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Nutcracker Season at BAM


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What's the difference between preview and world premier? Preview as in glorified dress rehearsal? As in "we are not going to show all of it"?

While it could mean some tweaks after the previews, and to work out the wrinkles, most likely it's a way to share the wealth and to give first sight to Part/Gomes and first official performance to Murphy/Hallberg. Very smart on their part.

No Dewdrop casting? That's a major role.

Isn't Balanchine's the only version with a Dewdrop? Most others I've seen just have the corps in the waltz of the flowers.

Stowell's for PNB has Flora as a Dewdrop-like lead for Flowers. I can't remember if Christensen's did -- I saw it before War Memorial went through seismic renos. Stevenson's for Houston has a Flowers Couple. Many versions have Snow Queens and sometimes Snow Kings.

It will be interesting to see Ratmansky's choices are.

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I wonder if having Hallberg/Murphy as the premiere leads (esp Hallberg) is McKenzie's way of trying to make sure that Alistair M (who will likely be reviewing the premiere) has maximum possibility to give a rave review to this production, and thereby increase ticket sales with respect to people buying at that time? A second aspect is that Murphy is more reliable as a technician than Part and has worked a lot more with Hallberg than Part, so that choosing Murphy as Clara (once Hallberg was decided as The Prince, if that was the sequence) increases the chances of an excellent review.

Is it unlikely that a preview would be the subject of a critic's write-up?

Each of Ratmansky and Kevin M also has an interest in making Ratmansky's first full-length ballet created for the ABT since he took up residence here, well-received by the critics from an artistic perspective. So, if I were Ratmansky and I had been reading Alistair M's reviews, I would designate Hallberg as the premiere's lead danseur. The need is not only commercial success, but also a version of The Nutcracker that does not make it seem like the ABT is placing commercial appeal/popular appeal over aesthetic considerations. What better danseur to portray the artistry in this piece than Hallberg? :flowers:

ADDENDUM:

TICKET PRICES FOR EACH SECTION, AND FOR EACH DAY, ARE OUT!

Also more of the costume designs than had been earlier released (see later parts of page linked). The piece will include "Bumble Bee" ( :blink: ), Spanish Dancer (male costume), Arabian Dancer (female costume).

Prices can depend on time/day of performance: Preview; Standard; Peak; Premiere.

Children are the same price as adults.

http://www.abt.org/performances/nutcracker.asp

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christian -- The press release indicates: "Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes will debut in the leading roles of Clara and The Nutcracker Prince". So, an adult dancing Clara and the Prince.

If I were Wiles, I would not be happy. Maybe she will be Sugar Plum Fairy in some productions, but, if I assume she would have wanted to be female lead in at least one of the productions. It's also presumably a somewhat disappointing outcome for Sarah Lane, with Yuriko K being paired with Simkins. Working well with Simkins is going to give Sarah, Yuriko or another dancer of similar height some meaningful opportunities going forward. That it's Yuriko who is getting this first major opportunity opposite Simkins is interesting (and appropriate, in my mind, at least relative to Sarah Lane).

I also noticed children pictured on the ABT website in what looked like the roles of clara and a young prince. Could it be they transform when Clara has her dream? This seems possible to me.

I'm expecting the casting for the Nutcracker will dribble in as rehearsals progress and we'll see casting for other roles perhaps.

Michele Wiles, a very skilled ballerina, doesn't really do girlish and vulnerable (no Giselles or Juliets) which may be why she wasn't a natural fit for Clara (although I can't presume to know what Ratmansky is doing with this production). She is a strong dancer, with regal qualities (I love her Myrta and Lilac) that might be better suited to the Snow Queen or Sugar Plum (both principal roles).

There is no reason for a dancer to be unhappy if they are being cast in roles that best suit their strengths.

Anyway, as I said, the nutcracker, in all it's disparate productions, is a showcase for a company, not carried by the lead couple in the same way some of the other full-lengths are. From my experience, clara and the prince do a lot of sitting around, watching, and gesturing in the second act.

Someone correct me if I'm off base, here.

Nice to see Hammoudi and Seo getting some opportunities. I love what I've seen from both of them.

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http://www.abt.org/performances/nutcracker.asp (seating chart/pricing map)

To me, the seats in the Orchestra don't show that much price difference, unless one goes for the very right or very left hand side of the Orchestra ($30 partial view at rates for standard pricing; shown in light green in the chart above). Does anyone know what these seats are like at BAM?

I'm thinking of buying them for a Herrera/Stearns performance, while buying better seats for a Hallberg/Murphy performance.

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The piece will include "Bumble Bee" ( :blink: )

James Kudelka's production for the National Ballet of Canada includes a female Bee soloist in the Waltz of the Flowers. I'm wary of Ratmansky borrowing ideas from Kudelka, though this would appear to be a male costume. Let's hope, at least, that Ratmansky comes up with better choreography.

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I would assume the lack of a Sugar Plum goes back to Ratmansky...don't most Russian companies forgo a Sugar Plum Queen and instead the lead ballerina of the whole thing (including who dances the Sugar Plum pas) is Maria (Clara)?

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I would assume the lack of a Sugar Plum goes back to Ratmansky...don't most Russian companies forgo a Sugar Plum Queen and instead the lead ballerina of the whole thing (including who dances the Sugar Plum pas) is Maria (Clara)?

Yes, I believe that is the case. The Bolshoi, Mariinsky, and St. Petersburg Ballet are the first companies that come to mind which features Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy danced by the same ballerina.

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Anyway, as I said, the nutcracker, in all it's disparate productions, is a showcase for a company, not carried by the lead couple in the same way some of the other full-lengths are. From my experience, Clara and the prince do a lot of sitting around, watching, and gesturing in the second act.

In Cuba when the Nutcracker is announced and casting is up, the names of the Sugar Plum Fairy/Cavalier are the first ones to be presented, followed by that of Clara. There used to be two Primeras Bailarinas in both roles, but the "leading" material was that of the fairy/cavalier .

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I would assume the lack of a Sugar Plum goes back to Ratmansky...don't most Russian companies forgo a Sugar Plum Queen and instead the lead ballerina of the whole thing (including who dances the Sugar Plum pas) is Maria (Clara)?

Yes, many versions of Russian productions that I've seen have Clara "grow up" and dance the Sugar Plum Fairy role. Additionally, I've seen productions where Clara dances Snow Queen. It is a dream after all, so in a way it makes good sense. On the other hand, it doesn't allow for as many dancers to perform. I've always preferred the idea that Clara "travels" through the Land of the Snow (thus meeting with the Snow Queen) and then travels to the Land of the Sweets which is of course ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy who provides all the "goodie" dances for Clara and her Prince's pleasure. It sort of keeps the division of childhood and adulthood. And it allows for the wonderful pantomime of the Nutcracker Prince who re-tells the story of vanquishing the Mouse KIng in Clara's honor! And it keeps it more of a ballet with and for children. So much inner psychology in this ballet ruins it for me.

To another BT inquiry. SFB's Lew Christiansen version had a "rose" for the lead in "Waltz of the Flowers". Separate Snow Queen. Separate Sugar Plum. And a dancing bear in Act I!!

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Got my seats, and quite happy with them. :wink:

Physical box office at BAM apparently opens at noontime, but the BAM phone line started at 10 am today.

Here's the "regular" BAM seating chart (ie not specific to Nutcracker) to help people booking:

http://tickets.bam.org/checkout/seatingchart_popup.aspx?seatingchart=seating_operahouse.jpg

Orchestra starts at Row A (ie no Rows AA, BB and CC like there are for some other productions). For row A, the $30 seats to the side (partial view) cover the right-most and left-most three seats on each side (ie on the right hand side of the diagram, which is from the perspective of somebody standing on the stage, A29 is the best of the three $30 seats on that side). That might be different depending on which row you are booking.

The operator confirmed there are no exchanges (or at least officially so).

Note that the fact that only the casting for two roles has been listed does not mean there is no Sugar Plum Fairy in Ratmansky's production. Just like, say, Sleeping Beauty, where only Aurora and the Prince are typically listed when the casting is first released, despite Lilac Fairy being a substantial role.

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Thanks ballet-talkers, for explaining the role of the Russian Clara/Marie. I was not aware, and as I have only seen American productions. I just noticed that Nureyev's version for POB, which I have been wanting to see on DVD, also has an adult Clara dance the SPF pas de deux.

I was reading a bit about Catherine Hurlin, the young Clara pictured with Gomes in ABT's promotional stuff. Quite the prodigy, it seems. You may have caught her on stage in Mozartina last season. She almost looks like a young Gillian Murphy: http://www.dancespirit.com/articles/2134

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The original Mariinsky Ivanov staging had a young soloist as Marie/Clara and a big Italian ballerina Antonietta Dell'Era do the Sugar Plum. Well in some productions, Clara undergoes a metamorphosis into the Sugar Plum Fairy including the very influential Grigorovich production at the Bolshoi. In the San Francisco Ballet production the child dancing Clara is actually replaced by another ballerina for the metamorphosis in the big pas de deux. Balanchine clearly wanted to create more roles for other ballerinas so he invented the Dewdrop. Other productions create a Snow Queen for the waltz of the snowflakes.

Ratmansky at the Bolshoi was expert at spotting and promoting young talent like Osipova. He really pushed young talents forward ignoring the heirarchy of soloists, principals, etc. He also promoted dancers like Lunkina and Masha Alexandrova who were inexplicably languishing the soloist ranks. I noticed that in his "Seven Sonatas" Ratmansky cast Joseph Phillips as the alternate to Herman Cornejo in a demanding leading role. Sarah Lane was in one of those casts as well. This has a very salutary effect on a company as a whole. So I am glad to see Hammoudi and Kajiya get gigs over more established principals.

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Got our tix today for December 22 (Gomes & Part). Sad to see that some of our favorites, Cornejo and Reyes, are only scheduled to dance twice in the lead roles. To prior poster's comment, likewise Philip Perez may resemble a young Marcelo Gomes. Believe we saw him dance in Sylphide and a few other ballets over the last two years. Am told he is also JKO. Looking forward to the performances! ABT website shows additional renderings of costumes/characters. Apparently there will be a "bumble bee." in addition to the Spanish Dancer, Rat King, etc.

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The original Mariinsky Ivanov staging had a young soloist as Marie/Clara

According to Wikipedia, Stanislava Belinskaya, the Clara of the premiere was a "real child" and a student of the Imperial Ballet School rather than a soloist. If this is correct then the adult Clara came from later "enhancements" of the work, of which there have been many.

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Happy to say I got my tickets today too. A little frustrating to see that at 10:01am the orchestra and mezzanine prime seats for the premiere were already gone! Therefore, I booked seats for my second choice of Tuesday the 28th. No matter, as long as I see Murphy/Hallberg I'm happy. Also quite frustrating - I was holding on the phone while simultaneously attempting to book online. No matter how many different combinations of passwords I tried I was unable to be registered. When I asked the ticket booker on the phone why it was so hard to log on I was told, "That's our website for you."

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I noticed that in his "Seven Sonatas" Ratmansky cast Joseph Phillips as the alternate to Herman Cornejo in a demanding leading role. Sarah Lane was in one of those casts as well. This has a very salutary effect on a company as a whole. So I am glad to see Hammoudi and Kajiya get gigs over more established principals.

Hi FauxPas. I would agree that Ratmansky gives younger people who are not principals a chance based on their talent, rather than their rank. However, I think this casting is also due to the fact that many of ABT's principal dancers only appear with the company at the MET (Vishneva, Corella, Steifel, Max, Irina, Osipova). It also seems that several dancers are too old to be suitable for Nutcracker roles (Carreno, Kent). This vacuum has allowed dancers in the soloist and corps ranks to shine (or, sometimes, to flounder) in leading roles during non-MET engagements. I also think that most families going to the Nutcracker don't really care about the casting. For us ballet talkers, casting is important.

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I think the inclusion of soloists Cory Stearns and Hee Seo does not probably come as a surprise, esp in the case of Stearns who has been getting a lot of principal roles (leaving aside the question of whether he deserves all of them). I'd say that Ratmansky, if he were reading the situation with Stearns' surprising rise, would know that he should include Stearns.

Daniil is being given additional opportunity, and his height/smaller body type and youthful appearance limit the ballerinas who can pair with him and exclude most of the principal ballerinas (except Reyes, who is paired with, and traditionally has been paired with, Cornejo). Therefore, Yuriko K or Sarah Lane would have been the most likely choices for Daniil; Yuriko got the role.

I also think that the fact that a piece is being created for the ABT by any choreo tends to give rise to additional opportunities. If you are an ABT principal, you are more likely to be disgruntled if the work is newly created, but you are on the "B" team for the work, where it is obvious that the role was created for a different ABT principal who is your contemporary. That is a starker choice, not in your favor, than if the role had been created long ago and two ABT principals were dancing the same role.

So, in "On the Dnieper", it was politically more palatable for Hallberg to be the second male lead on the "A" team (as Olga's fiance) and to have a role created by Ratmansky for him, than to be the returning soldier lead on the "B" team.

I'd say the people who might be disappointed are: Wiles; Maria R.; Sarah Lane; Jared M (esp for having a corps member picked to pair Hee Seo over him).

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The original Mariinsky Ivanov staging had a young soloist as Marie/Clara

According to Wikipedia, Stanislava Belinskaya, the Clara of the premiere was a "real child" and a student of the Imperial Ballet School rather than a soloist. If this is correct then the adult Clara came from later "enhancements" of the work, of which there have been many.

Not an adult per se, but nor the balanchinean little girl either...

She looks to me as the perfect choice: a pre-teen playing a pre-teen, but old enough to have some pointe work going on.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Belinskaya is wearing pointe shoes in this pic.(You can click on it to make it bigger)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b4/Nutcracker_-Scene_from_Act_I_-Sergei_Legat_as_Nutcracker,_Stanislava_Stanislavovna_Belinskaya_as_Clara,_%26_Unidentified_as_a_Gingerbread_Soldier_-1892.JPG/800px-Nutcracker_-Scene_from_Act_I_-Sergei_Legat_as_Nutcracker,_Stanislava_Stanislavovna_Belinskaya_as_Clara,_%26_Unidentified_as_a_Gingerbread_Soldier_-1892.JPG

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II'd say the people who might be disappointed are: Wiles; Maria R.; Sarah Lane; Jared M (esp for having a corps member picked to pair Hee Seo over him).

What about Stella, Misty Copeland and Simone Messmer. I think all of these dancers will end up in signficant supporting roles.

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