What Nutcrackers are you seeing?
Posted 06 December 2002 - 07:32 AM
What's your Nutcracker like this year? Please report!
Posted 07 December 2002 - 05:47 AM
Posted 07 December 2002 - 08:09 AM
Posted 07 December 2002 - 08:16 AM
Posted 07 December 2002 - 08:31 AM
I love the Nutcracker, not for its dancing as much as for how children respond to it. I enjoy watching the reactions of the little kids in the audience every bit as much as I enjoy the performance. After countless years of Nut viewing, we can forget just how magical an experience it is for little ones. Years ago, I taught pre-school. During the holiday season I always played Tchaikovsky's music for the ballet at lunchtime. Each day the same little girl would come sit on my lap during the music for the Battle Scene. She'd say hopefully, "The mouse king isn't real, right? It's all pretend?" And then, towards the end of that score, she'd sigh deeply in relief, "Good, the Nutcracker soldier got him."
Posted 07 December 2002 - 12:09 PM
Posted 07 December 2002 - 12:12 PM
It's interesting that more and more European companies are starting to do Nutcracker at Christmas. You're right -- it hasn't been a tradition there.
Posted 07 December 2002 - 01:10 PM
I hadn't been to a performance of NYCB's Nutcracker in 3 or 4 years, but this year I returned, courtesy of a house seat from SAB. It was in the center of the 5th row of the orchestra. From that distance much of the stage magic was lost for me, but not for the many children seated in the rows in front of me. Vagansmom is absolutely correct about watching them. They were delighted by what was going on, and I was entranced looking at them.
I did look at the stage too. The performance I saw was at 6 p.m. on December 3rd, and I loved everything about it. Wendy Whelan was Sugarplum; Philip Neal, her cavalier; and Jennie Somogyi, Dewdrop. Andre Kramarevsky seemed to have toned down the eccentricities of his Drosselmeyer since the last time I'd seen it.
At any rate, I think I stayed away too long from (to give it its full, formal title) George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.
Posted 07 December 2002 - 02:43 PM
Posted 07 December 2002 - 03:09 PM
Posted 07 December 2002 - 04:37 PM
Posted 07 December 2002 - 09:31 PM
This is a splendid production, very Victorian. What I appreciate so much is that it is staged at the Auditorium Theatre, which was built in just about the same year that Tchaikovsky wrote the Nutcracker music. It's a grand venue that suits this production to a T.
We were sitting quite close to the stage (third row, a little to the right), so it was actually difficult to appreciate the staging, particularly in the party scene and battle scene, which are quite crowded. Besides, my eyes were riveted on one particular party child so I missed quite a lot of what went on. I am happy to report that that child danced exquisitely... ;)
I always enjoy the snow scene. The Joffrey has it framed in two rows of "tree angels". These are bouréeing children in skirts that look like snow-covered trees, carrying electric torches. It is a stunning effect. The entrance of the snowflakes is also very effective; they kind of tumble around randomly, and look exactly like the beginning of a snowstorm in the wind.
I'm also a sucker for the part where the Cavalier mimes the first act's action for Clara. I know a lot of people think it's silly, but if well done it seems both humorous and triumphant to me. Willy Shives was the Cavalier last night, and he performed it admirably.
The real highlight of the evening -- aside from that party child, of course ;) -- was the interplay between the Cavalier (Shives) and the Sugar Plum Fairy (Maia Wilkins). The chemistry between them was palpable. They so clearly enjoyed dancing together. It leant a particular energy to their pas-de-deux, which stirred me in a way that the rest of the production hadn't (perhaps I was too close, too jaded, or too tense). I don't always enjoy the Sugar Plum/Flowers scene, which sometimes can make Nutcracker into one of Manhattnik's ballets that are "more too-long than others". Last night, I didn't want it to end.
Posted 08 December 2002 - 12:26 PM
Posted 08 December 2002 - 04:05 PM
I'm a bit self-conscious about reviewing it because I saw it press night (12/4)--and professionals reviewed that!
I thought it was the best danced Boston Ballet Nutcracker I've seen in years--the company looked well-rehearsed and the dancing was fresh and clean and energetic. Because I have seen this Nutcracker consistently for many years (and many times a season) it makes clear what has been suspected--Mikko Nissinen has really revived this company! My hope is that the crowds that come for Nutcracker will be inspired to return for La Fille mal Gardee and beyond.
One thing I don't like though is the new Nutcracker advertising identity--too garish!
I hadn't seen this Nutcracker since it moved to the Sanctuary Theatre--it is amazing how they transform the church into a theatre--and it is very successful. The audience size is 250 so it is a very intimate experience. The sightlines are great and you can really see the dancers' faces and feet--which is certainly a different perspective. I particularly like Jose Mateo's Waltz of the Flowers (my favorite part in BB is Snow). Sometimes, though, I think the stage is too crowded with dancers.
I hope I have the energy and opportunity to see some of the other Nutcrackers around town--particularly the "Urban Nutcracker"
Posted 08 December 2002 - 07:09 PM
For what performance do you have tickets? If you care, I can try to find out who is dancing. Send me a PM, after you get it activated.
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