CriticalDance Forum

RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003
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Author:  Joanne [ Mon Dec 23, 2002 4:38 am ]
Post subject:  RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

Review in The Times.

WITH Matthew Bourne’s tongue-in-cheek Nutcracker going great guns at Sadler’s Wells, and English National Ballet’s Gerald Scarfe version — wild with caricature — turning the Coliseum on its head, it was time for London to welcome a traditional Nutcracker. And thanks to Peter Wright (choreography) and Julia Trevelyan Oman (designs), the Royal Ballet’s production is the most beautiful, traditional Nutcracker you could possibly imagine. Elegantly staged and emotionally alive, it is the definitive Nutcracker, a glorious production in which a sense of wonder and magic touches every scene

<small>[ 18 January 2003, 03:46 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Dec 23, 2002 2:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

The RB "Nutcracker"
Ismene Brown in The Daily Telegraph comments briefly on the RB "Nutcracker"

It was the 208th performance of the Royal Ballet's 1994 Nutcracker on Friday. With its regal Meissen prettiness and elevated choreography by Peter Wright, modelled on Lev Ivanov's 1892 original, this is the most classical and most Christian version available.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

Tots held in thrall by the real thing
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times

"Christmas", some dolt said to me, "would not be the same without The Nutcracker". Nor without mauve plush teddy bears, disgusting chocs, and the umpteenth repeat of a Morecambe and Wise show on the idiots' lantern. But faithful even unto satiation, I report on London's third Nutcracker of the season.

This Covent Garden Nutcracker - Peter Wright's decade-old staging, with Julia Trevelyan Oman's charming designs, as given by the Royal Ballet - is the best of the lot. I loved it rather more some years ago, when Drosselmeyer was still portrayed as a serious and benevolent figure. Latterly he has been re-dressed, and now looks and behaves like your uncle who decided to come out as a drag queen. So, swishing about the stage with a repertoire of feebly managed conjuring tricks and the belief that he is Loie Fuller, Herr Drosselmeyer romps with the young, and I wish he would stop. (As played by John Auld and Stephen Jefferies in earlier seasons, he was a dominant and splendid figure. Now he is an obtrusive bore.)

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Author:  Joanne [ Tue Dec 31, 2002 3:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

Review from The Independent.

In my view Sugar Plum isn't Darcey's best role anyway, and the encephalitic wig she sports in this production would have Trinny and Susannah in hysterics. Tiny Miyado Yoshida had ditched hers and stuck her head in a bucket of glitter instead – the one brash touch in a production (design by Julia Trevelyan Oman) that breathes cultured restraint. Knickerbockered children unwrap presents from muslin, grandpa rides a Biedermeier bath chair, even the set for the Kingdom of Sweets turns out to be a replica of a spun-sugar table decoration from the 1830s

Author:  Joanne [ Wed Jan 01, 2003 6:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

Another review from The Independent.

The Royal Ballet's Nutcracker and I have grown older together, through nearly 20 Christmases. In fact, this is a production which, through sheer tedium, has probably hastened my decomposition, while it got itself a face-lift a few years back. The tweaks, though, have only elaborated its addled confusion and done nothing to resolve the central flaws. I have invited elderly and middle-aged guests and seen them slump lower and lower into their seats. Ten years ago, my nine-year old nephew fell asleep during the second act. For last Friday's matinée I brought Danielle, aged 11, who also fell asleep during the second act. I didn't, but on other occasions it's been a close thing.


Author:  sylvia [ Thu Jan 02, 2003 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

Two for you. :)

I went to see the Royal Ballet's first night of Nutcracker last night. I thought the whole party in Act I seemed slow and devoid of any action, plus there were a few mishaps on stage, Drosselmeyer magically waving his cape over one doll box and oops, the doll comes out of the other one. :) I think I find it a little disappointing because the music is so gorgeous but it's not used well. Still the mouse battle was good fun and I love seeing the children dance. My favourite part though has to be the pdd between Clara and Hans Peter - a blue silky curtain drops down as a backdrop and the effect is dreamy. Iohna Loots was a lovely Clara though I don't think she soars in this. Jonathan Howells I thought was a wonderous Hans-Peter! The snowflakes, their diagonal patterns are dazzling, as are the costumes and set of Act II. Manianela Nunez almost stole the show with her warm but crisply danced Rose Fairy. Monica Mason came out before the show to explain that Darcey Bussell had the flu and Jonathan Cope had injured his back - a disappointment to many I'm sure but I don't think they could possibly have danced the Sugarplum Fairy and Prince any better than Miyako Yoshida and Ivan Putrov. Putrov really seems to have grown as a partner this last year - he was very attentive to Yoshida. And his short solo was beautiful - he makes it look so easy! Yoshida was fantastic. A fun afternoon!

So relieved there were no injuries as the main roles were filled with all my favourite dancers - Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg as the Sugarplum Fairy and Prince, with Natasha Oughtred and Ricardo Cervera as Clara and Hans Peter. I thought Natasha was so lovely - she has such big and expressive eyes and seeing that she's replacing Leanne Benjamin in Gloria in the coming mixed bill I think she's really on her way up. Ricardo Cervera was wonderful, really romantic in the pdd and full of joy in everything else. He has such an easy smile and there's something so relaxed about his dancing it's easy to see why he's a fan favourite. Natasha said in a recent newspaper profile that Juilet was her dream role and I could easily imagine them both in this ballet. I was hoping to see Zenaida Yanowsky or Belinda Hatley as the Rose Fairy but it wasn't to be. Still I guess you can't get any better than Marianela Nunez whom I saw last time. She is absolutely gorgeous in this role and dances with such an easy confidence I can't imagine anyone bettering her. Alina and Johan were wonderful as expected. I was surprised to see that Alina and her brilliant smile outshone Johan (a little unsmiley today) - I usually find it's the other way around! Anyway they were beautiful - very grand and assured. It was like there wasn't a single movement wasted - every step or gesture seemed so perfectly danced, like little gems sprinkled between moments of complete stillness. When Alina lept into Johan's arms and he dips her into a fishdive, it felt like it came out of nowhere, it was such a surprise even though I'm so familiar with this pdd. Alina got cheers for a string of double fouettes across the stage before the pdd had even ended. I'd say they were equally as good as Miyako Yoshida and Ivan Putrov who I saw last time. I was a little unsure about Alistair Marriot as Drosselmeyer - he came across as a little crotchy and unsympathetic. I loved the little boy from the party in Act I who tries to steal the Nutcracker from Clara and flies with a bit of magic from Drosselmeyer - his petulance was quite funny! And he dancers from the Chinese dance were very cheeky in the curtain calls, mimicking the Arabian dancers curtain calls exactly with the arms and one straddling another's shoulders. :) Great fun, great evening!

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Jan 08, 2003 6:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

The plum performance
There has been no shortage of Nutcrackers this Christmas, but the Royal Ballet’s is still the best, says David Dougill in The Sunday Times

None of the creators of the Nutcracker, 111 years ago in St Petersburg, could have dreamt that it was destined for eternal life, multitudinous adaptations and worldwide ubiquity. The original production, immensely elaborate, was coolly received, not to say ridiculed. The ballet, with what seems to us now the irresistible, indeed inescapable, charm of its magic and fantasy, took a while to catch on.

Cut to 1934: London, and the first production of the full ballet in the West, at Sadler’s Wells, with Alicia Markova as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Cut again to today, with three utterly different versions running simultan-eously in the British capital. Matthew Bourne’s cheeky and colourful spectacular, Nutcracker!, is packing them in at the Wells on an extended run, and then tours until May. English National Ballet’s controversial caricature vision by Gerald Scarfe has just finished its first outing at the Coliseum. And around the country, there have been Nutcrackers by Latvians from Riga, Moldo- vans from Chisinau and the indefatigably touring St Petersburg Ballet Theatre.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Jan 08, 2003 6:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

Many thanks for your reports on the two performances Sylvia. There can be little doubt that the RB production has won the most plaudits this year of the three versions on show in London.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Jan 18, 2003 2:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RB's Nutcracker 2002/2003

The Nutcracker
By Gavin roebuck for The Stage

This classic production, staged by Peter Wright, is the finest in the capital. Julia Trevelyan Oman's designs exactly encapsulate the traditional setting while the dancers prove themselves to be the best on the London stage.

The Christmas party scene is complete with dotty characters, such as creaking Grandfather, played by Alastair Marriott, and Romayne Grigorova, the wonderful housekeeper to David Drew's masterly, if predictable, Dr Stahlbaum. Chiefly commendable is the blue and yellow costumed Vivandiere danced by Laura Morera. Particularly pleasurable are the children from the Royal Ballet School performing with such delight, kept in order by the enchanting Elizabeth McGorian as the Dancing Mistress.

Drosselmeyer, by William Tuckett, performs magical tricks with the polish of a member of the magic circle and the praiseworthy stage crew make the Christmas tree grow while scene changes work smoothly. As Clara, Iohna Loots dances with a charming talent, especially in the transformation scene.

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