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NYCB 2008 Nutcracker

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has anyone seen performances of nycb nutcracker this year? thoughts?

i plan to go a few times in the upcoming weeks. eager to hear how it's been so far!

I've been twice. Once with Abi Stafford and Sebastian Marcovici as Sugar Plum and the Cavalier, and the other with Maria and Chuck. Abi dropped her wand at the beginning of Act 2, which was distracting. And she did not seem to be a good match with Marcovici, who is looking very lunk-ish these days. Looked like he was just yanking her around! And the dramatic jump-and-lift onto the shoulder in the pas de deux was lacking all drama. In the same performance, Ana Sophia Scheller was decent as Dew Drop (but seemed a little rushed).

The performance with Maria and Chuck was like night and day. That pas de deux was incredible! Lots of fun and very exciting. Maria seemed to have a little trouble with her pirouettes all night, but that's just a small quibble. she makes a great Sugar Plum. Tess Reichlen was excellent as Coffee, beautiful extension and jumps (much better than Ellen Bar, who was in the cast I saw first). Kathryn Morgan was a standout as Marzipan. She has incredible balance. Tiler Peck was a good Dew Drop (great turns, but not a jumping powerhouse like Ashley Bouder). The corps was very good this year in both the SnowFlakes (tight formations) and Waltz of the Flowers. And Robert La Fosse stole the show in Act 1 as Drosselmeyer, he was just wonderful. How much you enjoy the Nutcracker is very, very dependent on casting. As always, the tree was magical. And Kurt Nikkanen, the orchestra's top violinist, is a real treasure. His solo is beautiful.

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I've been twice. Once with Abi Stafford and Sebastian Marcovici as Sugar Plum and the Cavalier, and the other with Maria and Chuck.

Balanchinette: Thanks for your review; we on the West Coast always enjoy hearing about NYCB, since we'll probably never get to see them live :thumbsup:.

Please forgive my hopeless ignorance, but who are Maria and Chuck?


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Balanchinette is talking about Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard.

I will seeing their SPF PDD this Saturday with Ballet Etudes. I've seen them dancing before, at least Kowroski-(I believe while in New York in Martins' R&J...?, or was it in "Diamonds...?)-Anyways... loved her. She is very pretty too. The version of the PDD they will be dancing here is Fedorova's staging, the whole thing...

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I went. It was one of the best Nutcrackers I've seen. Erica Pereira is an odd bird. Tiny little petit thing but not a soubrette type really. She was classical and elegant. It was beautiful. Her partner, Allen Peiffer, did very well – both in his partnering and his coda. Kathryn Morgan was a big surprise. You rarely see girls that beautiful. When she came out all you could think of were those black-and-white photographs of 40's movie stars. People just don't look like that anymore. Then she danced. Big jump, musical, alive. It was wonderful. Kaitlyn Gilliland did Coffee and it was a combination of regal and sexy. Also completely on the music. I would like to see all of them again.

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Please educate me....exactly what is a "soubrette" and can you give examples of dancers that you would consider soubrettes from NYCB...both then and now?


I'm sure others will state it more exactly but a soubrette does "lighter" roles such as Swanilda in Coppelia vs Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Usually lighter often (but not always) secondary roles. In opera younger sopranos tend to do these roles.

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A soubrette normally denotes a lighter, more flirtatious role. It's the opposite of those mysterious roles that can give you a lump in your throat – in the way that Odette/Odile touches our feelings about good and evil, right and wrong, somehow makes us more aware of the sublime, the possibilities, the reach of the human soul. The Princess Aurora and Tschaikovsky's music can do that. Balanchine's Symphony in C, or Liebeslieder Walzer, or the 2nd Mvt. of his Brahms/Schoenberg Quartet are all capable of extracting those ineffable reactions.

It's unusual, and very lucky, that the NYCB has so many girls at various points in their careers who are capable of communicating those feelings to us. Kistler at her height, Kyra Nichols, and now Sara Mearns, Kaitlyn Gilliland, Tiler Peck, Kathryn Morgan, and Pereira - although she's young and not fully developped, but the possibilities were apparent in her SPF. It falls to her to welcome everyone to the land of the sweets, be the hostess. Little Pereira showed generosity of spirit and warmth beyond her years. She wouldn't at all seem the kind of dancer who would be used in the parts mentioned above. But I, for one, would welcome her debut as Aurora. Her kind of quietly classical reserve would seem perfectly suited to it.

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Please educate me....exactly what is a "soubrette" and can you give examples of dancers that you would consider soubrettes from NYCB...both then and now?
Brice, a search of the all forums for "Emploi" and "Soubrette" brought up these posts, and notably this thread.

I was at the matinee, and I found Pereira's variation and pas beautifully phrased, if a bit careful. She broke free, however, going full blast (with no loss of phrasing) in the coda. Peiffer was a solid and generous partner, showing also a remarkably stretched line in his few moments of dancing.

Morgan was the real surprise, as vipa noted. I had not expected her to be such a strong jumper. She's a very complete dancer for one so young, a major talent to watch.

I don't think I've ever seen -- until Kaitlyn Gilliland yesterday -- a Coffee totally devoid of kitsch. You had to take this number seriously. Totally in character, but still very dignified.

Mary Elizabeth Sell and Devin Alberda led Hot Chocolate with the right panache.

The big surprise debut, not noted on the website's casting, was in Act I -- Darci Kistler as Frau S. This debut, however, was less successful than those of the younger dancers. She was fussy and overwrought. In the section where the little girls sit in a circle and rock their dolls in their arms, Darci stepped forward to watch them with such a look of concern that I wondered which of the little girls had been caught with a book of matches. The entr'acte has a moment of sweet intimacy, when the mother finds her daughter asleep on the sofa. Concerned that Marie might get a chill, she removes her shawl and covers the child with it. Darci paused, looked directly at the audience ("Catch this!") and with a flourish that would be the envy of any Espada, flung the shawl through space before draping over the child. There was no genuine sense of a mother lovingly doting on her child. Maybe, if she ever repeats the role, she'll tone it down a few notches.

This was my first Nut of this year's run. I'll probably return. All in all, I had a very good time.

It was followed by the annual Nutcracker party (which probably explains the casting of Kistler and Soto as the Stahlbaums), so the promenade level of the theater was especially festive.

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This was my first Nut of this year's run. I'll probably return. All in all, I had a very good time.

It was followed by the annual Nutcracker party (which probably explains the casting of Kistler and Soto as the Stahlbaums), so the promenade level of the theater was especially festive.

I haven't gone back yet, but I've finally uploaded a few photos of the party:





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I saw Janie Taylor as the Sugarplum Fairy, Sébastien Marcovici as the Cavalier and Teresa Reichlen as the Dewdrop.

Taylor impressed me with her passion during the pas de deux. She reminded me of the footage I've seen of Suzanne Farrell. Hadn't Taylor been out for quite some time because of illness and/or injury? I don't know this for sure, but if she was sick and/or injured at one time, those times seem to be behind her, because she was pretty strong.

Marcovici stepped in for Benjamin Millepied. Yeah, he didn't look that great, I'm sorry to say. He and Taylor MUST have had some rehearsal time and MUST have had some partnering experience together ... but I could barely tell with his fumbling. There were times, especially when she'd do some kind of supported turn into an arabesque penchée, that she would have fallen if her technique weren't so strong. And he seemed awfully — even comically — unsure of the timing of when she'd run and jump onto his shoulder. He even seemed unsure of where he was going to put his hands.

I hate to come down so hard on the guy, but man, $115 a pop for tickets and this is what I get?

Oh well. At least the kids in the cast seemed to be enjoying it.

Oh yeah ... Reichlen was astounding.

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i had a lovely evening at the friday, 12/19 performance of nutcracker.

janie taylor was scheduled to appear as SPF, robert fairchild as cavalier, and teresa reichlen as dewdrop. tiler peck wound up stepping in for taylor (i think her debut? from webiste it looks like she was supposed to debut during the mat performance on 12/20).

i think peck did a wonderful job. sure, she had a few bobbles and looked a bit nervous, but overall she was solid and connected to the audience and other dancers on stage. she and fairchild looked good in the pas. again, a few bobbles (the first shoulder lift was a close call) but for the most part they were strong. i think fairchild has a striking presence on stage. i've seen him more in solo parts, and less in partnering roles, so seeing him as the cavalier was a nice opportunity for me.

i LOVED reichlen's dewdrop. i was unsure how i'd feel about it since all my recent nuts performances have featured ashley bouder as dewdrop, and i have gone crazy for her approach. i knew reichlen's would be different, and i adored it.

i thought kathryn morgan was great as marzipan. i'm happy to hear that her dewdrop debut was wonderful as well. allen peiffer was great as candy cane, and i enjoyed rebecca krohn's coffee.

my only disappointment (and it's minor) was the corps in snow. i KNOW they're exhausted (and even a little bored) by this time in the run, but several of them literally looked "annoyed" to be there. and it was distracting. i couldn't keep my eyes off of erica pereira. i know many readers here have seen her in principal roles, but i have yet to do so. she did not look bored or tired, she was radiant seemed to be giving it her all. nice to see!

all in all a fabulous night!!! did anyone else see this performance?

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I was at last night's performance. I was disappointed that on the website they had announced Bouder as the SPF but then we got the dismal, shaky Yvonne Borree. Benjamin Millipied did his best to partner her but the shoulder lifts, which at their best can seem like spontaneous leaps onto the shoulder, were performed carefully. At times he seemed to be holding Borree on her point, that's how bad her hand was shaking.

Much more pleasant was Mearns' Dewdrop. I didn't think she could pull off this whiz-bang allegro role, but she did with flying colors. The corps de ballet looked great. I think this ballet might be dancer-proof though. I always feel so much pure HAPPINESS after seeing it.

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Erica's performance was radiant flawless and beautifully nuanced. Peiffer was a wonderful parntner and his daning was clean and wonderful. both were completely on the music. Other standouts included Tess Reichlen as Arabian (GORGEOUS), tiler Peck as Marzipan, and Sterling Hyltim was commanding and dynamic as Dew Drop. All in all a great afternoon of ballet.

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I was at yesterdays evening performance, where Tiler Peck and Adrian D-W replaced Janie Taylor & Rob Fairchild. They were wonderful. I knew Peck had the technical chops for this, but she was also a warm and gracious SPF. Hyltin was a dynamic Dew Drop, Arthurs an elegant Arabian. Despite an extrememly noisy, late arriving crowd (6pm curtain) - it was an enjoyable evening.

I also saw the Pereira/Peiffer debut last week and agree that they were wonderful! I just love her, and found her dancing technically flawless and exciting but for me both she and Morgan (whose SPF I saw last year) need to "grow into" the SPF role. This is not a criticism of either of them , they are both extraordinarily talented young dancers but they are both very young, and just seeing Peck reminded me that neither Pereira or Morgan was able to imbue the role with that regal warmth that tells you that she is not only the exepmplary woman/mother figure but also the queen of all she surveys as she welcomes the children to her kingdom. For me, the current ultimate NYCB SPFs are Kowroski & Ringer.

At the same perfomance (Wed mat) Morgan blew me away with her Dew Drop, but so had Pereira last season. It will be a joy to watch these two develop.

By the way - Bouder (Dew Drop) has been replaced on Wed with Peck.

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I was at yesterdays 1 PM show and just wanted to report Pereira and Peiffer were brilliant there technique was impeccable. I look forward to seeing this pairing in the future :)


I was also there - what a pleasant afternoon! Sterling Hylting's Dewdrop was bright and memorable and Teresa's Reichlen's Coffee was captivating. Also, Giovani Villalobos stood out as Candy Cane.

I was very curious to see Erica Pereira and Allen Peiffer.

Coda was absolutely passionate and also impeccable technically.

But I have to agree with NYSusan that Erica's Sugar Plum is sort of "embryonic" - it feels like she is testing out her magic power (Can I really do that? Will those kids listen to me?) :)

I am looking forward to see Erica and Allen again and again in the future.

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We were there on the 20th as well and Katie Morgan was the highlight of the night for me! I think I have seen now ten different Nutcrackers over the years. NYCB is the first I have seen the Candy Canes and I have to say I really disliked the choreography and the costumes. I just kept thinking convicts in candy colours! :lol:

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re: Candy Canes: recent research has proven quite conclusively that this number has been, along with the little nutcracker's mimeologue, more less recalled in full by Balanchine from the Petipa/Ivanov production he knew when growing up in Russia.

secondly, it's been shown that the choreography itself for Candy Canes - known as Buffons in the Russian original - is the work, choreographically, of Aleksandr Shiryaev, the well-known imperial character dancer who originated the role of the lead Buffon in 1892. Shiryaev's memoirs report that Ivanov wasn't sure what to do for the divertissement and when he saw what his chosen dancer was capable of doing, simply told him to go off and devise the dance for himself, by himself, which Shiryaev did; the scheme seems also to have consistently involved a company dancer and pupils of the imperial/state ballet's school. the hoop and the jingle bells also harken back to the original. (i don't know if the hoop was Shriyarev's idea or Ivanov's.)

i suspect Karinska's diagonal stripes of green and rose are in a way a reference to the colors of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier's costuming, which i suppose recall the colors familiar to Karinska from the sugar plum sweet meats she knew from Russia and elsewhere in Europe.

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