The Spanish guitar used in flamenco is an epic instrument, and its story is weaved throughout Benise: The Spanish Guitar. Integrating live performance with real footage, viewers travel with American-born Roni Benise as he trips across the globe. If, owing considerably to the worshipful cinematography and framing, one can’t help but snicker a little bit and envision him as some sort of Saturday Night Live sketch character, the title still connects in fairly robust fashion because of its music.
From the cobblestone streets of Old Havana to an Arabian desert, from the romantic canals of Venice to the oldest bullring in Spain, from a quaint Paris café to a 2000-year-old sacred Buddhist temple in India, watch as the enchanted Spanish Guitar becomes a treasure chest of inspiration — the keeper of stories of glory and tragedy through times and worlds gone by. Benise’s masterful guitar playing, brilliantly choreographed dance numbers and moving orchestral pieces — as well as the unparalleled beauty of some of the Gitanas dancers — give Spanish dance and music a luminous makeover.
The disc’s musical selection rundown is as follows: Act I is comprised of an overture, followed by “Lovers Theme,” “Strings of Fire,” “Gypsy Nights,” “Spanish Guitar” with Kimberly Locke, and “Malagueña.” There are also two vignettes, “The Quest” and “The Duel.” Act II is comprised of vignettes from “The Masquerade” and “The Marionettes,” plus “Mi Amor,” “Café Paris” (with Nick and Lena from Dancing with the Stars), “The Prince” and “Arabesque Aranjuez.” The third act, meanwhile, includes “The Sun” (a Havana-set vignette), “Cuba Libre” (with Dave Koz), “Tango de Besame,” a club mix of “Bamboleo,” “The Priestess” (another Havana-set vignette), “Firedance” and “Evermore (The Wedding Song),” with Giorgia Fumanti.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Benise: The Spanish Guitar comes to DVD in 1.78:1 widescreen, with an English language Dolby stereo audio track. Five bonus world music videos are included. To purchase the DVD, phone (800) PLAY-PBS, or click here. B- (Concert) B (Disc)