Blast at Nutcracker
Posted 12 January 2003 - 05:37 PM
I also wonder if there is any Nutcracker in the world that lives up to all of those exacting specifications.
I could go on about what is/isn't in the book, whether or not they're mice or rats (who cares?), &c, but it would probably give me wrinkles and gray hair, which frankly I'm surprised I don't have already! ;)
Juliet, thank you for the balanced post!
Posted 14 January 2003 - 08:25 PM
In general I loved the Royal Ballet's production as shown recently on PBS, and I’ll make it a point to catch Cojocura the next time she’s in D.C. But two things -- the wigs on the snowflakes make them look like my grandmother. And isn't Clara a little underdressed at the palace? Sure she's dreaming the whole thing, but she doesn’t just watch the performers, she dances with them. That nightgown jars.
And what's that "step" where the Sugar Fairy makes as if to plunge into arabesque but stops on a dime with both arms forward? It struck me as odd and wrong for the music.
Posted 09 February 2003 - 05:57 PM
Clara's brother is usually Fritz, but with the renaming frenzy that seems so popular nowadays, he could be called anything, and hardly anybody would notice.
Posted 15 December 2005 - 02:08 PM
Mel Johnson, on Dec 26 2002, 11:19 PM, said:
In talking to several people who were there at the time, I learned that part of the reason Balanchine chose to have a nephew in there was to showcase the talent of a wonderful child dancer/actor named Paul "Rusty" Nickel (later soloist, ABT). He padded the Nutcracker part to create a cognate in the "real world" of the party, but if you cut that part out, and the interpolated entr'acte from Sleeping Beauty, very little, in fact nothing, would be lost from the original intent of the libretto. Another part of the reason for the addenda was that Balanchine also wanted something more for his original Drosselmeyer, Mischa Arshansky, to do. While this is a part of the usually-execrable practice of "making sense" of a fairy tale (who are the Grinches who thought this trend up?), it was much less offensive when done by Balanchine. And what tragic music? It's a descending C scale! Furthermore, they're mice, not rats.
Rusty Nickel was my brother. As you may know, he died way too soon at the age of 33. I wanted to thank you for your comment about him. I showed it to our mother and it made her day, possibly her year. Thank you, Joan Nickel Craig
Posted 15 December 2005 - 02:39 PM
Rusty was a light that failed too soon, and I still remember him with fondness. I had the sad honor of receiving your father's phone call to Joffrey to inform Basil Thompson that Rusty had died, and word of it was all over the company then. He had touched many of our dancers' lives and made them better.
Posted 30 July 2007 - 09:28 AM
Wow...this is an old thread, but i just can't stop reading it...Well. i guess i really have a totally different vision of the "Nutcracker" from national Ballet of Cuba. First, over there is not a seasonal ballet, hence it is performed as a regular ballet with productions off december, as there is not official acknowledment of Christmas. Then, there are no children involved in the production... all the characters are played by adults, "a la" 80's Bolshoi style. Also, no dark designed Drosselmayers. He is just a respectful old uncle without any complex freudian characterization. Finally, no "love story" feeling among characters whatsoever :(Clara/cousin, Clara/Nutcracker and so on) .So, straight to the point, the public's whole expectation from a Nutcracker performance is to go see 2 technically superb Fokine-based PDD, the"Sugar Plum Fairy" and the "Snow Queen/King".
Posted 30 July 2007 - 09:33 AM
Posted 30 July 2007 - 10:20 AM
For me the balance works out like this:
Best : the score; the rising, pulsating Christmas tree (Balanchine); the snow and music in the Snow-flake scene; the Sugar Plum pas de deux.
Worst: All versions I've seen of the mouse/rat battle; Maries/Claras who are too old for the part; all Freudian influences, or attempts to over-darken the Drosselmeyer character; those characters who just sit around the edges of the stage looking bored during the Act II divertissement.
Most fascinating viewing offstage: watching the faces and body language of first-time kids in the audience; also, watching the way the sit-up-in-your-seat excitement that most kids bring to Act I slowly fades as the very long (for kids) afternoon or evening proceeds.
Posted 30 July 2007 - 11:32 AM
... Pedophile Drosselmeyers.
...If some idiot brings in the Wehrmacht and renames the family Stahlhelm, I bring out tomatoes.
... Narrators - shoot them all.
...the Snow Queen/King (let them melt into oblivion)
... If this tendency keeps up, Fritz will soon be Heinrich Himmler Stahlbaum!
... Drosselmeyers who seem to be ready to burst into
Giselle at any given moment.
i most admit that, although having a different opinion about the Snow PDD and the children, i couldn't stop laughing...!!
That was great, Mel!
Posted 30 July 2007 - 12:23 PM
Most fascinating viewing offstage: watching the faces and body language of first-time kids in the audience;
Posted 30 July 2007 - 03:09 PM
Posted 26 December 2007 - 08:51 PM
Have you seen the new lighting in the Ballet San Jose version? It was an awesome sight. The costumes, lighting, staging- And comedy to boot... the snow flake dancers were floating on stage. It was enlightening to see all the adults and children enjoying such a tradition. The company dancers are truly professional bravo- to Ballet San Jose!
Posted 28 December 2007 - 09:05 PM
(This was at Monique Meunier's debut as Dewdrop, December 26, 1993.)
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