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 Post subject: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 7:37 am 
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'I had to be bullish'
Ashley Page thought his career was over. But then Scottish Ballet took him on - and he turned the company upside down. He talks to Judith Mackrell in The Guardian.


Scotland is getting a brand-new Nutcracker for Christmas, but it's not going to come wrapped in tinsel. With an opening party scene set in Weimar Germany, and the ghosts of Max Beckmann and Otto Dix haunting the decor, the style is more German expressionism than yuletide. But Scottish Ballet knew it wouldn't get a traditional repertory, let alone a traditional artistic director, when it appointed Ashley Page to run the company last year.

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<small>[ 14 December 2003, 02:48 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 3:05 am 
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A cracking good night
By Liam Rudden for The Evening Herald

Marching tin soldiers, piroue-tting music-box ballerinas, evil mice and a host of familiar waltzes including the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - better known to many as Everyone’s a Fruit and Nutcase - by Tchaikovsky have made The Nutcracker one of the most popular ballets in the world.

First performed on Decem-ber 5, 1892 at the Maryinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, The Nutcraker is based upon the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by ETA Hoffman and opens on Christmas Eve in the home of the wealthy Mr Stahlbaum, who is throwing a party for his children, Clara and Fritz.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:48 am 
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Page cracks a nut with old pals act
Struggling to find quality help, the Scottish Ballet’s director calls in the cavalry to stage his vision of the Nutcracker with a darker, edgier feel, writes Kelly Apter for The Sunday Times.


Ashley Page sent half of Scottish Ballet scurrying to the job centre earlier this year. Now he’s calling in the classical ballet cavalry, in the form of a trio of international stars, to open his Nutcracker. Known for his shorter, modern works, the artistic director is staking his reputation on his first full-length classical ballet, which he is presenting in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2003 8:31 am 
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Hats off to the Press team at Scottish Ballet, who have managed to get an interview in every Scottsih newspaper I come across:

Seasonal tale returns to its origins on the dark side
CRITICS CHOICE: DANCE - THE NUTCRACKER
From Scotland on Sunday

No matter how well you know The Nutcracker you can be sure of never having seen a production of it like this before. Under the artistic direction of Ashley Page, the festive classic is back courtesy of Scottish Ballet, which has worked to create an entirely new version to the one it first performed 30 years ago. Designer Antony McDonald explains how he and the team aimed to return to the story’s origins.

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Nutcracker breaks with tradition
By Kelly Apter for The Scotsman

I’m standing inside a giant flower pot, peering down on to a crowded workshop below. All around lie Christmas trees, mock fireplaces, house fronts and mechanical clock faces - many of them unfinished. With just one week until dress rehearsal, the Scottish Ballet technical crew are like Santa’s elves, working long into the evening to meet their Christmas deadline. And yet, they are surprisingly calm.

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Cracking the Nut
Dance: The Nutcracker has been a Christmas staple for more than a century. So how do you make a new production magical? Go back to the original fairytale, Scottish Ballet’s artistic director Ashley Page tells Ellie Carr in The Sunday Herald


It is the world’s favourite Christmas ballet. The one that, if you include all the right elements – a Christmas tree that grows, Sugar Plum Fairy, middle-class Victorian family in velvet smocks – causes ballet school girls to coo and box office tills to ring.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 12:23 am 
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Page cracks a nut with old pals act
Struggling to find quality help, the Scottish Ballet’s director calls in the cavalry to stage his vision of the Nutcracker with a darker, edgier feel, writes Kelly Apter


Ashley Page sent half of Scottish Ballet scurrying to the job centre earlier this year. Now he’s calling in the classical ballet cavalry, in the form of a trio of international stars, to open his Nutcracker. Known for his shorter, modern works, the artistic director is staking his reputation on his first full-length classical ballet, which he is presenting in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 4:07 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The critics enjoy Scottish Ballet's new "Nutcracker" by Ashley Page:

On the darker side, a tale not quite so sweet
By MARTIN LENON for The Evening News

WHETHER or not Scottish Ballet have gone over to the dark side of the avant-garde, is still up for debate. Certainly, last night they were courting one another at the premiere of Ashley Page’s take on The Nutcracker - not so much a reinvention as a return to the roots of the story.

Alexander Dumas was responsible for the version audiences have come to know and love but Page, incorporating work by Lev Ivanov, turned to the original Hoffman tale for a fresh, yet darker narrative to choreograph.

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New Nutcracker sparkles with saucy fun
By Kelly Apter for The Scotsman

TO SAY Scottish Ballet is a phoenix risen from the ashes would be something of an understatement. Twelve months ago it was limping away from a parliamentary inquiry, desperately seeking a new direction. And now, thanks to the penetrating vision of new artistic director, Ashley Page, it’s found one. Last night, in full view of a loud and appreciative Festival Theatre audience, Scottish Ballet was reborn.

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The Nutcracker, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
By MARY BRENNAN for The Herald


Love it, or hate it – Scottish Ballet's new Nutcracker is unlikely to leave you indifferent. And whether or not you agree with the surreal slant of the narrative, or the psychological nuances incorporated by artistic director Ashley Page, you should surely feel able to admire the witty, complex choreography he has fashioned to Tchaikovsky's well-worn score.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 9:33 am 
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Review from The Telegraph.

Quote:
At the opening of Ashley Page's new Nutcracker for Scottish Ballet, the little girl heroine is having her head examined. Herr Drosselmeyer is rootling about in her brain (rather cleverly staged), a sign of the bracing rewrite that Page intends of this great Christmas stalwart.

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And The Times.

Quote:
THE NUTCRACKER may be one of the most popular and accessible ballets ever written but it is based on a strange and complex story. So the first question every choreographer has to ask when staging Tchaikovsky’s ballet is: to tell or not to tell? Ashley Page, in his fine new production for Scottish Ballet, has decided to go full out. He eschews the sugar dusting of most festive Nutcrackers and takes the ballet back to its more macabre E. T. A. Hoffmann roots.
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And The Guardian.

Quote:
In traditional Nutcrackers, it is the magical expansion of the Christmas tree in act one that always makes the audience gasp. In Ashley Page's new production for Scottish Ballet, however, the collective gasp occurs when the Nutcracker first displays the grotesque effects of the Mouse Queen's curse. With his mouth freakishly agape and jaws cruelly twisted, this nightmare figure is the hero whom little Marie has to save in order to bring about the ballet's happy ending. It is a climactic moment typical of a production that has plenty of shocks.
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<small>[ 19 December 2003, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:14 am 
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I'm delighted that Ashley Page's "The Nutcracker" has been greeted so favourably by the UK critics. I've always enjoyed his work and I look forward to seeing this production, perhaps next year:

The Nutcracker - Edinburgh Festival Theatre
By Ellie Carr for The sunday Herald


Seems Ashley Page has cracked the proverbial nut. Having effectively re-launched Scottish Ballet in a blaze of glamour-soaked, modern-oriented glory this September, Page would be first to admit staging a new version of seasonal favourite The Nutcracker is his biggest challenge yet.

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Costume Drama
By Jackie McGlone for Scotland on Sunday

MARY MULLEN has her hands full - of mice. But these are no ordinary rodents. Scottish Ballet’s wardrobe mistress is transporting nine large mouse heads, actually lifelike rubber masks cunningly fashioned to resemble the stuff of nightmares, behind the scenes at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. The pink heads, complete with pointed noses and quivering ears, have sharp incisors and look more like bloodsucking rats than friendly little fieldmice.

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<small>[ 21 December 2003, 04:10 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 12:36 am 
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The Nutcracker, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Sugar-free Nutcracker could be an acquired taste
By Jenny Gilbert for The Independent

The opening front-cloth tells you what to expect, or rather what not to. It shows a giant etching of a young girl lying reading a book, her eyes starting out her head in fright. The top of her skull is in the form of a walnut, its shell cracked to reveal wrinkled matter inside. The other half of shell contains a man in a white coat tinkering with the brains of a baby.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 2:22 am 
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The Nutcracker, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
By Zoe Anderson
24 December 2003

Scottish Ballet's new Nutcracker goes wrong the minute the curtain goes up. Antony McDonald's frontcloth shows a girl with her head split open, her walnut-shaped brain visible. McDonald's drawing is a dud Monty Python cartoon. The image clashes horribly with Tchaikovsky's expectant, frost-in-the-air overture.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 2:58 am 
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Ashley Page's "Nutcracker"
By David Dougill for The Sunday Times

The Nutcracker, as always at the festive season, is ubiquitous. Scottish Ballet, recently relaunched under Ashley Page’s directorship, premiered his own new interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s magical fantasy at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2004 1:53 pm 
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It is a superb production. Ashley Page has really put new life into the story while still retaining the tradition. And of course it always a pleasure to see Mara Galeazzi. And, generally, the dancers are in extremely good shape. The company is indeed reinvigorated.

<small>[ 05 January 2004, 02:53 PM: Message edited by: Emma Pegler ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 12:11 pm 
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A real taste of Fame for classical ballet
Dancing on cars is off the agenda, but that hasn’t stopped Antonia Franceschi from having fun working on a revival of last year’s Nutcracker. By Kelly Apter for The Sunday Times:


It’s almost a quarter of a century since the film director Alan Parker transformed a New York traffic jam into a disco. The leg-splitting Irene Cara told us she was going to live forever, kids climbed onto car bonnets and in a stroke, Parker had created one of the most memorable cultural images of the 1980s. The movie Fame turned an entire generation into song-and-dance wannabes, and gave the humble legwarmer more fashion kudos than it ever deserved.

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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:06 am 
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Quote:
Don’t be afraid of the dark

BY MARY BRENNAN
The Scotland Herald
December 09, 2004

Ashley Page wasn't interested in simply rehashing bits of the usual format: he wanted to give audiences a truer sense of what Hoffmann had intended – a thrilling and mystical rite of passage that sees a young girl moving away from life in the nursery and into an adult world which is puzzling, but filled with the prospect of finding true love.
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 Post subject: Re: Scottish Ballet's "Nutcracker" (Ashley Page)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:44 am 
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Quote:
From Russia with love

by MARY BRENNAN
the Scotland Herald

"He [Irek Mukhamedov] has this wonderful wealth of experience – that incredible Russian training, his Bolshoi days and then the different, subtler qualities from his time at the Royal Ballet. It's all there – the timing, the partnering, the technique, the dramatic edge. The no-nonsense 'let's just learn it quickly' attitude so you can then start working on interpretation. It's wonderful for our young dancers to have that contact. ..."
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