An excellent example of ballet of the romantic era, this version presents authentic choreography slightly updated for contemporary technique and audience. It is vivid story-telling in ballet at its best--the character of each individual is revealed through carefully shaped movement. While knowing something of ballet and its history will enable a richer enjoyment of this ballet, such background is not necessary, for the viewer can clearly understand what drives Gennaro, Teresina, Veronica, Golfo, and the comic contribution of Giacomo and Peppo, just by watching, as Bournonville intended.
The observer must understand that ballet involves more than just doing as much "Wow!" as can be packed into a short period of time. Excerpts from ballets, presenting short bursts of spectacular technique, may be appreciated for their athleticism, and may keep the attention of the uninitiated, but miss the purpose of ballet of the romantic and classical eras: to tell a story, to reveal something of human nature. Anyone who finds the work of the Royal Danish Ballet to be "amateurish" has not studied ballet, either as a dancer or as a scholar. This is a charming ballet, well-crafted and well-performed, which gets better every time it is watched; I show it in various college classes and have seen it dozens of times, and it never gets old.
Like all full-length ballets, the last act contains most of the dancing. But to skip to this without experiencing the whole ballet would be as ridiculous as skipping to all the really big words and juicy phrases of a novel.
Watch it in its entirety as a full-length ballet, realizing that it was choreographed and performed to tell a story and reveal a facet of human nature through dance.