Originally Posted by jheoaustin
May I ask which swan lake do you like more? Paris Opera ballet one is already out there, as well as Kirov Ballet one from Universal. I was comparing those 2, and then the 3rd comes in already!
I'm not Andrew, but I'll reply anyway.
This is one of those things that's kind of personal. A lot of people really don't like the Kirov staging because it does away with the mime, adds the jester, and has a happy ending. The dancing is pretty fantastic, and you get to see one of the great Kirov ballerinas (Uliana Lopatkina) do her thing in a benchmark ballet, though again her style doesn't appeal to everyone. Personally, I like the Kirov version for what it is, and there is a lot to like in it. The Act 2 white scene is pretty incomparable for its corps work and the central pas is very nice, too. The Act 3 party scene is pretty great for its character dancing.
The POB version has beautiful dancing and technique (check out those feet!), as you can always expect from them, but I think their Swan Lake is a bit anonymous, and I am not a big fan of the girl who dances Odile/Odette, Agnes Letestu.
A lot of ballet fans are looking forward to the Royal Ballet version that's coming out for many reasons. First, Marianela Nunez is one of the brightest stars of the Royal with great technique, and great stage craft. She is a strong and elegant dancer who can pull off the extremes of the role, and she's received very good reviews on her performances of this role. You should see her in La Fille mal Gardee, which is out in the UK, and coming out soon in the US, as well as her Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty (both available from Opus Arte, though SB is DVD-only).
The Royal's stagings also tend to bring out the dramatic story aspects of the ballet (whereas the Kirov basically treats it as a giant divertissement --- oversimplified yes, but not entirely unfair), and you will see the best mime practiced today in their production. The dramatic awareness extends to their dancing and staging as well. There's a video around of Dowell/Sibley rehearsing when Siegfried meets Odette, and the detail that they go through is pretty impressive. Where the Kirov feels a bit cold, there is quite a bit of humanity in the Royal staging.
There's also a DVD of American Ballet Theater's Swan Lake, but we do not speak of that production in polite company.
Anyway, I hope that gives you an idea of why we're excited about it. It has a legitimate chance at being the best modern recording of Swan Lake.