On its own, this is a wonderful bit of musical theater history, since the simplicity and authenticity of the production is palpable. The short sequence in "To Life," for instance, when the Jewish townspeople are celebrating and the camera pans to the Russian locals has a sense of significantly greater conflict and danger than most productions.
Indeed, I found a Slovakian article about the production which I used Google Translate to give me an English version. The syntax is poor, but it's it's pretty clear and I've cleaned it up somewhat. Importantly, it puts the production into context of the time, when the country was still known as Czechoslovakia --
"The atmosphere inspired by this show had an extraordinary background at that time. Not long before it opened, on August 21, 1968, troops of several socialist countries, except Romania, entered our territory. Throughout Czechoslovakia, there was still a great zeal for social and political change, which appropriately heightened the presentation of Western musicals and supported these activities."
But there are a other nuggets of interest here.
When I saw that this was from Slovakia, I mentioned it and sent a link to Peter Breiner -- the conductor-arranger-composer I mention here periodically (and who is now putting on home piano concerts, which I've linked to -- because he's from Slovakia, and I thought he might be interested. As it turns out, he not only knew of this particular production...but he said he saw it as a young kid during its run. And he mentioned that the actor here who plays Tevya, Jozef Kroner, was the star of a movie, The Shop on Main Street, which won the 1965 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Interestingly, Kronner is a small, thin man, very different from the larger than life portrayal of the role that we're used to, most notably with Zero Mostel. But as it happens, that's much closer to how the character is written in the original Sholem Aleicham stories. And how Harnick and composer Jerry Back -- and book writer Joseph Stein -- envisioned the character...until they signed Mostel, and had to do some rewriting, to provide some larger, more physical numbers, including "If I Were a Rich Man" which is the first song in the video here.
It's a slightly different, more world-weary interpretation of the show that what most people are used it -- but that makes it all the more interesting, and it's done wonderfully.