This is a compilation of three videos which I would guess originated in the early-to-mid 1980's. Alicia de Larrocha and Charles Dutoit team up for a languid, perfumed Nights (and who does this type of music better than de Larrocha?). Shots of the concert stage alternate with gorgeous scenes from the Alhambra and other Moorish gardens of Granada. Pepe Romero then performs a magnificent Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez (and who does this piece better than Pepe?), accompanied by Neville Marriner and the ASMF (if you have to ask what the abbreviation stands for you don't need to know) :o) and more shots of Spanish scenery. Here the overly active camera spins and wheels, to stomach-churning effect but no particular artistic point. The Concierto is preceded by a short, intriguing history of the work lovingly narrated by Pepe, with shots of the aged blind composer and his wife strolling through ornate gardens and historic interiors.
Finally, Dutoit returns with an ensemble of Canadian and Spanish performers for a rare production of Falla's Master Peter's Puppet Show. This combines puppets/marionettes and live performers in a mini-opera depicting an episode from Don Quixote. Falla's score is deliciously pictorial but also subtle, with a suitably archaic flavor. Witnessing a puppet show that tells a chivalric tale from one of his beloved romances, the schizophrenic Don gets carried away as always and charges the stage with his sword, decapitating the puppets and destroying the theater, all in the service of his Lady Dulcinea. The production here is vivid and affecting though somewhat overcomplicated with its live actors doubling as audience and puppet characters. The singing is very fine, especially the Trujaman, the young boy who chants the narrative.
Audio quality is good if not as fresh and clean as some other DVD tracks, and the same goes for the video--possibly from 1980's analog tapes and a bit fuzzy at times. The Big Flaw is the absence of subtitles in Master Peter (major labels are sometimes major stingy). With the help of the libretto in the handsome booklet, it isn't too hard to follow the action, but the music illustrates the text so beautifully that I miss the extra assistance of on-screen titles.