George Balanchine's Jewels (2005 TV Movie)
10/10
His Romantically Tinged Classicism Again Proves That Balanchine Is The Champion Of Modern Choreography.
23 March 2013
This electrifying ballet by the eminent George Balanchine is an abstract triptych, performed to compositions by, respectively, Fauré, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky, with the ever intriguing choreographer's recognizable use of stage techniques permitting the emphasis of the work to be upon the matchless dancing by members from the Paris Opera Ballet, even upon consideration of designer Christian LaCroix' essay into the medium of classical ballet costuming. Balanchine's inspiration for Joyaux, presented here upon the stage of the delightfully ornamental Palais Garnier in Paris, before a live audience, came from showcase windows of the celebrated Manhattan jewelers, Van Cleef and Arpels, from which originated the disparate gem-based imagery created for the affair: emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. The persona of Balanchine seems to be immediate throughout. The French company is one of but six that include Joyaux within their repertories, and this performance makes it clear that the Paris Opera Ballet shall provide a touchstone for Balanchine's dazzling invention for a good many years later than this 2005 production that features a magnificent corps, and the tightly trained Orchestre national de l'Opera de Paris beneath the skillful baton of Paul Connelly. Etoiles and other soloists from the French company sparkle as might the jewels that they depict during this ambitiously staged masterpiece that additionally benefits from the designing of Christian Lacroix that gives the ballet the character of being a brand new creation, despite its public debut in 1967 when performed by Balanchine's New York City Ballet. An Opus Arte DVD is currently the sole video source for Joyaux. It includes a fine documentary: "George Balantine Forever", that features interviews of several Paris Opera Ballet étoiles, and other soloists. These are supplied with optional subtitles. The entire DVD, one that provides excellent visual and sound quality, runs for greater than one and one-half hours, during which it effectively presents a superior ballet creation, one that should become a requisite inclusion for any viewer's dance collection on film as it showcases a great deal of matchless balletic execution.
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