'Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life’
(Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Maurice Bejart, Jorge Donn, et al/ Blu-ray / NR / 2019 / Eagle Vision)
Overview: 'Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life’ was a unique collaboration between three cultural brands: Queen, Versace and the visionary choreographer Maurice Bejart, celebrating the life and talents of legendary performers, Freddie Mercury and dancer Jorge Donn, both of whom died of AIDS.
Blu-ray Verdict: Releasing the day after the birthday of Freddie Mercury (September 6th, 2019, via Eagle Vision), a day that is marked each year with a series of Freddie For A Day events, from the off it's important to know that 100% of royalties from the 'Ballet For Life' release that are payable by Eagle Rock Entertainment to Tonleigh Ltd and thus will be donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, which fights AIDS worldwide.
'Ballet For Life' was first performed at the Théâtre de Chaillot, Paris in the presence of Madame Chirac, Elton John and John Deacon, Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen.
This magnificent new Blu-ray (that also comes housed within a spectacular 36 page photo book), features the entire story of 'Ballet for Life' along with some rather wondrous interviews with Brian May and Roger Taylor, plus a full-length performance of 'Ballet for Life.'
In what is a masterful performance of live art at that, this energetic footage from the performance following the premiere is also now know as being John Deacon’s very last with Queen.
At its heart a ballet about youth and hope, as hopeless and optimistic as they are, and yet inspired by Queen's very own euphoric, fist-pumping stand on the subject, of course, the show must go on here.
'Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life’ actually features two programs: The documentary by Lynne Wake and Simon Lupton (2017), and the aforementioned full 1997 performance of the ballet by the Béjart Ballet of Lausanne.
2. It's A Beautiful Day
3. Time / Let Me Live / Brighton Rock
4. Heaven For Everyone
5. I Was Born To Love You / Così Fan Tutte
6. A Kind Of Magic / Thamos
7. Get Down, Make Love / Piano Concerto N°21
8. You Take My Breath Away / Death On Two Legs / Masonic Funeral Music
9. A Kind Of Magic (Ay-Oh) / Sinfonia Concertante / Radio Ga Ga
10. A Winter's Tale
11. The Great Pretender / The Millionaire Waltz
12. Brighton Rock / Bohemian Rhapsody
13. I Want To Break Free
14. The Show Must Go On
15. The Show Must Go On (Credits)
Having now watched this documentary twice, for me the stand out footage is that of the band with Elton John rehearsing and performing 'The Show Must Go On' at the Paris performance of the ballet.
As already noted, it was to be Deacon's last performance and in the interviews both May and Taylor comment about how Deacon had taken Mercury's death extremely hard; which bled through to his last few performances, I feel.
'Queen + Béjart: Ballet for Life’ is presented in 1080i High Definition for 16:9 TVs and even the archival footage seems to have been remastered as best it could be - given that the source material was from 1997 and in its original 4:3 scale, of course.
This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1), remastered and enhanced for 16x9 TVs and 1080i HD.