Notes & Reviews:
This visually stunning, all-new production of 'Nutcracker', choreographed by Helgi Tomasson (artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet) is a graceful and timeless adventure on a grand scale. The scenic design by Michael Yeargan, setting the tale at the time of the 1915 San Francisco World Fair, is sensational. From the lovely Waltz of the Flowers to the crystalline beauty of the stunning Snowflake Waltz, each scene is more breathtaking than the last, bringing to life all the well-known and beloved characters with fresh sparkle and compelling originality.
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Submitted on 12/23/09 by 8.ears2hear
The second act, now set in a surreal idealized world, with minimalist sets based on a famous building from the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, keeps the standard falling. The very beginning, where the Nutcracker Prince describes his perils to the Sugar Plum Fairy is over-done with bravura tricks, which have no place in this part of the ballet. The character dances, for the most part, are choreographically decent. The Arabian is pretty, but dull. The Russians do have a clever theme to them, bursting out of golden eggs. Also, the (traditionally) gingerbread mother (or Jokers/Fools in some Russian versions) is instead a 'carnival' mother, showing off dozens of children and a circus bear; which is something new, unexpected, and very cute. Chinese, Mirlitons, and Spanish are aesthetically pleasing and very well danced. The Waltz of the Flowers is disastrous. The choreography is unexciting and completely anticlimactic, and the costumes tacky. It is also evident that here (and in the Waltz of the Snowflakes), some of the corps de ballet dancers are blatantly overweight, and shouldn't be dancing these classical roles, when present times call for a certain look (which is longer and thinner).Then, the jewel of the second act, the famous grand pas de deux, is massacred. Though the Nutcracker Prince (Davit Karapetyan) and Grand Pas de Deux Ballerina (Maria Kochetkova) are technically very proficient and beautiful, there is nothing in the choreography that suits the story, it might as well have been any array of classical movements. The pas de deux is very anticlimactic as well, and proves a huge disappointment. Finally, Clara wakes up, and the ballet is over.
Though the dancers themselves are technically proficient and beautiful (when not looking too directly at some of the overweight corps de ballet), the choreography is bland and unexciting. The costumes are elegant (for the most part), and the sets (especially in the first act) are very aesthetically pleasing. Helgi Tomasson brings forth some clever and exciting new themes to this San Franciscan retelling of the classic story, though his choreography ruins it. I'd recommend a different Nutcracker to ballet fans, either the Kirov Ballet's version (1994 with Larissa Lezhnina, in Petipa/Vainonen's version), or the Bolshoi Ballet's version (1987 with Yekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev, in Grigorovich's version). However, to devout fans of San Francisco Ballet or those completely in love with the Nutcracker, this would be an edition to own, but mostly just for the new, clever themes presented by Tomasson.
Submitted on 01/11/12 by danrubin06
Walter Felsenstein Edition: 7 Operas, Extensive Interviews & Documentaries [11 DVD]
Bizet: Carmen / Kaufman; Antonacci; Amsellem; Pappano/Royal Opera [DVD]
Donizetti: LAEelisir dAEamore / De Marchi/Bergamo Musica Festival; Benetta; Hernandez [2 DVD]
Henze: Der Junge Lord / Dohnanyi/Berlin Deutsche Opera; Mathis; Grobe [DVD]
Mozart: Don Giovanni / Metzmacher, Spagnoli, Luperi [2 DVD]
Countertenors / Bowman, Chance, Scholl, Somerville [DVD]
Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Gergiev/Mariinsky Theatre [Blu-Ray]
Humperdinck: Hansel und Gretel / Frank, Kuntschew, Petersamer [DVD]
Orchestra! Sir Georg Solti & Dudley Moore / From the landmark BBC series [DVD]
Works DetailsTchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Nutcracker, Op. 71
- Conductor: Martin West
- Ensemble: San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Ballet
- Written: 1891-1892
- Studio/Live: Live