Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

SFB's Nutcracker at the moviesDecember 22, 2007


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Sapphire Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,038 posts

Posted 16 December 2007 - 01:27 PM

If this information has already been posted elsewhere on the site, I apologize. There's been some ink spilled over the National Ballet of Canada's decision to broadcast a live performance of The Nutcracker to movie theatres throughout Canada. As it happens, the San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker will also be beamed to movie theatres on the afternoon of December 22, primarily in Canada, but in some U.S. cities as well.

The production will air on PBS a year from now, and judging by the Digiscreen web site, it will also appear on Opus Arte DVD.

U.S. cities
Denver, CO
Austin, TX
Cannery, NV
Carson City, NV
Riverband, CA
Monroe, WA
Novi, MI
Canton, MI
Birch Run, MI

Canadian cities
St. John's, NL
Sydney, NS
Halifax, NS
Moncton, NB
Fredericton, NB
Saint John, NB
Charlottetown, PEI
Montreal, QC
Toronto, ON
Kitchener, ON
North York, ON
Mississauga, ON
Waterloo, ON
Ottawa, ON
St. Catharines, ON
Winnipeg, MB
Saskatoon, SK
Edmonton, AB
Calgary, AB
Vancouver, BC

http://www.digiscree...digiscreen.html

#2 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,258 posts

Posted 16 December 2007 - 05:36 PM

Thank you for this! Oh, please, Father Christmas, let this be a trend :)

#3 PeggyR

PeggyR

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 654 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 11:27 AM

Thank you for this! Oh, please, Father Christmas, let this be a trend :wink:


A huge 'amen' to that.

And if Father Christmas can handle another request, how about providing this new, digital age of filmed performances with some good dance directors. There must be some former dancers out there with an interest in directing.

BTW I'll be seeing SFB's Nutcracker next week; no casting posted yet.

#4 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,332 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 08:00 PM

I thought that this broadcast was going to be live; from the Ridge Theatre website,

The performance will be captured live this December at the “jewel of San Francisco” the War Memorial Opera House (where it plays to sold out houses), and appears before audiences in High Definition and full Surround Sound at select Canadian screens on December 22nd.


However, the broadcast starts at 1pm Pacific Time, and the matinee in San Francisco is at 2pm, according to the SFB website.

So the "captured" part is taped, and this Saturday matinee's superb cast is only one of several that might have been "captured" for broadcast. I'm pretty disapointed, since they just replaced the Grand Pas "TBA" and Katita Waldo is dancing.

Also, you'd never know from the SFB website that these broadcasts are happening, not even in the "Recent News" section.

#5 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Sapphire Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,038 posts

Posted 19 December 2007 - 09:48 PM

I suppose it would be logical to ask anyone who's been to see the SFB's Nutcracker whether they've seen any film crews at the opera house lately.

Live or not, I'm still encouraged by the prospect of bona fide ballets being shown on a big screen, particularly if this Nutcracker is a harbinger of future "broadcasts" of the Royal Ballet or whatever other companies Opus Arte plans to put on DVD. (Just so long as it isn't La La La Human Steps. :wink:)

#6 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,332 posts

Posted 21 December 2007 - 09:39 PM

dirac posted an article in Links today about the filming of San Francisco Ballet's "The Nutcracker."

After running through the game plan Sunday morning - Diamond tossed off jokes, tweaked bits of the script and pointed out details on the TV screen with a red laser - the camera crew set up in the Opera House for the 2 p.m. matinee, and the directors, producers and Tomasson convened in a trailer on Grove Street filled with monitors and mixing boards. Sunday's filming was a rehearsal for the actual tapings on Wednesday and Friday. Wednesday's performance is the one that will be shown in theaters; the PBS show that airs next year will be drawn from both performances. Diamond and Tomasson will edit the final piece together.


Not only were there two performances Wednesday and today, the cast lists are already expunged from the SFB website cast list. Drat.

#7 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Sapphire Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,038 posts

Posted 21 December 2007 - 10:36 PM

I did manage to find some cast lists cached on Google. Assuming the casting didn't change, the candidates are:

Wednesday matinee:
Conductor: Martin West
Drosselmeyer: Damian Smith
Queen and King of the Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan, Pierre-François Vilanoba
Sugar Plum Fairy: Vanessa Zahorian
Grand Pas de Deux: Maria Kochetkova, Davit Karapetyan

Wednesday evening:
Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Drosselmeyer: Jorge Esquivel
Queen and King of the Snow: Elizabeth Miner, Pascal Molat
Sugar Plum Fairy: Elana Altman
Grand Pas de Deux: Sarah Van Patten, Pierre-Francois Vilanoba

Friday matinee:
Conductor: Martin West
Drosselmeyer: Damian Smith
Queen and King of the Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan, Pierre-François Vilanoba
Sugar Plum Fairy: Vanessa Zahorian
Grand Pas de Deux: Maria Kochetkova, Davit Karapetyan

Friday evening:
Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Drosselmeyer: Jorge Esquivel
Queen and King of the Snow: Vanessa Zahorian, Garrett Anderson
Sugar Plum Fairy: Rachel Viselli
Grand Pas de Deux: Sarah Van Patten, Pierre-François Vilanoba

So it would seem that the matinee cast was the one filmed.

#8 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,332 posts

Posted 21 December 2007 - 11:59 PM

Thank you, volcanohunter.

I'm a bit disappointed, but actually not surprised, because Tan is known from the Othello DVD. I would have preferred either of the evening casts or tomorrow's actual matinee cast. But none of the other dancers are listed, and hopefully some of them will find their way into the other roles.

#9 Marga

Marga

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,022 posts

Posted 22 December 2007 - 04:59 PM

I chose to go see the National Ballet of Canada this afternoon in Toronto, but was curious about the San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker which was playing up the street at another movie theatre. It seems that only 13 people were in the audience for San Francisco!
How ironic that the rare time ballet is available to all at the movies, the 2 productions are being shown at the same time. Yes, SFB started at 1 PM and NBoC at 2, but still..... :thumbsup:

#10 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,332 posts

Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:39 PM

I was at one of two theaters in which it played in Vancouver. (It started at 1pm here, but it wasn't live; the live NBoC performance started at 11.) I don't know what the crowds were like at the Ridge, but in downtown on Granville, I don't think there were many more than 30 people, including a family of obnoxious children.

The kids did, though, show exactly where in Act II they'd had enough: talking at conversational volume intermittently during the Waltz of the Flowers, and then incessantly during the Grand Pas de Deux. During many dozens of performances of NYCB's "Nutcracker," I found that the GPdD seems to be the near universal breaking point for the attention span of all but the most rapt children.

Apart from some intro credits, including the sponsors, that played over the Sugar Plum Fairy solo, there were no credits during the actual performance. There were credits at the end that went by so fast they were nearly impossible to read, and the performers weren't listed in the printed program. I caught Sarah van Patten listed as Genie, but no other dancers that weren't on the website cast list. It was very frustrating, especially since Tea danced so beautifully. Who was he????

I really like the dramatic structure and the consistent theatrical conceit of smaller things going into boxes and come out bigger. This started during the overture, after a series of photos of San Francisco circa 1915, with a final shot of Drosselmeyer's Clock Shop, in which the first live scene takes place. Drosselmeyer puts the Nutcracker into its special box, and hides it behind the counter as a young girl and her mother come to choose a gift. After rejecting toys, the young girl is delighted by a clock. When the customers leave, Drosselmeyer dons an alchmist's robe and his cape, and heads off with the nutcracker to the Stalhbaums' party.

The first scene after the overture takes place in front of a block of rowhouses, one which is the Stahlbaums'. A young woman avoids a policeman as she sells bouquets. A butcher comes by, asking for directions to make a delivery, a nurse pushes a baby carriage. Drosselmeyer buys a bouquet from the flower seller and gives it to the nurse, before going to the Stahlbaums; he's let in by a servant. Two nuns pass. The butcher comes back with an empty delivery crate. The young girl, whose mother bought the clock begs for a bouquet, and her mother obliges her. A women taking fast tiny steps on huge heels buzzes by, followed by a man laden with her packages. The scene drop and stairs are flown out to show the Stahlbaums house, complete with a large sweeping staircase stage left. I found the scene immensely charming and brilliant in setting a time and place.

There were a number of magic tricks -- a blooming scarf, a flying cane -- performed for the children, but this extended to the boxes from which the various dolls emerged, to the young Marie transforming into an adult Clara. Drosselmeyer, played by Damian Smith, was a benevelent soul, with a touch of Rob Besserer's own odd magic. He was not one to incite the boys to attack the girls. (The music in which the girls lull their dolls to sleep to have the loud boys disrupt them was not repeated. Yay.)

The dream sequence was done beautifully: elements of the party scene -- the weird, gumby like harlequin, the stilted ballerina doll -- were introduced, Drosselmeyer came up through a trap door in a giant cloud of dry ice, and having super-large presents under the huge tree to Clara's delight, before the dream turned scary, was a logical progression of simple manifest content that turned threatening. Clara was a clever girl, organizing her friends to capture the Mouse King in a giant mousetrap. (This was engineered seamlessly into the Prince's mime in Act II.) The adult Nutcracker, having been saved by Clara (with a little help from Drosselmeyer), transforms into the Prince. He dances for her in his gratitude, but I found it odd dramatically that he treats her, a young teenager, as a romantic partner, including in some lifts. (When he then follows the Sugar Plum Fairy into the wings, it almost seems like he's cheating on her already.)

The second act was a continuation of the dream, with Drosselmeyer by Clara's side throughout the act. It was a lovely re-transformation to have her appear on the small sofa on which she first fell asleep during the coda.

Tomasson sets a beautiful scene, but, overall, the dancing, especially the group dancing and that for children, is another story. Tomasson can fit steps into musical sequences, but often they don't tie together or breathe. (He's better in solos and small ensembles.) The dancers looks frantic in the first act dances, although it was a nice touch to have the grandparents take the first verse of the group dance. The Dance of the Snowflakes, with the Snow King and Queen, neither flowed nor built around the corps.

The setting for Act II was very bare; as a result, the relatively small group of children who played butterflies and bugs in the opening of Act II looked lost on the big stage. Also because they weren't large in number, there was no architectural gravitas, and on film, it looked sloppy. In this Production, they complement the Flowers, who appear to be ladies in waiting to the Sugar Plum Fairy, like in A Midsummer Night's Dream; none of the other Act II dancers watch the Prince's mime or are introduced to Clara and the Prince. Indeed, as we find out in Waltz of the Flowers, the Sugar Plum Fairy leads the dance.

The choreography picked up with some the national dances. Tomasson has given some beautiful, open choroegraphy for the men, from the Nutcracker/Prince -- although I would have preferred the dancing cut from the Prince's mime, and the camera to have stayed on him, instead of cutting out at any time -- to the lovely Tea, who was accompanied by a fiery red dragon (it looked like and adult and then a trail of children), to the Trepak dancers who burst out of Faberge eggs, to the final Pas de Deux. The Arabian had a good premise: two men carry in a magic lamp, and after they dance and rub the lamp, a female genie appears, but it didn't quite sustain itself. The Polichelles, usually the best dance for children, featured them at the very beginning, and then turned static as they were upstaged, not by Mother Ginger, but by a slow-dancing bear that emerged from her skirts.

The ribbon toting Marzipan tarts, complete with garters, were happily cast with three juicy dancers, none of whose names I could catch in the credits. The ribbons, like the ones used by rhythmic gymnastics, may have been a gimmick, but they were a visual delight and very musical. The middle section, in which Clara holds the ribbons while they dance plain, was not as inspired, but the dancers were inspiring.

The young Clara steps into a giant box and emerges as the adult Clara, to dance the Grand Pas de Deux with the Nutcracker Prince. I had never seen Maria Kochetkova before. She's a small dancer: she didn't look much bigger than the young Clara. But she danced with the authority of a tall woman. I particularly liked the way she carried her neck and shoulders in the adagio and her lovely arms. I didn't watch her upper body as much in her solo and the allegro: I was too mesmerized by her singing feet. She's a lovely dancer, one I hope to see live.

Except for the flowers, whose petals seemed a bit like layers of feathered peplum, Martin Pakledinaz's costumes were a knockout. They alone would have been worth the price of the ticket, movie or theater. Overall, I would have been disappointed, though, had I travelled to see the production. The movie was just fine.

#11 tikititatata

tikititatata

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:46 PM

It was very frustrating, especially since Tea danced so beautifully. Who was he????

Tomasson sets a beautiful scene, but, overall, the dancing, especially the group dancing and that for children, is another story. Tomasson can fit steps into musical sequences, but often they don't tie together or breathe. (He's better in solos and small ensembles.) The dancers looks frantic in the first act dances, although it was a nice touch to have the grandparents take the first verse of the group dance. The Dance of the Snowflakes, with the Snow King and Queen, neither flowed nor built around the corps.

The Arabian had a good premise: two men carry in a magic lamp, and after they dance and rub the lamp, a female genie appears, but it didn't quite sustain itself. The Polichelles, usually the best dance for children, featured them at the very beginning, and then turned static as they were upstaged, not by Mother Ginger, but by a slow-dancing bear that emerged from her skirts.

Overall, I would have been disappointed, though, had I travelled to see the production. The movie was just fine.


I had no idea they were broadcasting this production :sweatingbullets:

I do agree that Maria Kochetkova is quite lovely; I look forward to seeing more this season. As for Tea, I wonder if you saw Daniel Deivison or Nicolas Blanc? The up and coming Deivison was impressive -- possibly the best -- when I was him this week. Blanc is often casted in this role as well.

I also think this entire production is very rushed (the party scene steps are literally too fast for the young dancers) and was surprised to see a lot of kids who are unable to listen to music. The School is so strict, how is this allowed, I wonder?! I really miss the old production, not sure if you've seen it, where the Mother Ginger and her crumblettes were adorable sans bear. The Arabian lost its mysterious allure as well (it's quite obvious she's hiding in the lamp)... but there were changes for the better I suppose (the drosselmyer is less sketchy; redundancies are cut out) but there are problems that have not been fixed considering they continue to have problems (since 2004 or so). The Nutcracker Prince's emergence from his "shell" is particularly worrisome at EVERY SINGLE performance, struggling too long to break free. I wonder why they haven't changed the cuffs. Also, was there a little too much snow towards the end? It looked like a blizzard to me... often times less is more. Thank you Helene for your review :)

#12 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Sapphire Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,038 posts

Posted 23 December 2007 - 02:11 PM

I didn't count the number of people at the movie theatre I was at. There were fewer spectators than at the last Met broadcast I'd attended at the same theatre, but that wasn't exactly packed either. In future there would have to be better advertising. I found out about the show quite by accident, having seen a poster in the multiplex lobby a little more than a week earlier, which is fortunate, because I don't venture out to the movies very often. I also have no idea how many people attended the National Ballet of Canada's broadcast in this city. I would hope that future ballet broadcasts wouldn't conflict with local productions, so that the whole promotional atmosphere could be more cooperative.

As for the production, I really liked the "Meet Me in St. Louis" feel of the party scene, though I agree with tikititatata's point about the insane pace of the children's dances. I liked Drosselmeyer - eccentric rather than creepy, though I can't say that Clara brought much to the story dramatically, either in this scene or during the battle, which may have been the fault of the dancer. I enjoyed Tomasson's dignified characterization of the grandparents, who weren't an object of comedy, as they are in some productions I've seen. Having the Nutcracker perform the soldier's dance was a clever idea, and the extensive use of the trap door turned Drosselmeyer into an accomplished magician.

Like Helene, I admired the dream sequence. It and the ensuing battle didn't quite match the magic of my first exposure to the Balanchine production, but then I don't really expect that experience to be topped. Still, I found the whole thing charming. Davit Karapetyan was excellent. He didn't seem to have any trouble removing his "shell," so I didn't realize this was a problematic costume.

In spite of my apprehensions going in, I didn't dislike Yuan Yuan Tan's Snow Queen, though my date preferred the dancing of her partner, Pierre-François Vilanoba. Full marks to the corps of snowflakes. They were terrific. And I love the the huge quantity of snow. Toward the end I did wonder how well the dancers could see through it, but for once the stage effect actually matched the music. Full high marks to the orchestra also.

I was also surprised by the spareness of the Act 2 set. I wondered whether it had lost something in translation to the two-dimensional screen. I was thoroughly enjoying the national dances, including the dance hall girls, but midway through the dancing bear the theatre's computer froze. :sweatingbullets: I suppose this is a hazard of the new digital entertainment universe, but it's extremely frustrating. (I am greatly relieved that Helene didn't run into this problem, after making a cross-border trip to see the show!) So, not having seen the Waltz of the Flowers, or the grand pas de deux, or the finale, or Maria Kochetkova's dancing, I'm stuck waiting till next Christmas to see the rest of the ballet on television. It's a pity because I was enjoying myself. Still, I suppose that three-quarters of a ballet and a free movie pass is better than no ballet at all, though I'd rather not repeat the experience of ballettus interruptus!

#13 MJ

MJ

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 189 posts

Posted 23 December 2007 - 05:32 PM

The really exciting aspect is the ability to show performances at any time, anywhere. With satellite transmission and digital projection, any movie or performance can now be sent to any well equipped movie theatre.

#14 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,332 posts

Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:11 PM

I saw this cast, which volcanohunter found in its cached version:

Wednesday matinee:
Conductor: Martin West
Drosselmeyer: Damian Smith
Queen and King of the Snow: Yuan Yuan Tan, Pierre-François Vilanoba
Sugar Plum Fairy: Vanessa Zahorian
Grand Pas de Deux: Maria Kochetkova, Davit Karapetyan


I saw Karapetyan in a program last year -- maybe Firebird? -- and I remember thinking that he was brittle, but I thought he was anything but in the Grand Pas de Deux. He danced with such ease.

I actually thought that the adults' dances were pretty insanely paced as well.

I was a bit worried that a combination of the dry ice/smoke from Drosselmeyer's entrance and the snow would be tricky, but the dancers seemed to have no trouble with the blizzard.

I am so sorry you encounted transmission problems, volcanohunter :sweatingbullets:

I didn't get up to Vancouver until Friday, but I don't remember hearing any radio or print advertising for the broadcast in the Seattle area before then, even though it was playing in Monroe. (Though for many in Seattle, Monroe might as well been San Francisco. ) I found out about it here. I would have gone to NBoC's broadcast, had I not seen this thread. The SFB website didn't have anything about it on their home page or their Nutcracker page, although they did have an announcement on the home page that they are hiring a principal dancer.

#15 tikititatata

tikititatata

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts

Posted 24 December 2007 - 11:19 AM

Davit Karapetyan was excellent. He didn't seem to have any trouble removing his "shell," so I didn't realize this was a problematic costume.


Right, I suppose they filmed several sessions for a reason (why broadcast those performances with troubles)! I've just seen it happen so many times and I also happened to go on a night when they were experiencing a huge number of technical difficulties and the prince was stuck in his jacket at the wrist for 4 minutes. Kochetkova & Karapetyan are a newer but technically superb pair; I wonder if they will make these available for sale...? Wish you could've seen Frances Chung and Jaime Garcia Castilla too -- very beautifully clean dancing with wonderful acting!! They should be another good pair to look out for during the regular season (*fingers crossed that they will be paired*)!!


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):