No one can help but smile when Frances Chung is onstage, and her performance in the "Grand Pas de Deux" with Davit Karapetyan dazzles. She is charming and cheerful without being saccharine, and her eyes and épaulement are flirtatious and fun. And Karapetyan’s princely machismo makes the audience roar.
Tuesday, December 11
Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:24 PM
Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:26 PM
As explained in the press materials, when Robert Joffrey (with contributions from Gerald Arpino) choreographed Nutcracker for the original production in 1987, he decided to switch out the traditional German milieu for one set in a 19th century American mansion (brilliant realized by the sumptuous set design of Oliver Smith). We gain a setting both more familiar to us and a bit more ominous – especially when the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer (clad in black and wearing an eye-patch, no less) enters the scene and begins bestowing gifts for the children and controlling the party guests with his clap and a cloud of magic dust.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:29 PM
Though the weather outside was far from frightful, the Civic Center was absolutely delightful for opening night of Oklahoma City Ballet's “The Nutcracker.” The balconies were festooned with lighted garland as the Philharmonic began playing Tchaikovsky's familiar overture to a nearly full house.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:43 PM
It was a visual and artistic delight, even though because of budget reasons it was performed using a recorded version of Tchaikovsky's score. Before the show, members of the Sacramento Philharmonic quietly passed out fliers outside the theater asking folks to support the ballet and help bring the musicians back to the orchestra pit for the 2013 run.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:44 PM
Since OBT’s fall opener, I’ve felt the same way about Xuan Cheng. As the Sugarplum Fairy on Saturday night, she looked as if she was made of spun sugar and could break at any minute. But she danced as if she were as indestructible as steel cable, her affect otherworldly in her solo variation, humanly romantic in the Grand Pas de Deux with Chauncey Parsons as her elegant Cavalier. Their performance of that pyrotechnical set piece was darned near flawless, marred only by a thin-sounding orchestra. You can tell that Parsons has been trained by the Russians (he’s a Kirov Academy graduate); in his variation he delivered the jetés and tours en ménage with accuracy and attention to line, of course, but also with considerable panache.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:53 PM
This is a much-loved fairytale reborn as a Gothic vampire drama, says Debra Craine in The Times. In this exuberant reimagining Dominic North is "a tender, loveable Leo" and Hannah Vassallo "a feisty, free-spirited Aurora". Sure to resonate with audiences in the age of Twilight and True Blood".
Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:23 AM
With the way the lazy retail industry relies on Tchaikovsky's score in the attempt to class up their holiday in-store soundtracks, hearing pieces like "Waltz of the Flowers" or "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" properly performed by the Austin Symphony Orchestra should be enough to make the ticket worthwhile for many. More likely to snag your attention are the dancers, though, as on Saturday each soloist was focused, lithe, and graceful and supporting cast members (including dozens of adorable Angels, Bon Bons, Mice and Party Kids) enliven the simple story of a girl wandering through dreamland with color, charm and wit.
Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:25 AM
Only a few productions of “The Nutcracker” feature a character called the Snow Boy (or sometimes the Snow Prince). Usually his function is to add a powerful dash of virtuosity to the snow scene that ends Act I; sometimes he’s a junior member of a Snow royal family. But I’ve always found the role trite — until Saturday afternoon, when Dances Patrelle performed “The Yorkville Nutcracker,” and a 15-year-old dancer named Alexandros Pappajohn suddenly flooded the stage with style, charm and fantasy.
Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:26 AM
(In the first New Jersey Ballet production of “The Nutcracker,” the role of the Nutcracker Prince was danced by Edward Villella, at the time a star of the New York City Ballet).....
McRae points out that “The Nutcracker” is performed by a corps of 100 dancers, in addition to the live orchestra. “We’re able to keep all the special effects that we’ve always used,” he says. “It’s a production with a lot of magic.”
Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:33 AM
The production features professional dancers from around the world, including Ritsuko Sato from Japan as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Sabrina Rinaldi from Italy as the Arabian Princess. Dancers from Albano Youth Ballet will also be a part of the production.
Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:43 AM
Robert LaFosse, who used to chew the scenery to a pulp, has learned that less is more. His Herr Drosselmeier is now nuanced and subtle, tolerant of the children’s teasing up to a point, but also willing to put his foot down, socially at ease with the adults, but shrouded in magic that is beyond them. The theme of growth and change from child to adolescent and eventually adult, permeated this performance, in part because Drosselmeier inhabited both ends of the spectrum. But the theme also resonated elsewhere. While fathers and daughters danced together, the boys stood in a circle, waiting, watching and learning....
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