mussel

Nutcracker Season at BAM

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The new Ratmansky production will premier on 12/22 and tickets go on sale on 8/30 for BAM members and 9/7 for general public.

The costume sketches look very promising, traditional with a bit of whimsical twist: Toy soldiers, harleguin, Drosselmeyer, Mouse King.

Casting. Since Nutcracker is more family oriented and less cast dependent, I think it's a great opportunity to give some of the principal roles to soloists or even corp members. There could be some intriguing castings if ABT thinks outside the Met box. So what's your wish list for Sugar Plum, Dew Drop, Cavalier, Arabian dances,...?

I've never been to BAM, how's the sight line at the opera house? Where to sit and which section to avoid? How about dinning options in the area?

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I've never been to BAM, how's the sight line at the opera house?

Much better than at the Met, I think. I usually sit high up, and at the Met that means not being able to see much of the backdrop. This should be much less of a problem at BAM. The orchestra level and balconies all have steep inclines, and the online ticketing system will indicate which seats have partially blocked views because of the lighting arrays, and that's basically the first row of the balconies.

I'm no expert on the subject, but there are tons of restaurants in the area, all along Fulton Street.

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Any thoughts on side boxes or other places where I can get a close look at the dancers' faces and lines, and where, even if partial view, I can see most of the stage, would be really appreciated :blink: What I would be looking for would be something like the second or third-closest box to the stage in Side Parterre, at the Met.

I'd love to see Hee Seo as Sugar Plum, and of course Hallberg as the cavalier.

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Stella Abrera as Sugar Plum. Sarah Lane as Dewdrop. Hallberg would be perfection as the Cavalier but if we're going to soloists, then Cory Stearns.

We usually go up to Vermont for Xmas week so I hope I can fit in a Nutcracker on one end or the other. Otherwise it will simply be too long until Met season 2011. I've never been to BAM either. They seem to have the most interesting programming and I've always wanted to go.

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So what's your wish list for Sugar Plum, Dew Drop, Cavalier,...?

Isn't this Vainonen's version...? I have a DVD of this production, but I haven't seen it in a long time. Do they have a Drew Drop character...? What about the cavalier's tarantella variation? If Vainonen's, then there is that charming Pas de Trois performed to the Marzipan's Mirlitons music. Cute, indeed but I wonder why there hasn't been an effort to restore Fedorova's staging to ABT.

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Isn't this Vainonen's version...? Cute, indeed but I wonder why there hasn't been an effort to restore Fedorova's staging to ABT.

It's being choreographed by Ratmansky so it is unlikely to be a carbon copy of any previous version.

I've haven't read anything yet as to what approach he'll take , if he'll use as earlier version as a starting point.

Personally, I can't see the point of "recreating" anything by Fedorova's or any other mid 20th century versions that are several generations from the original. They are like games of "telephone", particularly if they blindly reproduce errors like the cut in the SPF's pdd . If historical emphasis is being sought, I would think the approach would be a recreation of the original via the Sergeyev notebooks.

As other posters have pointed out on an earlier thread:

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/30739-nutcracker/page__p__259589__hl__%2Bnutcracker+%2Bratmansky+%2Babt__fromsearch__1#entry259589

Ratmansky has already staged a Nutcracker for the RDB which wasn't universally liked. And Ratmansky's previous restagings have run the gamut from the historical recreations (Corsair) to "from scratch" new takes (Cinderella).

And these two are very, very different in approach.

I just hope he doesn't get bogged down by making something toooooo cutesy. "Family friendly" is fine but not toooo much "sugar". A really good sweet, after all, has a balance between the sugar and the other elements.

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It will certainly be an interesting experiment. There will be eight performances of The Hard Nut, followed by 16 of Ratmansky's Nutcracker. Is BAM counting on attracting completely different audiences for the two productions? I wonder whether this juxtaposition will affect Ratmansky's approach.

Any thoughts on side boxes or other places where I can get a close look at the dancers' faces and lines, and where, even if partial view, I can see most of the stage, would be really appreciated :blink: What I would be looking for would be something like the second or third-closest box to the stage in Side Parterre, at the Met.

There is a single column of boxes on either side of the stage, but I don't think they're used often, and tickets for them can't be purchased online. Here's a view of the auditorium.

http://www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=10

The BAM auditorium is a good deal smaller than the Met's and seats half as many people. The distance from the front of the stage to the back of the balcony is not nearly as long as the distance to the back of the Family Circle. Last month I saw two performances at BAM and in both cases I sat on the top level, once in the second row and once in the fourth. From there I could see the dancers' faces perfectly without binoculars, and my eyesight is quite poor. On the other hand, when I sit on the Met's Balcony, I can't make out the faces very clearly.

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Personally, I can't see the point of "recreating" anything by Fedorova's or any other mid 20th century versions that are several generations from the original. They are like games of "telephone"...

True. No point whatsoever. :flowers:

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There are definitely some very bad, bad seats in the Opera House's Balcony.

You can see here the stands for the lights and the poles that support them. The box office sells seats directly behind the poles, creating a bifurcated view, as I learned from long-ago experience. You do not want to sit there, I promise. Unfortunately, the seating chart we see doesn't indicate which seats they are. I hope they are marked on the box office's system.

Personally, I can't see the point of "recreating" anything by Fedorova's or any other mid 20th century versions that are several generations from the original. They are like games of "telephone"...

True. No point whatsoever. :flowers:

Artistically, you're both right. In terms of box office $, it hardly matters, at least for the first year.

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Stella Abrera as Sugar Plum. Sarah Lane as Dewdrop. Hallberg would be perfection as the Cavalier but if we're going to soloists, then Cory Stearns.

That sounds great to me. Or Sarah Lane as Sugar Plum, Cornejo as the Cavalier, Abrera as Dewdrop, Kristi Boone as Snow Queen.

Of course much depends on Ratmansky's take on Clara. Baryshnikov's Clara was a dancer not a child (Gelsey K in the film). I believe Peter Wright's production has Clara in just about every 2nd act variation (Alina Cojocaru in the film). If Clara is a real dancing role, I vote for Sarah Lane as Clara.

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Dewdrop is a role that Balanchine created for his version of Nutcracker. It's not traditional and there's no reason to assume that Ratmansky's Nut will include a Dewdrop. In fact, I'd be very, very surprised if it did.

I'm betting that ABT's Clara will be a dancing role, not a child's role. There are a lot of possible Clara's at ABT. I'd love to see it danced by Lane, Reyes, Copeland,Kajiya or Seo. I think Lane & Copeland would be my first choices. I'd want Part & Abrera as Sugar Plum, for sure!

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True. Dewdrop is a Balanchine invention. Snow Queens are a Pavlova contraption. Adult casts as children :icon8: have marked most Russian productions since at least Gorsky's, right after WWI. We'll have to see what comes out, but I'm a little cautious about predicting what the new ABT show will be like.

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There are definitely some very bad, bad seats in the Opera House's Balcony.

You can see here the stands for the lights and the poles that support them. The box office sells seats directly behind the poles, creating a bifurcated view, as I learned from long-ago experience. You do not want to sit there, I promise. Unfortunately, the seating chart we see doesn't indicate which seats they are. I hope they are marked on the box office's system.

They are, as little circles with black dots inside, exactly like the Met or Royal Opera House systems, and the BAM system indicates whether the offending obstacle is a lighting platform or a pole. The system will also give you a photo preview of the sight lines from various locations, and unlike the ROH system, the stage is shot with the curtain open, so you can get a pretty clear idea of how much of it is visible.

Just for reference, this seems to be the only show at the opera house for which tickets are currently on sale, which allows for a test drive of the seat selection system.

http://tickets.bam.o...anceNumber=4927

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volcantohunter -- Thanks. The photo previews of the views are based on there being no orchestra, as far as I can tell (see the Orchestra previews closest to the front). I wonder how that is going to work.

Does any member have a sense as to what the first three rows of Orchestra are like?

I might have to join BAM to get access to seats I would like.

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If Clara does turn out to be dancing role, I'd nominate Boylston. I can see her having a wonderfully childlike quality, like G. Kirkland had. Also, I find her dancing beautiful.

Her Cavalier? Halberg, ideally. But I've seen Boylston partnered with Stearns to nice effect before too (because he isn't super-secure as a partner yet, I think he does better with smaller dancers).

Stella would make a stunning Arabian dancer, with her gorgeous extensions and exotic looks. And Ratmansky will certainly include the acrobatic Russian dancer (Trepak), right? I can picture Simkin dazzling the audience in that variation. He'd look quite darling in a fur hat too.

I think other Nutcracker versions use the Dewdrop too, perhaps after Balanchine. I know for a fact, anyway, that New Jersey Ballet's production, which I danced in, had a Dewdrop. It was choreographed by George Tomal and quite different than the Balanchine version.

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Hallberg is the ideal cavalier, but I noticed that Stiefel's bio on the ABT website includes the following:

"His roles with the Company [ABT] include ... the Cavalier in The Nutcracker ...."

Did the ABT have a Nutcracker at some point in time since Stiefel joined ABT in 1997? Hallberg's bio also indicates that he has performed with the ABT as the Cavalier, and he has only been with the ABT since 2001 (when he started as corps member).

When Hallberg is not performing, Stiefel may be a good choice. The role is not so technically demanding, at least to my recollection based on other productions, that it would tax Stiefel's current abilities and Stiefel also has the look of the cavalier. BTW, I hope Ratmansky will rein in Kevin M when it comes to background scenery and costumes -- this production of the Nutcracker should not be kitschy or too colorful. Does the choreographer have a say in such matters?

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Hallberg is the ideal cavalier, but I noticed that Stiefel's bio on the ABT website includes the following:

"His roles with the Company [ABT] include ... the Cavalier in The Nutcracker ...."

Did the ABT have a Nutcracker at some point in time since Stiefel joined ABT in 1997? Hallberg's bio also indicates that he has performed with the ABT as the Cavalier, and he has only been with the ABT since 2001 (when he started as corps member).

ABT did a Nutcracker as recently as 2 or 3 years ago in DC. I don't know what the production was like. I know Part was one of the Sugarplum Fairys.

BTW, I hope Ratmansky will rein in Kevin M when it comes to background scenery and costumes -- this production of the Nutcracker should not be kitschy or too colorful. Does the choreographer have a say in such matters?

Sleeping Beauty is one production, so let's not extrapolate a bright kitsch aesthetic and call that Mackenzie's based on that ballet. While Mackenzie's productions have their flaws, I don't think the problem with Swan Lake is that it is too colorful, or that it looks kitschy. In fact with the exception of the Swampthing/Purple Rothbart (and there are a lot of other ugly rothbart costumes out there, but swamp thing does take the cake) it is a visually beautiful production. In any case, the lead in such matters would be Ratmansky I would think, though the rest of the ABT executive team would have to be involved in any (such expensive) decisions...

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If ABT is true to form, we are likely to see all available principals as SPF and her Cav.

I would be very surprised if Misty Copeland and Luciana Paris, both regularly typecast in sexy roles, don't show up as Coffee.

Since ABT has its own apparently firmly-established feeder academy now, I fervently hope that they use children to dance children's roles. Who knows what "first looks" we might have for spotting future stars? Some of us remember NYCB children such as Jennie Somogyi and Peter Boal from their days as little Maries and Princes.

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From the ABT Calendar, one can already see the show times currently scheduled for the Nutcracker. Note how early the evening performances generally are, presumably to allow children to attend. Many days have two performances, but not necessarily at a consistent time every day.

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Since ABT has its own apparently firmly-established feeder academy now, I fervently hope that they use children to dance children's roles. Who knows what "first looks" we might have for spotting future stars?

Not to mention the fact that this is a great way to fill seats. Even the Martha Graham company is wise to this fact. During its recent season at the Joyce, it had city high school students dance Graham's Panorama. Before the show the woman I was sitting next to asked me whom I'd come to see. I'm sure I looked puzzled when I told her I'd come to see the ballets, but it turned out that she and her sister had come to watch her daughter in Panorama. (They stayed for Appalachian Spring but left during the intermission; I don't know whether this was disinterest in Graham's work or, more likely, a need to get those teenagers out of the backstage area.) In any case, it was a canny move to get those parents to come because otherwise the show, which was sold out, would have had an audience made up primarily of septua- and octogenarians.

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So, it's ABT's 25 Nutcrackers to NYCB's 47.

Using young soloists as a dancing Clara and Prince would certainly differentiate ABT's show from NYCB's. That should be good for ticket sales.

Using children as children is box-office and public-relations magic in the U.S.. I can't imagine ABT NOT doing this.

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Maybe more people will realize that Brooklyn is not in New England or south of the Mason/Dixon line and will get on the subway and head to BAM.

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ABT did a Nutcracker as recently as 2 or 3 years ago in DC. I don't know what the production was like. I know Part was one of the Sugarplum Fairys.

ABT danced it in D.C. in 2005 and 2007. Hallberg was Part's cavalier, and Erica Cornejo was a beautiful Clara, in the 2005 performance I saw. This danceviewtimes review from 2005 says a bit about the production. You can also get some little sense of it in

from the White House Children's Christmas Reception in 2005, broadcast by C-Span.

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I called BAM and ABT to clarify whether it is BAM membership or ABT membership that is talked about, in terms of having access to earlier purchase of tickets. It is NOT BAM membership.

ABT members at Dancer's Circle levels are expected, at least based on current info, to have the same access to date of purchase as ABT Met subscribers who are not ABT members. ABT members at sufficiently high levels of membership may get even more special privileges re: booking the Nutcracker (to be determined), similar to their privileges re: Met seasons tickets.

Ticket prices will start at $15 for balcony partial view, going up to $95 for Prime Orchestra or Prime Mezz. There are some $30 tickets, but, other than that, I am not sure what the levels of pricing are in between.

The current expectation might be that casting NOT be announced before the late August purchase date! That might be pretty bad for me, because I only want to see Hallberg as cavalier.

I don't know whether the above will remain accurate, so treate as preliminary background info only.

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A recent Dancepulse episode features Hallberg:

"I saw the Nutcracker, and I fell in love with ballet."

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