This is a complete surprise and contains two marvellous short ballets - The Blue Train and the 3 Cornered Hat. The linking factor is the input by Picasso in so far as he produced the Stage Curtain design for the first ballet and in the de Falla he provided the stage curtain, sets and costumes. All of this has been lovingly restored by the Paris Ballet in this production.
The Blue Train is a slight but well-observed and humourous look at beach holiday life featuring a young man who especially fancies himself as the perfect specimen and a couple of girls who also fancy him. One of them, a tennis player, is otherwise attached however - to a golfer. This golfer fancies the other girl who fancies the young man. Inevitably the deception is discovered. This is wonderfully choreographed and danced with a light and sparkling touch full of good humour. The settings are incredibly stylish in the Art Nouveau period.
The 3 Cornered Hat by de Falla is very well known in its non-ballet format so it is really fascinating to see/hear the music as originally conceived. Once again it is a light, well-observed story featuring a miller and his wife plus lecherous magistrate who attempts, and fails, to get his wicked way with the miller's wife. All ends well. Once again the choreography and dancing is excellent throughout with a sustained tour de force by the miller and his wife who dance both energetically and delightfully throughout. The costumes and settings are fabulous - a word I feel is over-used and therefore one I would normally avoid. In this case it is correct!
The presentation is supposed to be 4:3 but is actually a very crisp letterbox shape of high definition sharpness. The sound is in acceptable but not marvellous stereo. The de Falla is better than the Blue Train which has a slightly boomy bass drum from time to time.
Never-mind! This is really worth getting despite those reservations. Both I and my wife loved it. A very strong recommendation therefore. 5 stars and worth every one!