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Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Music by Mendelssohn, also including Overtures Athalia, Son & Stranger, Melusine etc

Pacific Northwest Ballet directors Francia Russell and Kent Stowell
BBC Concert Orchestra/Stewart Kershaw/ Libby Crabtree soprano, Judith Harris mezzo-soprano and a small chorus

Opus Arte DVD OA BD7003 [Videoed live at London's Sadler's Wells Theatre, February 1999]

A Midsummer Night's Dream
, George Balanchine's story-ballet masterpiece based on Shakespeare's play was filmed in a fine production at Sadler's Wells, where "the British audience applaud only after the music has stopped, allowing us to experience the emotional impact of ballet by witnessing bodily movement with the accompaniment of music"
[Edward A. Perez].

Readers of MusicalPointers will enjoy Mendelssohn's MND scores Op 21 & 61, which are not sufficient for a full length ballet. So Balanchine added the Overtures listed above and some excerpts from the String Sinfonia No 9 and The First Walpurgis Night.

This is a fine DVD (also available on Blu-Ray, but I understand that makes no real difference) which will appeal to lovers of Mendelssohn's music and Balanchine enthusiasts, who have praised this outstanding production with its "crystal clear picture quality, excellent detail, and at times unbelievably natural looking colors" [see Patricia Barker in Titania's Bower], together with audio in which "the degree of clarity is very, very impressive".

A "must-have" DVD.

Peter Grahame Woolf