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Nutcracker Reviews & Impressions


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#16 carbro

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:19 PM

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.

#17 sfshaza

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 05:48 PM

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

#18 Paul Parish

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 06:39 PM

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

#19 balletdad

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 09:27 AM

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

#20 Paul Parish

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 09:52 AM

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.

#21 BalletNut

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 04:15 PM

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:

#22 Quiggin

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 03:35 PM

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.

#23 BalletNut

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 07:20 PM

Thank you for that, Quiggin. :)

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

#24 Paul Parish

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 11:12 PM

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.


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