“Siddharta”, Blu-ray (2011)Cast: Nicolas Le Riche (Siddharta)/ Aurelie Dupont (L’Eveil)/ Stephane Bullion (Companion)/ Wilfried Romoli (Le Roi)/ Muriel Zusperreguy (Sujata)/ Alice Renavend (Yasodhara)/ Paris National Opera Ballet and Orch./ Susanna Maikki Music: Bruno Mantovani Director and Choreography: Angelin Preljocaj Studio: ArtHaus (Unitel Classica) 101558 [Distr. by Naxos] Video: 16:9 1081i HD Audio: PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1 surround No Region Code Length: 100 minutes Rating: ***1/2
Some of the sixteen tableaus depicting the spiritual journey of the Buddha that make up Siddharta (Buddha’s pre-enlightened name) run into each other in such a manner that without the program you might be a little confused as to the action. And of course, balletic interpretations of “temptation” versus “enlightenment” by nature remain of the same substance—art is only minutely capable of making distinctions especially when they involve topics of spiritual import.
Nonetheless, the startling balletic imagery portrayed by Nicolas Le Riche and Aurelie Dupont is dancing at its best, the sparse scenery and emphasis on lighting and tastefully sculpted costuming only enhancing the storytelling abilities of these acting dancers.
Bruno Mantovani’s music is not something you will be seeking the soundtrack for—it is descriptive but can also be grating, and I am not sure on its own that a listener would find it very attractive. In fact, even with the outstanding dancing it becomes a chore in parts, though most of the time its industrial strength vibes do tend to support the action on stage without unduly drawing attention to itself. But it can be a trial. All in all a commendable effort for those interested in the constant experimental actions of the ballet in Paris.