My attempt to go to the Nutcracker was successful!!!! This may not seem like such a big deal to most here but it was the first time in 12 12 years
I have been able to attend an indoor public event without walking out sick in the middle (and I long ago stopped even trying).
I am writing to SFB to thank them for the outstanding efforts of a woman in ticket sales. When I explained the problem she reviewed all the dates and decided the 12/26 evening performance would be best for me as it does not have big crowds. Also, there is a section at Opera House that they only open up when they are expecting large crowds, but she said she would sell me a ticket in that section since I had special needs. Odds were I would have no neighbors. Normally they don't allow people to move even if there are empty seats but she also passed a "heads up" to the ushers that I might have to move for health reasons.
(An irony here: the place where I've worked for 3 1/2 years had another holiday party that excluded me. They use public restaurants, knowing I can't go, for every celebration of any kind. They say it is too much trouble to arrange a private room or a catered event. But SFB, who don't know me, have no obligation to me, and my one ticket does not make a real financial difference, took the trouble to see that I could go.)
OK, the performance. I am impressed by how well SFB coaches the children in the party scene. It must not be easy to get the younger kids to do their roles properly but they all shone. Good to see a real diversity among the children although I had to remind my self this was 19th century when the girls all sat with their dolls while the boys leaped around the stage!
The king and queen of snow (Vanessa Zahorian and Stephen Legate) bursting in always wakes up everyone who got drowsy during the party scene! I agree with djb, they are very well matched together.
Of all the divertissements the Russian was head and shoulders above the rest. I found myself wondering if Hansuke Yamamato had Cossack ancestry (Russo-Japanese war, maybe?), he was so marvelous at this dance; his leaps looked like he had springs in his feet. There was a gap of several seconds between the entry of the dancers and the start of the music for the dance; was that a boo-boo? Also agree with Toba Singer that the headdresses in the Arabian, both the man's and the woman's, were too large. I think a simple veil for the woman and small turban for the man would be in keeping without overwhelming.
Found myself calculating the odds that Mother Ginger would have 8 children, all girls which I guess is why some people hate bringing scientists to fantasies! Seriously, it was a fun dance and I'm sure the girls enjoyed it, especially the naughty littlest child.
I've always liked the dance of the flowers, maybe because I just love the music! Katita Waldo was Butterfly. I've not seen a lot of her, basically just in Othello
and there could hardly be two more different ballets than Othello
. She did not really look like a butterfly but her solos brought focus to the dance that frankly was a bit too cluttered. I understand the students from the SFB school dance this and commendably they want to involve as many as they can, but the stage was just too crowded. Without Waldo giving focus it would have been a mob scene, as it was I enjoyed it. Also agree with Toba on the costumes. The skirts were OK but the tan bodices, from where I sat, made the young women almost look topless!
A minor disappointment was that the Web site had listed Julie Diana as Sugarplum Fairy but it was actualy danced by Kristin Long. No knock on Long, but I have a special fondness for Diana. However, I was not disappointed for long (sorry, no pun intended, honest) because she was absolutely fabulous. She was partnered by Nicolas Blanc, whom I have not seen before but would definitely like to see again. He is not very tall, but graceful and handsome (photo does not do him justice) and looks very good in tights
The pair got long and loud applause, deservedly so.
I found myself grinning like an idiot the whole performance, just because I was able to go.