One magical dream that you don't want to wake up from, on par with the Balanchine-choreographed performance
Both this(choreographed by Frederick Ashton) and the 1999 production(choreographed by George Balanchine) are wonderful and on par with one another. Ashton's choreography is a tad more subtle, but both choreographies are witty, enchanting and do a great job in making the story as concise as possible. Both performances also look beautiful, are superbly danced and also have the further benefit of Mendelssohn's music. This 1967 performance looks great on DVD with none of the movements blurred and the camera work allows the dancing to be expansive and intimate, while the sound is clear and resonant with no hiss or muffle. It is visually beautiful too, with the setting having a colourful dream-like quality to it and there is a real sense of it taking place on a Midsummer Night, while the costumes are all appropriate for the characters, the standout being for Oberon, though as a slight nit-pick I would have preferred a less pale colour for Titania's dress. Mendelssohn's music cannot be faulted(the Overture being one of his first compositions and also one of his best), and the orchestra play it with lyrical elegance and loving tone. The conducting accommodates the dancers while also maintaining the vibrant energy that Ashton's choreography boasts. The staging and choreography is filled with witty humour, elegant lines and grace, also being successful in giving clarity to the story. The dancing matches those qualities, there isn't a weak link but the standout was Keith Martin as Puck, who was so incredibly precise and light on his feet it was also gravity-defying. In conclusion, a magical and wonderful performance with the exception of the slightly intrusive audience clapping. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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