s makeup. She has small features, so they just gob it on, especially the lipstick. Not necessary, and it’s distracting.

I thought the dancing was superb all around, although sometimes the musicality of a phrase was destroyed as the camera jumped to a different angle. Murphy’s Xerox-pirouettes looked especially lovely at slow speed.

I like McKenzie’s production, and am a little nervous after reading that he altered the final stage production as a result of working on the PBS special. Not too nervous, though, since I’ll being seeing it four times in July.

Author:  crandc [ Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:54 pm ]
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I have committed an act of phenomenal stupidity.
I set the VCR and sat down to watch, but I get up very early in the morning. By the pas de trois I was nodding off so I went to bed with VCR running. Today I discovered I had set it for one hour instead of two.
Don't ask for an explanation since there is none except that my head was up my you-know-what.:evil:
Did anyone tape it? I would desperately appreciate a copy so I can see the second act! I would be more than willing to pay for tape, postage et al and send a box of brownies in return. Please email I wil love you forever.
Remember, I can't go to ballet easily and it is so rarely on TV.

Author:  Cathy [ Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:11 pm ]
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Has someone recorded it, he can contact me at !

I'm very interested by this version and the DVD which will be released in august could not be send to France :cry: !

Thanks by advance

Author:  osiris661 [ Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:24 am ]
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This broadcast actually made it onto the Torrent file networks, I guess there are actually some balleomanes out there that are seeding this Swan Lake torrent/video file. I am amazed! :shock: I have never seen a dance related torrent file offered before this Swan Lake broadcast.
Of course, it raises the age-old copyright issue, but if that bothers people then just look at the title of this post, VCR recording, torrent downloading, same issue. If you missed the broadcast then do a search for ABT Swan Lake on the torrent networks and you should find it.

Author:  ksneds [ Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:46 am ]
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Posted by Michael Goldbarth:

Crank up that VCR you Ontario/Buffalo ballet fans! PBS will be televising ABT’s new production of Swan Lake starring Gillian Murphy and Angel Corella. Start time is 8:00 pm (Sept 21). End time is 11:00 pm. Given the scheduled time frame of 3 hours, prepare yourself for seeing a lot of this fellow. Hey, did you think Swan Lake would be free? You’ve got to pay some kind of price. I don’t mind a few breaks pitching the benefits of giving to PBS but sometimes it is a little much.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:02 pm ]
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I was surprised to see Ormsby Wilkins moonlighting as the conductor for the performance! Was it just me or did the pace seem a little quicker than usual? This is the 1st time I’ve seen a redhead as Odette/Odile. Gillian Murphy is ballerinalicious!

Author:  crandc [ Fri Sep 23, 2005 3:16 pm ]
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Just to make life more frustrating...
Either no one here taped it or they are not admitting it.
I still have half a tape.
The performance is now being sold through PBS but only on DVD and I don't have a DVD player.
Damn!!!!! Did ANYONE tape it? I will be happy to pay for a copy & include a box of my infamous brownies!

Author:  Noreen Arnold [ Sat Sep 24, 2005 7:49 am ]
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Well I taped it and the picture quality is fine but the sound is dreadful - and I mean really awful! The score is almost impossible to recognize because the quality is so bad. I’d be happy to make a copy for you but this is not one you would me!. I missed the first broadcast because I forgot all about it - and was so pleased to get a second chance. Oh well. One question for those who have seen the show live - how is the opening scene normally staged, the one where Princess Odette gets trapped. For the broadcast the Princess was played by Murphy but I assume that during live performances another dancer is used. I mean it's an almost instantaneous transformation from Princess to Swan - complete with change of hair, pointe shoes and crown. I also liked the way the demon Rothbart is transformed into his human shape...a nifty piece of staging! I really like this production and McKenzie has done a fine job with it.

Author:  ksneds [ Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:10 am ]
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I think it's the same dancer - but then again one is always so far from the stage at the Met that it could be someone else and I'd never notice. Also, I haven't seen the taped version, but my understanding was that there were changes from previous live versions, and so they may have changed the opening from the last time I saw it (did they use that hideous stuffed swan?!).

And they may have used some technical trickery to do scenes for the video that wouldn't be possible in live ballet (but I'm not sure they did).

However, because of copyright issues we ask that our forums and the associated private messaging system not be used to request or carry out tape/DVD/VHS trades or copying.

Kate (moderator)

Author:  Poohtunia [ Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:38 am ]
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The prelude in the stage production is very different, and I believe, much better than the PBS version. It is performed at the front of the stage in very little light and no scenery. There's no cave scene from which the tutu-ed Odette appears. Odette, in girl-form without pointe shoes, encounters the handsome von Rothbart at night. He attempts to seduce her and when she eventually resists, he abducts her -- all of this portrayed through a brief pdd. The main difference between the stage and the film production is that von Rothbart in the stage version backs into the darkness a few times and reappears as the hideous von Rothbart. In some performances I have seen a remarkable segue as von Rothbart abducts Odette and backs into the darkness. The last thing we see is the curve of her arm in front of her body -- that same curve then re-emerges from the darkness as the neck of a swan in the arms of the hideous von Rothbart. The prop swan held by von Rothbart is, yes a stuffed animal, but the magic and fantasy work well. Of course, anyone who ever saw the Martha Clarke comic piece some years back in NYC which had Rob Besserer literally wrestling a similar swan all over the stage, might giggle just a bit.

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