cubanmiamiboy

Nutcracker 2013

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So I woke up at 12:00 and made up my mind to go watch the 1 PM performance, and so I did-(yes..I'm pretty fast! ;-) )

The house was FULL of youngsters, and I'm not particularly patient, so I thought "disaster". But no...considering the huge amounts of little ones, the music could be heard.

I took a reflective stand today while watching the performance. I went back in time, and looking at all those kids I thought of how lucky they are that they are being exposed at such early age to this little gem. Growing up in the middle of the cold war in communist Cuba, with Christmas suppressed as a national holiday long before my time, the only taste I had of the yearly celebration was in a very enclosed catholic church environment, where only very few kids attended out of the generalized fear of their parents at being discovered. I still had glimpses of what Christmas used to be in the old regime out of stories from my mother and beautiful mid-century postcards that still survived at home. There was an old Christmas tree hidden, but that too was a no-no as a symbol of the "bad bourgeoisie" /Batista era. So I think it is just wonderful that Christmas can be publicly celebrated. Let's not loose that.

One thing I paid attention this time is how well the "Sleeping Beauty" violin cadenza segment fits into the score right before the Battle scene. It is no surprise to find the music theme of the Transformation Scene sketched here, given that it was pulled out by Mr. T out of Beauty and developed more symphonically for "Le Voyage". Balanchine went further and took the whole thing with him and inserted it.

Mary Carmen Catoya was the highlight of the production with a VERY strong and lovely Dewdrop. Her pointes seemed to be glued to the floor during turns. She completely stole the show from Albertson's Sugar Plum, very much in the original LeClerq/Tallchief tradition.

As usual, Snow and Flowers were just balletic drooling.

I'll be seeing the City Ballet production next, so I will be able to compare...flowers.gif

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I took a reflective stand today while watching the performance. I went back in time, and looking at all those kids I thought of how lucky they are that they are being exposed at such early age to this little gem. Growing up in the middle of the cold war in communist Cuba, with Christmas suppressed as a national holiday long before my time, the only taste I had of the yearly celebration was in a very enclosed catholic church environment, where only very few kids attended out of the generalized fear of their parents at being discovered. I still had glimpses of what Christmas used to be in the old regime out of stories from my mother and beautiful mid-century postcards that still survived at home. There was an old Christmas tree hidden, but that too was a no-no as a symbol of the "bad bourgeoisie" /Batista era. So I think it is just wonderful that Christmas can be publicly celebrated. Let's not loose that.

In fact, it's the opposite here: it's state-sponsored religious displays that are prohibited. Private displays are ubiquitous.

I'll be seeing the City Ballet production next, so I will be able to compare...flowers.gif

I look forward to reading about it!

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She may not have danced Sugar Plum, but the good news of MCC's return to the stage will dance in my head for the rest of the evening. (Of course, I wish I had seen her myself, having been delighted by her Dewdrop in past years, but I can't be everywhere! *sigh*)

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Dewdrop is as important a role as Sugar Plum in Balanchine's version. When it first premiered, the Sugar Plum variation was performed after the Grand Pas, and Tallchief, who had only greeted Marie and Prince Nephew and summoned the troops, said that she heard the roar for LeClerq's Dewdrop at the premiere and knew she had her work cut out for her. (Now the SPF variation is in the beginning of the act.)

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I saw the MCB production on Thursday. We had a different Dewdrop/Sugar Plum pair (Albertson and Kronenberg) but it was the same story. Albertson nailed the part and Kronenberg was a bit lackluster. The children were impressive, especially the little boy playing Fritz (Autumn Rodriguez). I thought the corps looked the best I had seen it, very crisp, which makes me think that Lopez must be doing a good job as artistic director.

Full review: http://itinerantballetomane.blogspot.com/2013/12/nutcracker-wars-part-1-miami-begins.html

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Just saw this tonight and enjoyed it overall. Albertson impressed me the most as Dewdrop. She had the best upper body movements which I tend to like. My favorite parts of Balanchine's Nutcracker are the snow scene and Dewdrop and the flowers scene. The thing I dislike is almost zero dancing in Act 1 until the snow scene! But I knew this was the case but we were finally about to see dancing and then technical difficulties caused a long pause before the snow scene.

I hate that they perform this without orchestra. More people probably see this than any other show they do all year. I'm sure it is difficult and expensive, but to me it is embarrassing for a company whose reputation is pretty high in the U.S. to perform this to a recording.

With that said I could tell everyone was giving their all. Callie Manning was a sexy Coffee, and Shimon Ito worked the candy cane hoops!!!

I do think MCB excels at the short Balanchine ballets. I am looking forward to Concerto Barocco at the end of January!

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