Agree completely, nysusan. This filming of Act I, however, managed to capture the speed and excitement of a Christmas Eve party, from the children's perspective. The many closeups helped me focus my attention, which often wanders or gets distracted by peripheral business.
This is one production that must be seen live to really be appreciated.
Again, I agree completely. In fact, as I watched the movie-house version on Tuesday evening, my mind wandered to a very competent local ballerina who danced Sugar Plum a couple of weekends ago as a guest artists for a local school production. Technical competence; minimal allure; no arc to the performance (something made quote visible by unfortunate fluctuations in facial expression).
While watching Fairchild's SPF I could not help but think that she is no better than the myriad of SPFs now dancing with lesser companies across America. A so-called first tier Company deserves better.
Here's Alastair Macaulay's take on the Fairchild performance: "efficient, brisk, neat, but lightweight, giving a little 'Let's get this over with' abruptness to her phrases. Her face tended to be guarded, tense, projecting sweetness only when she didn't have steps on her mind." Macaulay goes on to comment: "Although City Ballet dances the Balanchine 'Nutcracker' well these days in most respects, too few of its Sugar Plum Fairies exude ballerina magic; and this is a role that should enchant."
Here is one of the great companies of the world, with dancers finished at what is arguable the best school in America, dancing innumerable performances of a work created by the founder of the company. And they still can't manage to fashion consistently enchanting Sugar Plums?
3) Just want to bump a question I asked a few pages ago, regarding tempo.
Maybe I was deluded as to the tempo that night, or have been away from NYCB performances for too long. But, if the tempo WAS exceptionally fast, that might explain some of the problems that have been mentioned by posters..
1) Was this one of the fastest Nutcracker's on record? The unmodulated speed of Otranto's conducting (possibly to fit the 2-hour constraints of the PBS filming) astonished me. Phrasing, nuance and magic seemed to me to be lost at times. Fast tempos added excitement to Act One, but detracted from some of the numbers in Act II. For example, Theresa Reichlen's Coffee -- something I had been looking forward to -- sped by with the no-nonsense pacing of an aerobics video. I felt sorry for her and for the role. Same with the waltzing Flowers. Only Ashley Bouder seemed to be able to combine speed, accuracy, and clarity with phrasing and attention to upper body. The beat was rigid but Bouder's dancing was not She was the star of the evening for me.