Cinema Nova launched its season of ballet filmed in HD ‘The World’s Greatest Ballets‘ with a screening of Pharaoh’s Daughter as performed by the Bolshoi Ballet in 2003. Now the the Royal Opera House is no longer a 30 minute tube ride from my house, I’ve really come around to the idea of seeing opera and ballet at the cinema, but I have to say that this screening was a disappointment.
The ballet itself was enjoyable, with sumptuous costumes, numerous large set changes from Egyptian temples to underwater seascapes, beautiful classical Russian technique danced with pincer-like precision, laughable 19th century colonialist perceptions of foreign countries and a fairy-tale storyline. However, I’m not convinced that the footage was in HD as it really felt like I was watching a DVD on a really big flatscreen TV. The sound was also quite muted and not really up to scratch even for normal film screening, let alone one relying on symphonic grandeur. Therefore, I’d think twice about booking another session in the series, especially since there are no lack of HD opera and ballet screenings in Melbourne now.