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Nutcracker 2016


cobweb

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I'm starting a separate thread for Nutcracker. I look forward to comments from anyone attending!

Someone asked on another thread which is the best casting. Since the two main roles are women (Sugarplum and Dewdrop), and there are currently a wealth of excellent female dancers, it's hard to go wrong. In week three casting, my first choice would be the Krohn-Janzen-King cast. Rebecca Krohn has the stature and grandeur for Sugarplum, and Lauren King's sparkle is perfect for Dewdrop. Russell Janzen, of course, is an exemplary Cavalier. The creme de la creme casting, IMHO, would be Sara Mearns or Teresa Reichlen or Rebecca Krohn as Sugarplum and Tiler Peck as Dewdrop. Ashley Bouder is another excellent Dewdrop, and Teresa Reichlen is wonderful in both roles. Again, it's hard to go wrong. The only ones I would not choose are Megan Fairchild as Sugarplum (not expansive or grand enough), Ana Sophia Scheller (sometimes too formulaic), and Erica Pereira. However, now that the casting is out, I see I have a ticket to see Fairchild and Scheller, and I have to say I'm looking forward to it. 

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5 hours ago, Helene said:

Why "ouch?"  You can put the cast list on a dartboard, throw a dart, and get an equally good cast.

Not sure it's THAT good, but does make you think about the days before casting info was released in advance. 

 

 

 

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Saw the matinee cast today.

 

Highlights were:

- Lauren King's marzipan.  She just lights up the stage with her smile.  On top of that she looked technically flawless.  The marzipan shephardesses are usually a bit yawn-worthy for me, but I loved it today.

- Claire Kretzschmar's coffee.   Not since Georgina Pazcoguin have I been so enthralled with the coffee solo.  Like Georgina, Claire brought a sultry sensuality to it (which to me, is the feeling I get from the music, I hate when it's so bouncy and light).

- Lauren Lovette and Chase Finlay's PDD.  These two have a comfort with each other and it shows in their dancing.  Complete trust between the two of them.  I thought they were lovely.

 

My not so highlights were:

- Most of the first half until the tree grows.  Not the fault of the folks on stage, but after seeing the Balachine version so much over the last three years, I'm finally a bit tired of the party scene.  It's funny, because I remember reading on these boards a comment made by someone how they were bored with the party scene, and being a newbie who had seen B's Nutcracker for the first time that year, I was shocked because I found it so adorable.  Well, I get it now.  It's definitely cute, but I get antsy waiting for the dancing to start.

- Savannah Lowery's Dewdrop.  I love Savannah Lowery in a lot of things.  She filled in for Reichlen in the spring for Rubies and while I initially was incredibly depressed, I really end up loving her tall girl.  But she does not have the fluidity and supple back for Dewdrop.  I found her stiff.  I feel like Dewdrop needs to have a quickness and lightness to her, and I didn't think Lowery fit into the roll.  I sat there wishing I was seeing Reichlen or Bouder.

 

Anyway, I have tickets for a performance the week before Christmas, so hopefully I get to see some of the younger dancers.  I'll likely check out Sterling Baca's debut at PAB as well.

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3 hours ago, Kaysta said:

 

- Savannah Lowery's Dewdrop.  I love Savannah Lowery in a lot of things.  She filled in for Reichlen in the spring for Rubies and while I initially was incredibly depressed, I really end up loving her tall girl.  But she does not have the fluidity and supple back for Dewdrop.  I found her stiff.  I feel like Dewdrop needs to have a quickness and lightness to her, and I didn't think Lowery fit into the roll.  I sat there wishing I was seeing Reichlen or Bouder.

 

 

Savannah Lowery is a soloist who is dancing less and less. The last couple times I've seen her she's looked rather rusty but I don't know if it's because she simply doesn't dance enough. 

I'm seeing tomorrow's matinee.

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Thank you, Canbelto, for the lovely review and for being the eyes and ears for those of us too far away to attend.  Yesterday,  I did have the privilege of seeing Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle as Sugarplum and Cavalier, performing with a regional youth company here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  They were glorious.   He was such a finely attuned partner and I enjoyed his endearing facial expressions as much as I did his dancing, which is saying a lot.  Tiler, of course, makes us "see the music and hear the dance" with every step and her ability to play with the music (even recorded music, as was the case) and push its limits is enchanting.  As a couple, I found them supremely secure, regal yet warm (benevolent, not haughty) and very engaging.  Now, if I could just see Tiler's Dewdrop...

 

 

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2 hours ago, canbelto said:

My thoughts on this afternoon's matinee. I thought Hyltin, Bouder and Veyette were all wonderful. 

 

http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2016/11/warhorse-diaries-2016-part-one-aida-and.html

 

Thank you for this review.  I won't be seeing NYCB nuts this season so am hungry to hear about performances.  I love hearing that the veterans delivered!

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You know I was thinking that it's a weird paradox that the most hardcore NYCB fans often see their favorite dancers the least in the Nutcracker. In December most principals do extensive guesting and Nut prices are such that at most I see two performances a year. And because of the prices I'm super picky about casting -- I have to want to see the SPF, Cavalier and Dewdrop very badly. So today as I plopped down in my seat I realized that it's been SEVEN YEARS since I've seen Ashley Bouder's Dewdrop live. (I did see the telecast.) It was so wonderful to revisit this classic interpretation. 

 

It was actually great that this year my schedule, casting, and the dancers' schedules all coincided so I could see the team of Hyltin/Veyette/Bouder.

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I was at last night's performance, with Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle as Sugarplum and Cavalier, and Teresa Reichlen's Dewdrop. More on the actual performance in in a minute. But first, I have to say that the audience was one of the absolute worst I have ever encountered. There was crackling and crunching from the row behind me. There were a group of people a couple of rows behind me who talked throughout the performance, despite being shushed repeatedly. But most distracting was the people using their CELL PHONES during the performance. Three people in my view used their phones, two to text and one who appeared to be filming part of the performance. One of the texters just held her phone in front of her and texted blithely; the other tried to do it under his seat but it still lit up the entire row. Several people complained to the ushers at intermission, and they were very responsive, speaking to the texters, but this did not help -- they did it again after intermission. (The one who was filming didn't start this until the final act.) There was a wailing child as well, but this didn't bother me nearly as much, as the parents seemed to be trying to do something about it and anyway it's Nutcracker, I figure there are going to be children at the performance. But the talking and glowing blue screens significantly disrupted my enjoyment of the performance. And for $150/seat, that was pretty infuriating (although really, it would be at any price point.)

 

On to the performance. Tiler & Tyler were dazzling, drawing raucous applause from the crowd. Reichlen was a long, lean, and sprightly Dewdrop despite a big fall (seemed to just slip, but she recovered nicely). I got my first viewing of apprentice Emma von Enck as Columbine. Looks completely like her sister Claire. Beautiful feet and a bright, charming presence. I love the entire second act, starting with the beautiful violin solo and through the Waltz of the Snowflakes. To me, that whole sequence alone is worth the price of a ticket. I also love seeing the children. They are still learning to control their bodies, and may be awkward or fidget or be off the music, but they have a professional attitude and get right back to business. 

 

I brought my partner with me this time. He had come to see Nutcracker a few years ago and wasn't particularly engaged or impressed. However, after reading the analysis of Sugarplum and the grand pas de deux in the New York Times a few weeks back, he got more interested in the music, the story, and Tchaikovsky, and after reading some more background came in this time eager to see it. And he loved it. When the curtain went down at the end he turned to me with a big sigh and said, "It's not over, is it? Isn't there another act?" He especially loved Reichlen, and Sara Adams leading Marzipan. He is a professional musician, and felt that the orchestra, although pretty fresh overall considering how many performances they do, was more ragged than they typically are during regular-season performances. 

 

Another performance next week. Just fervently hoping for a better-behaved audience with NO TEXTING!

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From where I was sitting, the biggest distraction last night was a child on the far left of the orchestra section who kept jumping in the aisle the WHOLE performance after intermission.  And talking loudly.  The usher would periodically come over and try to shush her, but didn't try to stop the jumping.  The constant motion in the corner of my field of vision was immensely distracting -- both from the jumping child and the usher's many trips to and fro to shush her (unsuccessfully).  Maybe Tess R. got distracted by it too, she was faced that way during her slip.  I get that kids attend the Nutcracker, but if every kid who did was jumping up and down in the aisle, would that be tolerated?  I don't understand why the parents don't have more consideration and just remove the child if they disrupt everyone else's experience to that degree.

 

I saw three casts - opening night (it's a tradition!); Sara Mearns's Sugarplum, which I hadn't seen before, and last night's cast (mainly for Tess R.'s Dewdrop, which I regard as the best in the company, although last night was not one of her best performances of it).  I love her height and speed in the role (you don't get gorgeous, super tall, technically and musically brilliant Dews that often).  I thought Sara Mearns's Sugarplum was outstanding.  Her beautiful renverses and glamor in the pink variation were unmatched (Sterling, too brittle.  Tiler, amazing control and pirouettes but no drama and no amazingly flexible back like Sara).  And her pdd with Amor was full of drama and, yes, glamor!  Those high arabesques in promenade!  (Both Tiler and Sterling's back legs were a little low -- probably for increased stability -- but I loved Sara's risk taking).  The audience that night, which had been a little sleepy for the performance throughout, really came alive after that!  I miss Maria K so in this role, and Sara is of the same ilk.  Tiler and Tyler were technically better, no question, but I preferred the Sara/Amar pdd.

 

My other favorite performances included Laracey's Marzipan -- those port de bras and that grace!  She looks like she wandered in from a Degas painting/the POB.  She needed to be made principal years ago.  I was also pleasantly surprised by Catazaro's brilliant Hot Chocolate (a role that usually is a throwaway).  Huge leaps, where did this virtuoso version come from?  Peter Walker was also a great Hot Chocolate.  Another surprise was Megan Mann's Coffee -- very smooth and beautiful control and extension.  It was also good to see Ana Sophia Scheller back in top form and sparkling as Dew.  And, of course, the brilliant ladies of the snow scene, who never fail to thrill.  Although there is one girl who doesn't quite get her leg up as high to the side as everyone else, which makes her stick out in the sequence near the end, and not in a good way.

 

In the first act, I think the Dr. Stahlbaum role is very important in setting the mood.  Both Ask la Cour and Peter Walker were great, interacted with the kids brilliantly, and looked like they were having fun.  Justin Peck last night phoned it in completely.  Meh.  Sorely missing Gwyneth Muller as the Mom this year.  

 

If I could afford it and sit through more party scenes, I would love to catch the Sara Mearns/Tyler Angle pairing (with Tess as Dew!!!) and also to see Laracey as Dew.  I love her dancing, I really can't look at others when she's on the stage.  Why she hasn't been sufficiently utilized or recognized at NYCB is baffling.  Happy Nutcracking everyone! 

 

 

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When I took a tour of the Met Opera House years ago, they pointed out the soundproof room in the back for people with crying babies. I haven't seen anything like that in the State Theatre, but they seem to need it - more importantly, they need ushers who will escort people from the theater after a reasonable warning. They do at least have closed circuit TV where people could watch (and hear) the rest of the performance.

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Sorry to hear about the misbehaving audience members.  I almost lost it last week because I was sitting in the 3rd ring sides, and the guy in front of me (who was sleeping) was leaning on the railing and stuffing his coat in between his arms to use as a pillow.  Cut off half the stage, so I had to lean over the railing, which probably was annoying for the person behind me.  I should have said something, but I hate confrontation.   The guy was completely oblivious to the fact that he was blocking my view.

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16 minutes ago, Kaysta said:

Sorry to hear about the misbehaving audience members.  I almost lost it last week because I was sitting in the 3rd ring sides, and the guy in front of me (who was sleeping) was leaning on the railing and stuffing his coat in between his arms to use as a pillow.  Cut off half the stage, so I had to lean over the railing, which probably was annoying for the person behind me.  I should have said something, but I hate confrontation.   The guy was completely oblivious to the fact that he was blocking my view.

 

Oy so frustrating.  On the flip side, my mom was leaning forward to watch the orchestra before the curtain rose.  The man behind her yelled at her.

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I might be nuts (pun intended) but I like kiddie chatter during the Nutcracker. This year there was a girl behind me who was fixated on the "candy canes." Every time she'd ask her mom when the candy canes came out. Her mom would shush her and she'd ask again. Finally when they came out she shrieked and started counting each jump with the hoop before finishing with one last ecstatic yelp as Devin Alberda finished the double hoop jump.

 

I think that's the charm of the Nutcracker experience is the chattery kids. They're SO EXCITED and its' cute.

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