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Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Dec 14, 1999 10:49 am ]
Post subject:  Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

As the Christmas ballet season is upon us, has anyone seen any interesting (or otherwise) Nutcrackers? I've been recalling the lovely AMP version, which I don't think has ever been seen in the US, as it is pre-Swan Lake, before AMP achieved their current mega-stardom. I hope they bring it back soon.<P>

Author:  Azlan [ Wed Dec 15, 1999 9:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

I saw one school production by Pacific Theater Ballet. It was a surprisingly entertaining production with some stylish gestures, like the party attendees entering through the aisles from the lobby, Clara making some spectacular leaps into Drosselmeyer and the Arabian side girls with a silk scarf to accompany the Arabian Coffee pdd. But maybe I should let Rima talk some more about this.<P>I also have to say I regret missing Cygnet's Nutcracker (sorry).<P>I hope to catch SFB's production sometime. It will be the last season for this particular production.

Author:  Cygnet [ Thu Dec 16, 1999 12:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Dear Azlan<BR>I guess you would have found our little production particularly entertaining.<BR>Drosselmeyer does a few magic tricks that are pretty catchy!<BR>Sorry you missed our show.<BR>Cygnet

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Fri Dec 17, 1999 5:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

I saw 2 performances of Stephen Jefferies' production for the Hong Kong Ballet, now in its third year. This production follows the Hoffmann libretto more and less faithfully, while Jefferies unfortunately substituted the authentic Ivanov choreography in the grand pas de deux with his own choreography which is more conventional and inferior. The costumes and sets by Peter Farmer, instead of the actual dancing, were the best part of this production.<P>On the opening night, there was hardly any sparkle from the lacklustre 'senior' cast of Eriko Ochiai and Michael Wang in the leading roles. On the Sunday afternoon, things improved slightly with the debut of a younger cast - Fei Leung, and the 20-year-old Japanese dancer Nobuo Fujino whose virtuosity was quite impressive.<P>But I long to see the 2 superior productions in London - the Royal Ballet's, and Derek Deane's production for English National Ballet. Still, Balanchine's version for NYCB is the greatest production of this classic in my 18 years of ballet-going experience.<p>[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited 12-18-1999).]

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Dec 17, 1999 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Kevin,<P>Out of curiosity, why do you consider the Balanchine/NYCB production the greatest?

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Sat Dec 18, 1999 1:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Azlan, it's difficult to explain why very briefly. But I like Balanchine's ingenious choreography for the Waltz of the Flowers and the Waltz of the Snowflakes - there's always something new to discover every time. And in the grand pas de deux, I admire Balanchine's reinvention of the Ivanov choreography to provide a new technical challenge for his dancers in the 20th century - as Arlene Croce pointed out in a review some years ago. Also, the choreography for the children is the most moving of all the existing versions of this classic.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Dec 18, 1999 8:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Kevin, thanks for your insight. I was curious as I tend to get "tired" of the Nut and therefore never made it a point to see yet another production even if it it Balanchine's. I have seen segments of it on video but you can never get the feel of a production from watching in on the tube.

Author:  elsmere [ Sun Dec 19, 1999 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Boston Ballet's Nutcracker grows more pleasing each year. I see it about every two years. The performances are virtually seamless, reaching the highest level of professionalism. The choreography has been streamlined and previously crowded staging has been thinned out to keep the show moving at a charming pace. The performances of student dancers has been sharpened to a level that avoids any hint of a "recital atmosphere" and there is absolutely no patronizing. The elegant sets by Helen Pond and Herbert Senn are tweaked a bit each year and remain the wonder of the ages. Because of its high style and level of dancing, the Boston Ballet Nutcracker presents the world of dance to the unitiated in an irresistible and embracing fashion.<P> - RWC

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Dec 20, 1999 12:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Elsmere, welcome to the site and many thanks for your clear and interesting description of the Boston Ballet 'Nutcracker'. It has obviously made a very good impression on you and it sounds as though it is doing a fine job on behalf of ballet. <P>From what you say it seems that the production avoids too many modernising tricks. The English National Ballet production has many good features, but I could do without the Robocop and the Michael Jackson dolls in the first Act. <P>Looking forward to hearing more from you about dance in the Boston area. Also, if you felt inclined, you might like to tell us about your interests in 'Introductions' in the 'Fun Stuff' section.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Dec 20, 1999 1:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

The Royal Ballet has unveiled its revised version of Sir Peter Wright's 'Nutcracker'. Despite some technical hitches on the first night, it seems to be a great success. All 15 performances are sold out.<P>Here are the links to a couple of reviews:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.newsunlimited.co.uk/reviews/story/0,3604,115907,00.html" TARGET=_blank>www.newsunlimited.co.uk/reviews/story/0,3604,115907,00.html</A> <BR> <A HREF="http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/99/12/20/timartdan02001.html?1376249" TARGET=_blank>www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/99/12/20/timartdan02001.html?1376249</A>

Author:  Azlan [ Mon Dec 20, 1999 9:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Stuart, RoboCop and Michael Jackson dolls? You must be kidding!

Author:  Azlan [ Mon Dec 20, 1999 9:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

elsmere, I'm curious. Can you tell us the choreographer/s behind the Boston production and how long it has been around? Thanks.<P>You know, I just had a weird thought... does anyone do a non-seasonal Nutcracker production, outside of December/January?

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Dec 21, 1999 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Well, Azlan as you were sceptical, I thought I had better go back and check on the English National Ballet 'Nutcracker' tonight. I have to apologise about my mention of a Robocop doll. It is in fact a Robot doll, with some of the dullest movement ever seen on the stage. The Michael Jackson doll showed that it's not that easy to dance as well as Mr Jackson and the ballerina doll looked as awkward as you'd expect a wind-up doll to look.<P>The positive features were the dancing of the wonderful Agnes Oakes as the Sugar Plum Fairy; the scintillating Yat Sen Chang as the Russian dancer; and Sarah McIlroy and Felipe Diaz in the Spanish dance. The sets and cossies are stylish and the general standard of dancing is high. <P>The other negative features are the Act I party with tepid tango pastiche steps and Drosselmeyer being clearly infatuated with the under-age Clara, which makes many of us feel uncomfortable. Another problem on the night was the absence of the estimable Tamara Rojo, who was scheduled to be Clara. On hearing this one man behind me said rather ungraciously that they, '..may as well go home.' <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited 12-21-1999).]

Author:  elsmere [ Thu Dec 23, 1999 1:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Azlan,<BR>The listed choreographers: Daniel Pelzig, Bruce Marks, Sydney Leonard and Anna-Marie Holmes. Anna-Marie Holmes is the Artistic Director of Boston Ballet; Bruce Marks is Artistic Director Emeritus; Daniel Pelzig has been until very recently resident choreographer. I do not know anything about Sydney Leonard. The production is in its 33rd year, but the current look and style is only about five years old. Substative changes seem to be made each year, and each change is an improvement upon an already excellent show.<P>You might want to visit the Boston Ballet site: <A HREF="http://www.boston.com/bostonballet/" TARGET=_blank>http://www.boston.com/bostonballet/</A> <P><BR>

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Dec 24, 1999 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone seen a good Nutcracker?

Ah, I thought so, Stuart! Imagine the franchising fee the Robocop producers would be asking for.

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