3:00 pm | $12/$10 members/$6 children | 1 hr 58 min | Documentary, History, Music

“Astonish me!” the great Diaghilev would exclaim. And you will be astonished when you see this tribute to his legacy in the HD presentation of the Paris Opera Ballet, in “Ballets Russes.” It is a mixed bill program featuring all-time favorites which are now rarely seen: “Le Spectre de la Rose,” “Afternoon of a Faun,” “Petrushka,” and “The Three Cornered Hat,” four essential works in a breathtaking afternoon that brings together the artistic elite of the early 20th Century – choreographers, painters and composers. The list of “creatives” is irresistible: Debussy, Stravinsky, Falla, Picasso, Bakst, Massine, Nijinsky, and Fokine. Running time is 105 minutes.

Currently under the direction of Benjamin Millepied, the Paris Opera Ballet is the world’s oldest national ballet company; it has 151 artists who are ranked as étoiles, premieres danseurs and corps de ballet. This performance was recorded at the Paris Opera in the Salle Garnier with the Paris Opera Orchestra conducted by Vello Pähn.

One of choreographer Mikhail Fokine’s most inspired works, “Le Spectre de la Rose,” (1911) features music by Carl Maria von Weber with sets and costumes by Leon Bakst. Already a celebrated dancer, “The Afternoon of a Faun,” (1912) was Vaslav Nijinski’s first choreographic foray, with music by Claude Debussy and sets and costumes by Leon Bakst; in its day this ballet was notorious for its eroticism. An allegorical protest against the Spanish monarchy “The Three Cornered Hat” (1919) was choreographed by Leonide Massine, music by Manuel de Falla, with sets and costumes by Pablo Picasso. The program closes with arguably the most beloved ballet of the Ballets Russes legacy “Petrushka,” (1911). Choreographed by Mikhail Fokine, music by Igor Stravinsky, sets and costumes by Alexandre Benois, “Petrushka” tells the simple and tragic story of a puppet at a village fair—depicting the existential loneliness of the hero in contrast to the collective joy of a festival.

Dance Film Sundays, a series which started in June 2010 under the auspices of the Rosendale Theatre Collective, are held on the 2nd Sunday of every month at Rosendale Theatre.