STRAVINSKY: L’histoire du soldat Ballet, Blu-ray (1988/2014)

by | Nov 3, 2014 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

IGOR STRAVINSKY: L’histoire du soldat Ballet, Blu-ray (1988/2014)

Performers: Conductor – David Porelijn; Dancers – Nacho Duato, Aryey Weiner, & Nederlands Dans Theater
Choreographer: Jiri Kylian
Studio: ArtHaus Musik 108 134 [11/11/14] (Distr. by Naxos)
Video: 4:3 color
Audio: French PCM stereo
Subtitles: English, German
No Region Code
Length: 51 min.
Rating: ****

The Soldier’s Tale ballet was originally shot in 1988 so I’m not sure why they brought it to Blu-ray at this time. It is still the original 4:3 rather blurry image. Though the sound of the little septet for the work is quite good in PCM stereo. The menu offers a choice between English or German production but the sound remains the French and the subtitles are either English or German.

There are a number of additional dancers added in to the soldier, the Devil and the soldier’s princess who he wakes up. There are some rather strange duo dances in the scene where he wakes up the princess: a tango, a waltz and a fox trot. Various objects such as the mystical book come up out of the stage flooring via trapdoors.

The rather simple story is of a soldier on leave who is hiking home. He runs into the Devil dressed as an old man. They make a deal whereby the Devil gets the soldier’s violin and the soldier gets this unusual book which describes what hasn’t happened yet. Then he is inveigled to spend three days with the Devil but when he leaves and returns to his homeland he disovers that it was really three years that he was gone and everything has changed, including his girlfriend marrying someone else.

When he studies the strange book he founds out how to become a wealthy man. But riches fail to being him happiness. Then he hears of a princess dangerously ill, and her father has offered her hand in marriage to anyone who could cure her. So he takes a chance, appears and wins her. Unfortunately his new wife keeps after him to return to his village again, although the Devil has warned him not to cross the boundaries to his homeland again. He does so anyway and is swallowed up in this debt to the Devil.

Interesting, but I prefer a good performance of Stravinsky’s music only, such as the classic one on Westminster.

—John Sunier

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