Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
BalletNut

Nutcracker Reviews & Impressions

24 posts in this topic

Here is a thread for everyone to discuss the SFB Nutcracker performances this year, and to share our impressions of this year's run of Nutcrackers.

If you've seen a performance of The Nutcracker this year, please tell us what you thought. It's always interesting to read everybody's different takes on the same ballet. Even if you haven't written many "reviews," we'd all love to know what you thought about this year's performances.

Happy Nut Season! :beg:

Share this post


Link to post

Bump.

I'm finding it hard to believe that I'm the only Ballet Talker who's seeing Nut this year...please don't be shy about sharing your opinions! :innocent: (I promise I'll review it when I see it, but that won't be until after Christmas, as that's the performance I have tickets for.)

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, I have also been watching for reviews. I saw it yesterday, with Juan Boada performing as Prince. I've never seen him perform before and I thought he was amazing. I'm not a qualified person to do a real review, but I am now a huge fan of Boada! :-)

Sharon

Share this post


Link to post

There's no such thing as "unqualified" when it comes to writing reviews about ballet. Did you see it? Do you have an opinion? Can you string together words in a sentence or two? Then you're more than qualified! :innocent:

By the way, I'm a huge fan of Boada myself. Who else was in the cast for that performance, and what did you think of them?

Share this post


Link to post
There's no such thing as "unqualified" when it comes to writing reviews about ballet. Did you see it? Do you have an opinion? Can you string together words in a sentence or two? Then you're more than qualified!  :)

Thanks, balletnut. I really enjoy reviews from BalletTalkers. They help me "see" performances I can't attend. The more the merrier. :innocent:

Share this post


Link to post

I'm totally unqualified to write a ballet review, but anyone is qualified to share their impressions of a ballet performance, so go ahead and write about what you saw & heard at the performance and how it moved you...or didn't, as the case may be.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, it was a great show. Everyone danced beautifully (Kristin Long was Grand Pas) and Nutnaree (looong last name) was Snow Queen. But Boada was something special. I love this production and was definitely moved.

The doll's crown fell off in the party scene, so there was a bit of excitement. Drosselmeyer rushed to pick it up and the party-goers spent time admiring it, which was a good save. :-) Two of the merletons had trouble with their ribbons. Those ribbons - I saw some real problems with them last year, so I always cringe when those are in play. Must be a real nightmare for the dancers.

I love the Spanish dance, but it's so SHORT!

Maybe one day I'll learn how to view a dancer's performance with a more critical eye. But they all look great to me!

Sharon

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for writing that, sfshaza! :innocent:

It's always interesting when there's a mishap on stage and the dancers have to improvise or "save." I remember one time in Othello when a dancer's hat fell off and someone kicked it into the wings...

Any more Nutcracker reports? We'd all love to hear about the performance(s) you've been seeing! :)

Share this post


Link to post

"I love the Spanish dance, but it's so SHORT!"

Who did you see perform the Spanish divertissment? I heard that its terrific in the new Tomassan version. And the Russian, any opinion on that?

Share this post


Link to post

You guys aren't going to let me off the hook, are you? ;-)

OK, when I saw Joan Boada perform the Prince, the Spanish piece was performed by:

Maureen Choi, Frances Chung, Garen Scribner, Rory Hohenstein and Jonathan Mangosing.

Someone (who is Cuban) said to me that those Asian woman have the heart of the Spanish dancer and, it's true, they embody the spirit of the piece. I also love the beautiful costumes.

I also saw Vanessa Zahorian perform the Grand Pas Friday. Yowza. She is such an effortless dancer. I love watching her.

Sharon

P.S. Oh, I forgot to address your question about the Russian piece. It seems to me that it's the same piece as the old production. The costumes are new and it's still a great piece - a real audience favorite. But I don't think it was changed much. (Probably because it was such an audience favorite.) Of course the stage entrance is now much more dramatic and exciting. :-)

P.P.S. Yes, I just noticed this in the program:

Choreography of the Russian divertissement by Anatole Vilzak.

Which makes me suspect it's the same choreography as before. Can anyone confirm that?

Sharon

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you for clarifying. I'm glad Tomasson kept it, it's a great piece of choreography, and in the old production it was always my favorite divertissement.

Share this post


Link to post

Hey guys,

I agree, the Russian dance is incredibly exciting. I hear, though I haven't seen him do it, that Hansuke Yamamoto is the best -- Has anybody seen him? I've seen Pascal Molat and Garrett Anderson as the boy in the middle, and both were fantastic.

I've held off posting, since I was going to write something for Danceviewtimes and needed to keep that clear... It's out now, here's the link, wonder what you'll think

http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2005/Autumn/12/sfbnuts.html

The new Estonian dancer was remarkable -- a little like Vadim, in a way, soft, dreamy, princely.

One thing that struck me when I saw it again from standing room was how much better the projections looked from back there-- Act 2 looked wonderful from all the way back, the color saturations were much more intense and set off the dancing more beautifully than from the seats much closer, where -- maybe? -- ambient stage light washed them out.

I haven't heard much mention of Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun; I thought she was fantastic in Arabian, which is such a tangle of limbs that it takes some doing for her to make her lines show.... Have any of you seen her?

Share this post


Link to post
I've held off posting, since I was going to write something for Danceviewtimes and needed to keep  that clear... It's out now, here's the link, wonder what you'll think

http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2005/Autumn/12/sfbnuts.html

When it doesn't work, Tomasson's "Nutcracker" breaks into pieces.

Paul Parish, you old devil, you -- what a perfect sentence on so many levels! Your description of Friday night's performance tempts me to schedule a trip for next season.

I cannot wait to see Tiit Helimets; I wonder what he'll be cast in in the upcoming repertory season. Siegfried? Faun? Other Dances? Sylvia? Allegro Brilliante?

Share this post


Link to post

Yes yes yes! See, I told you I couldn't do reviews! I said that Tiit was gallant. But your description is so much better! He was princely and romantic. Very much like a fairy tale sort of prince. I hadn't thought of that.

Nice piece!

Sharon

Share this post


Link to post

With all due respect to some very fine reviewers who post on this site, sfshaza, if our members feel "unqualified" because their prose doesn't sing and pop and put pictures in front of our eyes :angry2: the way Paul Parish's does, we'd have one reviewer. Maybe two.

We're a discussion board, so don't feel intimidated.

Share this post


Link to post

LOL! Clearly, I'm not *that* intimidated. I'm just frustrated that I don't have the knowledge to be an informed viewer.

I do disagree with one bit of Paul's review. Even up close, I think it's really captivating. And I like to sit right up close, though I've also seen it from the standing room area at the back.

I am going to see it again Thursday night, and I'm nice and close. ;-)

Sharon

Share this post


Link to post

Sharon, you're totally right -- he IS gallant. It's a very good word for it.

Thanks for your kind words about what I wrote, and glad you feel free to see it your own way. If we didn't we wouldn't GO.

I'm very eager to hear your report on Thursday's show, so please, LOTS of detail.

Paul

Share this post


Link to post

I saw Hansuke Yamamoto dance Russian and he was very good. He danced with enthusiasm and barely controlled abandon, which I think works great in this role. I also had the chance to see Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun dance Snow Queen and she was wonderful. I have also seen Katita Waldo and Muriel Maffrie in that role this year and Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun certainly holds her own in comparison to those two incredible dancers. She danced it softer than Maffrie but still sufficiently "snowy" I saw Nutnaree in the role last year and was not impressed but she was much better this year.

I have seen the show from the balcony and standing room and agree that it looks best from a distance (though the balcony is a bit far to see some of the beautiful details). The geometry of the larger pieces, snow and flowers, is much more apparent and the whole thing fits together much more nicely. I think the magic works better from a distance (but then I have always felt that about ballet in general and do not sit in the orchestra section if I can aviod it).

Paul.. regarding the "fancy dressing room" where Clara transforms into the ballerina, it is the gazebo Clara receives as a gift in the party scene when all the children receive their gifts. If you notice her sitting with the "younger" girls (many of whom are the same age as the girls playing Clara) after the gifts she opens it up to show her friends the ballerina doll within its mirrored interior. The doll wears a tutu similar to that worn by the second act Ballerina.

BTW the woman in the opening with Dross, as well at the policeman, butcher, nurse and nuns in the prolouge are supernumeraries who wrk with both the ballet and SF Opera. The others are company corps members and SFB school students.

I very much enjoy this new Nutcracker and will likely see it a couple more times yet this season

Share this post


Link to post

Hey Balletdad -- THANK YOU for that info!

I haven't noticed her playing with that toy but will look for it.

And I like the way you express yourself -- "Hansuke Yamamoto... danced with enthusiasm and barely controlled abandon, which I think works great in this role."

I totally agree. From what I've heard about what it feels like to dance it, you're in a whirlwind the whole time and just hoping you land where you ought to, no matter how good you are.

Share this post


Link to post

A big :thanks: to everyone who's reported so far! I'm looking forward to seeing it next week (I missed out on the premiere, so haven't seen it at all).

Keep those opinions/impressions/reviews coming! :wub:

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks, Sharon for the tip on Joan Boada--On the basis of last night's performances, I couldn't think of the SF Nutcraker without him. His phrasing and sense of measure was pitch perfect. Kristin Long was very articulate in her dancing--I kept looking at her feet the way you look at someone's lips when they are saying something fascinating, hanging on to every word.

I found the choreography clotted and difficult to figure out when there were more than 9 or so people on stage, though when the Snowflakes were in Y shape/conical form, that was very nice. I enjoyed watching Nutnaree Pipit-Suksun & Chidozie Nzerem in what snippets he had in Arabian, and most everyone else in act 2. And I can sort of imagine the Christensen Brothers in slightly corny Russian, pretty brilliant last night with Pascal Molat, and James Sofranko and Garrett Anderson.

I agree with Paul that this is sort of a new warhorse for the company to dance finely to, but the setting of in Edwardian San Francisco--yet with Queen Anne style houses--seems a bit pointless. The stock characters such as a nanny and carriage (despite SF's notorious inclines), a solo policemen, two fawning nuns, and Eliza Doolittle were a bit too sugary. And too much furniture and moving backdrops and outlines of vaults and domes hanging like clothing on a line. But yes well worth revisiting for the night to night nicely varying performances.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you for that, Quiggin. :)

Chidozie Nzerem has always been a favorite of mine...along with Boada...

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, Quiggin -- that scene with the nuns and the flower-seller is too sweet -- my hunch is that it's an homage to W Christensen's similar scene in the old one.... it also reads MUCH better from the left than from the right....

I bet Kristin Long is fine in the grand pas.

Tonight's show was my first chance to see Davit Karapetyan -- Snow King. He has a beautifully centered way of moving, beautiful lines -- aside from being a musical dancer himself, as a partner he has very nice timing for lifts -- Katita looked great in her own right, and with him behind her, putting her into the picture. Sensational effect.

Sarah van Patten was very fine in the grand pas -- partly because she really entered into the story, and she's almost young enough to be a projection of Clara's, ("me at 17"). She's the first dancer in this role I've who looked like she might actually be Clara when she stepped out of that dressing-room. She felt wonderful in these clothes, her crown, and when she thanked the Sugar Plum Fairy for doing this for her, you could tell she meant it.

She also really gives herself to the music -- in her variation, when she'd start the manege she tombes out of. I guess it's multiple pirouette into releve ballonnes, and does three or four with like quarter-turns, and each time it was like her foot was a little hammer striking a chime -- which is perfect with that music, the foot arrived at its extension just as the note was struck....

There were lots of good performances tonight -- Maya Zakour was lovely as Clara, Moises Martin was marvellous as her father, Ashley was very fine as Drosselmeyer, Anita Paciotti and Jorge Exquivel danced the grandparents with heart and flair. Garrett Anderson was again fantastic, simply fantastic, as Russian, Amanda Schull was hilarious as the head can-can girl -- she just tore it up -- Rachel Viselli didn't dance very well, but her mime was wonderful when she was listening to the Nutcracker's narrative -- she reacted to every point of the story in just the right way, it seemed natural and heartfelt and sincere and I was quite caught up in her audience. Maybe she's just truly shy. She dances as if she's afraid, but her technique is so solid, what is there to fear? Maybe she's afraid she's got to be interesting but doesn't feel like pushing herself on the audience. She's not one of those dancers who gets absorbed in the music... if she had a dramatic role where she'd have to be somebody, like in a Tudor ballet, her dramatic instincts might could bring something out of her? Maybe she'd get caught up in that. Makes you wonder.

Sergio Torrado was very fine as Clara's cavalier. It's the most refined dancing I've ever seen from him -- I've seen him be killer in big male bronze-idol Bolshoi-style roles, like in Chi-Lin; and an hombre muy macho in Don Q. I have NOT liked him in Ballo -- but that's a very hard part; Ricky Weiss didn't look good in it, and it was made on him.

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0