The ancient city of Seville, capital of Andalucía, was an Iberian settlement, of importance during the period of Roman domination and, after the Moorish conquest of the 8th-century, part of the Caliphate of Córdoba. It retained importance under other Moorish rulers until its reconquest by Fernando III in 1248. It enjoyed the height of prosperity after the discovery of America in 1492.
Music for the tour includes two of the suites drawn from the French composer George Bizet's opera Carmen, first staged in Paris in 1875 and drawing on Spanish traditions for its plot and setting and for its transformation of traditional Spanish dances. There are also SpanishRead more Dances by the composer Enrique Granados.
Picture format: NTSC 4:3
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Running time: 55 mins
No. of DVDs: 1
R E V I E W:
I commend this most enjoyable visit to Seville. The views are particularly nicely blended with appropriate music.
Seville had a history long before Rossini and Bizet fastened onto it in their operas
Il Barbiere di Siviglia and
Carmen. In historical times it was the capital of Andalucía, an Iberian settlement during the period of Roman domination. After the Moorish conquest of the 8th century it was part of the Caliphate of Córdoba. It retained its importance under other Moorish rulers until it was brought back under Spanish rule, by conquest by Fernando III in 1248. The modern city retains, just as does Granada and other principal Spanish centres, many signs of its Moorish past.
The DVD opens with views of the empty Maestranza Arena, used for bullfighting, to the music of the prelude from Bizet’s
Carmen Suite No. 1. The music from that suite dominates the first six Chapters before conceding to the
Second Suite and, later, (CHs 13-15)
Spanish Dances by Granados with guitar accompaniment. The landscape of CH. 2 incorporates pictures of black bulls in fields. It is a pity that there are none on show, not necessarily in a corrida as I recognise some would find this distasteful, but at least arriving in the arena. This would have given more atmosphere to CHs 6 and 10; perhaps a matador rehearsing his moves and a toreador dressing in the various layers of his finery. As it is, although not as large as those in Madrid and Barcelona, the arena does look somewhat bleak in its emptiness. The training of the horses in the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art to the music of the
Garde Montant from the
Second Suite is also apposite.
The views of the Cathedral, originally a Mosque in Moorish times (CH.5), the Easter Procession (CH.7) with the penitents barefooted along with ornate headdresses and the dancer and night scene (CH.9) are particularly impressive. Each is viewed along with some well-chosen parts of the
Carmen Suites. Particularly pleasant is the tranquil
Seguidilla as we view the Seville Park that owes its creation to Maria Luisa of Orleans. It was originally in the English style until redesigned for the Spanish-American Exhibition of 1929 (CH.4). More than is often found in this series the music and the views are nicely matched and although there are returns to two venues there is little repetition such as I have criticised in other issues in the series.
-- Robert J Farr, MusicWeb International Read less