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Subject: "Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Bruceadmin

14-12-08, 09:24 AM (GMT)
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"Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
 
  
The Royal Ballet open their Nutcracker season on Monday (15 December) and this thread is to discuss all teh performances...

John Ross, our resident nut, was at the photoshoot...



Clara - Elizabeth Harrod and Nutcracker - Ricardo Cervera with Snowflakes in The Nutcracker




Flowers and Escorts in The Nutcracker




Yuhui Choe and Sergei Polunin in The Nutcracker

Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - ROH Dec 2008
Ballet.co Gallery Area
all images © John Ross

If you spot a wrongly named dancer please contact John direct - John Ross Contact Details

OK - over to you...


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 DaveM 16-12-08 1
     15/12 - Yoshida / Bonelli Diandri 16-12-08 2
     RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 GW 17-12-08 3
  RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 - opening night Jane Sadmin 17-12-08 4
  RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 DaveM 18-12-08 5
     RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 Carmela 18-12-08 6
     RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 alison 19-12-08 7
         RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 Carmela 20-12-08 8
             RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 annamk 20-12-08 9
                 RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 Carmela 20-12-08 10
                     RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 wulff 20-12-08 11
                         RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 rmiller 22-12-08 12
                             RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 SLH 22-12-08 13
                                 Nutcracker 21 December matinee Paul A 22-12-08 14
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee Mijosh 22-12-08 15
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee Bruceadmin 23-12-08 21
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee DaveM 22-12-08 16
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee JMcN 22-12-08 17
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee ian_palmermoderator 23-12-08 18
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee Essex Girl 23-12-08 19
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee amum 23-12-08 20
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee AEHandley 26-12-08 22
                                     RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee Carmela 01-01-09 23
                                     RE: Nutcracker 31 December matinee Mijosh 02-01-09 24
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee Carmela 10-01-09 25
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee annamk 12-01-09 26
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee Diandri 12-01-09 27
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee EricMontreal22 13-01-09 28
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee ian_palmermoderator 13-01-09 29
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee EricMontreal22 13-01-09 30
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee Beryl H 13-01-09 31
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee JohnM 13-01-09 32
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee Beryl H 13-01-09 33
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee ian_palmermoderator 13-01-09 34
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee EricMontreal22 14-01-09 35
                                     RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee wulff 14-01-09 37
                                     The scarf alison 14-01-09 36
                                     RE: The scarf Beryl H 14-01-09 38
                                     Jan 10 etc Michael LL 15-01-09 39
                                     RE: Jan 10 etc EricMontreal22 15-01-09 40
                                     RE: Jan 10 etc Bruceadmin 16-01-09 44
                                     RE: The scarf Kevin Ngmoderator 15-01-09 41
                                     RE: The scarf EricMontreal22 16-01-09 42
                                     RE: The scarf Bruceadmin 16-01-09 43
                                     RE: The scarf EricMontreal22 16-01-09 45
                                     RE: The scarf Essex Girl 16-01-09 46
                                     RE: The scarf alison 16-01-09 47
                                     RE: The scarf EricMontreal22 17-01-09 50
                                     RE: The scarf Bruceadmin 16-01-09 48
                                     RE: The scarf ismeneb 17-01-09 49
                                     RE: The scarf EricMontreal22 17-01-09 51
                                     RE: The scarf Bruceadmin 17-01-09 52

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DaveM

16-12-08, 10:46 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #0
 
   Well, it may well be one of the old 'warhorses' of the rep, but I always get caught up in its magic, every time I see it. The tree growing, the snowflakes (all with soft ballet shoes by the sounds of it), Clara/Hans-Peter duet whose music makes me brim up, the party we all wish we could organise, white roof tops, mysterious but glorious looking presents, the scramble for sweeties (opal fruits?), the corny conjuring, the act 2 diverts and stirring Waltz of flowers - the list goes on. Not forgetting of course, the glorious music. But to top it off came a near perfect (perhaps it WAS perfect) grande pas de deux from Miyako Yoshida and Federico Bonelli. His solo was tremendous, only bettered by his partnering of Miyako, aiding her appearnace of complete weightlessness. As for Miyako, for me, she IS Sugar Plum! I could watch her forever. I readily confess to enjoying that pdd as much as anything I've seen for simply ages.

I left the theatre heart thoroughly warmed.


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Diandri

16-12-08, 03:16 PM (GMT)
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2. "15/12 - Yoshida / Bonelli"
In response to message #1
 
   It was a good show last night & I thoroughly enjoyed the marvellous dancing from Ricardo Cervera & Iohna Loots throughout act 1 & then from Laura Morera as the Rose Fairy in act 2 (who for me nearly outshone our Sugar Plum pair), but of course Miyako Yoshida was radiant as ever in this part as somehow she just mines the choreography for every nuance it has. Bonelli was just as good & for once I even enjoyed the Arabian Dance!


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GW

17-12-08, 12:34 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #1
 
  
Very well put, Dave. I think we are extremely fortunate to be able to still enjoy Miyako as the SPF and on this performance I see no reason why we can't carry on having this particular christmas delight for a few more years to come!

There are so many Nutcrackers around the world but I have always thought that the Peter Wright interpretation is as close to the ideal as possible. The transformation scene never ceases to be very special, no matter how many times it has been seen.

Gary Avis brings a magical and ebullient panache to Drosselmeyer's control of Clara's two worlds - each time I see him I come away with the thought that he is the most consumate dance actor around today.

The only real concern to me was that Federico's wig seemed askew and certainly betrayed some of his own natural colouring underneath the sparkle! He is a lovely natural dancer marrying strength and virtuoisty with an almost feminine softness, especially in his silent landings, but I really wish that he could do something about the lop-sided grin that seems permanently glued in place. It - and the lop-sided wig - are the only things that troubled me about an otherwise excellent performance.

Graham


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Jane Sadmin

17-12-08, 10:20 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008 - opening night"
In response to message #0
 
   Royal Ballet
The Nutcracker

Royal Opera House
December 15th 2008

Nutcracker time again, and it's back to Covent Garden for another look at Peter Wright's production, which is now only a year away from its silver jubilee. For its première in 1984 the front of house was decorated with fir tree branches and real gingerbread so that it smelt like Christmas the minute you walked in: this year's silver, white and blue theme is certainly fashionable but it doesn't have the same magic. Two hundred and eighty seven performances separate that night from the opening of the current run, and the ballet seems if anything more popular than ever, still selling out even at astronomical prices (£500+ if you want to treat your husband and 3 children to the best seats).

My own view that is that this was a pleasant, if not great, production which has been badly damaged by the changes Wright has made over the years. But in the spirit of the season, let's concentrate on the good things about it. First of all, it has one moment of true enchantment, when the Christmas tree grows. If this doesn't work - if it doesn't leave you with misty vision and a sense that all is well - then nothing will save the evening. The first act is well constructed and shows off some typically Royal Ballet character cameos - I particularly liked Christopher Saunders as a calm, benevolent father to his boisterous son. I love the little toy soldiers marching out of their barracks, and the pas de deux for Clara and her come-to-life Nutcracker is charming - a sort of junior version of Romeo and Juliet's balcony scene. But I do feel sorry for that nice boy who looks after Clara so well at the party, and finds her stolen from under his nose by a smart uniform. Such is life.

The opening of the second act is much better since Wright broke up the interminable sequence in which the angels passed candles to each other across the stage, and the following scene in which the Nutcracker explains how Clara saved his life is very sweet. Ricardo Cervera (who's having a very good season) is charm personified, and well deserves the medal the Prince pins on his chest. Rather to my surprise, these days I enjoy the Arabian Dance as much as any of the divertissements - it's still too long, but that's Tchaikowsky's fault, and Cindy Jourdain somehow manages to convey some genuine warmth. It's fun to note that the Mirlitons are mostly the Claras from other casts, and to watch soon-to-be-Sugar-Plum Yohui Choe looking very pretty as one of the leaders of the Flower waltz, whilst Laura Morera added some interesting phrasing to her usual bright dancing as the Rose Fairy.

This evening's Clara was Iohna Loots; I think I'd still marginally prefer to see a younger and less experienced dancer in the part, but with the extra dancing Wright gives her in the second act it's now a big role for a beginner and Loots has the right mix of wonder and growing confidence. Herr Drosselmeyer now has so much to do that he's become almost the star of the evening, helped by the amazing amount of detail Gary Avis puts into his characterisation. The real crown of the performance, though, should be the great pas de deux for Sugar Plum and her Prince, done with a classical grandeur only slightly sweetened to fit into the Sugar Garden. It would be hard to beat Miyako Yoshida for smiling ease and fluency - this was one of the best things I can remember her doing in recent years, and the warmth of her reception at the end showed that the long gaps between her appearances these days haven't lessened the affection of her admirers. Federico Bonelli makes an excellent foil for her - he only needs a little more gravitas to move him into the ranks of genuine danseurs nobles.

And that's about it. A nice enough evening, but I'd have enjoyed it a lot more if I could have ignored the fussy interpolations of Drosselmeyer and his protegés in the second act, and didn't feel the want of something deeper in Yoshida's interpretation, and could have skipped over the limp Spanish dance and the caricatured grandparents and the lack of any sense of menace from the furry little mice. Loved the tree, though.


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DaveM

18-12-08, 03:04 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #0
 
   I've often wondered: why does the Christmas Angel - who appears to Clara whilst everyone else freezes (as an intro to the magic about to happen, i always like to think, and then later on before the transformation) - never get a name check in the cast list, when someone like 'St Nicolas' who comes on and throws opal fruits for the children (and some RB dancers!) to pick up, does get a name check. I would have thought the former far more key to the story...

In case anyone interested, it was Demelza Parish on monday evening (I believe).


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Carmela

18-12-08, 03:35 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #5
 
   There are lots of such instances that I don't understand... Like in Sleeping Beauty, why do Aurora's friends get a name check and the Lilac Fairy's attendants don't? The attendants have just as much to do as the friends

I guess it's maybe just a case of printing space, but I would agree that the Angel has more to do than St Nicholas!


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alison

19-12-08, 01:10 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #5
 
   Yes, I wonder that every time, too. I did used to wonder whether the cast sheet was right about *all* the angels being students, and that was why there was no name check, but if it's definitely an RB dancer that's a different matter.


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Carmela

20-12-08, 05:29 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #7
 
   But I don't think there's an issue with the students being named? The student who dances Fritz is always named, and in Swan Lake Act I, the two "dancing girls" are always named.

On another subject, did anyone see today Yuhui Choe and Steve McRae's debuts? I so badly wanted to see this but couldn't get tickets!!


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annamk

20-12-08, 07:10 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #8
 
   LAST EDITED ON 20-12-08 AT 07:11 PM (GMT)
 
Yes Carmela I went to the matinee; it was marvelous to see Steven McRae back on the RoH stage again. I thought the Grand pas de deux came off very well indeed particularly so as it was a debut for both dancers. Steven's partnering was very secure and he looked thrilled to be back. Yuhui sparkled and thoroughly deserved the four enormous bouquets she received. Ricardo Cervera (as Hans-Peter) never seems to put a foot wrong and today was no exception, Elizabeth Harrod as Clara was delightful.

Edited to add Ricardo Cervera's role


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Carmela

20-12-08, 07:53 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #9
 
   That is great news that it went so well, and especially that Steven is finally back and did so well! We have been missing him for far too long!


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wulff

20-12-08, 10:22 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #10
 
   I thought that the Grand Pas went extremely well. I have seldom seen such an assured debut from any couple. It was good to see Steven back and in form. Despite the fact that Yuhui is just a little tall for him when on pointe he partnered her securely and attentively and they managed 6 or 7 supported pirouettes without forcing, and there were no difficulties with the shoulder lifts which can sometimes become problematic if confidence falters.

Both variations were well given. The male variation is not the most spectacular in the repertoire and there are several versions of the final section. Steven opted for a series of sideways jumps and entrechats, not unlike what Jonny Cope used to do, rather than a grande pirouette or the series of cabrioles en arrière which was what Irek Mukhamedov used to perform. Yuhui danced her variation with great musicality and elegance and performed the gargouillades correctly, though perhaps with not quite the precision that Miyako achieves. Both partners shone in the coda, with Yuhui's series of fouettés travelled en diagonale particularly impressive.


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rmiller

22-12-08, 08:43 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #11
 
   I also loved Hikaru Kobayashi as the Rose Fairy, I thought she was gorgeous, she seemed to glow! I was particularly struck with how light the jumps were of both principal leads, lovely soft landings. As mentioned above Choe's travelling fouettes were wonderful. Very excited to see both Choe and Kobayashi cast in Bayadere as Nikiya and Gamzatti respectively, would love to be there for their debuts.


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SLH

22-12-08, 12:44 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Royal Ballet: Nutcracker - Winter 2008"
In response to message #12
 
   Must just record my joy at watching Ricardo Cervera on Saturday afternoon demonstrate absolute on-the-beat precision coupled with stunning musicality.


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Paul A

22-12-08, 05:09 PM (GMT)
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14. "Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #13
 
   The RB Nutcracker is, for me, is a production that sinks in a surfeit of polite good taste. I want something with more verve and imagination in a Nutcracker, a production to stir the soul. With its pasty designs the RB production is insipid drama. I didn’t care for it in 1984 when it was new, with only Anthony Dowell and Lesley Collier lending it some lustre. The revisions in 1999 didn’t help when some of the magical staging effects (the flying sleigh at the close of act one) were diluted.

Now, based on a viewing of the first act only, the scenery looks drab and tired. I am not convinced unless you are sitting very close that details of the narrative project. Brighter lighting as in this revival helps but thee stuff with Hans Peter’s portrait behind the drop cloth is intelligence. Does the cake of the kingdom of sweets register in the party scene? What is the motivation of Drosselmeyer? For me the whole Hans Peter framing device adds an unwanted level of confusion, but if we are to have a melancholic approach to the character of Drosselmeyer (I prefer an interpretation with more fizz and panache) then Alastair Marriott’s aching performance is preferable to the more flouncing approach I saw Dowell take in 2000. The shorter cape is certainly a lot less camp.

The children in this revival were crisply drilled and never dutiful. Their elders were not doddery, doddery they were not (compared to some years when they look like first cousins to the decrepits at the Larin dance in Onegin), other than for Julie Walters in prime Mrs Overall mode as the grandmother. Oh no, I see the cast list credits Kirsten McNally in this role. So grotesque she was you expected her to shed her dentures. In comparison, Richard Ramsey was an absurdly youthful grandfather.

As the Stahlbaums David Pickering and Gillian Revie were a delight: subtle, affectionate, spontaneous – charming. Gary Avis made much out of nothing as the captain. Of the dolls, Kenta Kura was a strong soldier. As Drosselemeyer’s assistant, Liam Scarlett was pertly insistent.

I was not much taken by the Clara of Elizabeth Harrod, too stiff and mature. Brain Maloney as her nutcracker didn’t look much interested in her or proceedings generally.

I appreciate that from a restricted view seat I’m not going to see everything – but I didn’t see anything during the transformation other than empty, black wing space, OK – I’ve seen the show before, I can imagine it, but the staging left newcomers confused and under whelmed. With fewer resources and stage machinery, but heaps more imagination, Peter Wright’s BRB production is far more theatrically thrilling.

The Nutcracker is a perfect Advent ballet (though not for me in this production!). But why every year? And why does it hang round till 10 January, way after Twelfth Night? Coppelia, Fille, Cinderella, Sylvia (or Raymonda I note at POB this year) are all suitable festive fare and fine introductions to ballet for children. Some more imagination please, Royal Ballet.

And best wishes all ballet co.ers for Christmas and the new year.


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Mijosh

22-12-08, 05:55 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #14
 
   Why is it,I wonder,that I'm more often than not depressed after reading a posting from Paul A?
Surely even he,had he stayed for Act11,would have been hard put to find anything to complain about in the glorious pdd and hopefully continuing partnership of Yuhui Choe & Sergei Polunin.She is as delicate and delicious as spun sugar,while he already dances with such elegance and authority and delivered such a soaring and masterful solo that it belied his mere 19 years.
Next year,Cinderella.So cheer up Paul.Or as my grandmother used to say "Don't cry,eat your cake!"


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Bruceadmin

23-12-08, 10:53 AM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #15
 
   >Why is it,I wonder,that I'm more often than not depressed
>after reading a posting from Paul A?

Because you are different I guess. However long may our different views be discussed amicably and ideally without personal digs.


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DaveM

22-12-08, 07:17 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #14
 
   LAST EDITED ON 22-12-08 AT 07:18 PM (GMT)
 
Heavens - someone's glass is half empty! All I can say is if you already know you don't like the production - don't go! I'm sure there'd be plenty of takers for your ticket. To miss the debutants' grande pdd seems madness to me, especially as Yuhui Choe and Sergei Polunin show such huge promise - or even already actualised artistry.

Where I would agree though, is why it is lingering so long - celebrating Christmas Eve on the 10th Jan is stretching it a bit - or is somewhat premature to the tune of 340 odd days.... The sepia lighting also washes out all the colour from those beautiful costumes, so apart from the 'candlelight' effect they are seeking to emulate one would guess, it does baffle somewhat. Perhaps more shows BEFORE Christmas, and perhaps with a little something else in between (any of Paul's suggestions would be super) would be just the ticket.

Personally, I loved the production, and always get swept up in its magic (especially when Miyako Yoshida dancing! )

edit to change a word to something more appropriate


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JMcN

22-12-08, 07:35 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #16
 
   I saw this production in 1986 and it nearly put me off Nutcrackers for life. Fortunately I had already seen the previous NBT version and also Ronald Hynd's delightful production for LFB.

I've done as Dave M suggested and never bothered to see it again. I admire Paul A for sticking with it (if only for Act 1)!

Janet McNulty


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ian_palmermoderator

23-12-08, 09:50 AM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #17
 
   As someone who is lucky to know Paul as a friend, I am always hugely grateful for his postings on Ballet.co, not least because he is not afraid to offer negative and constructive comment about the Royal Ballet. Surely Ballet.co is exactly the place for this kind of diverse opinion? Why must this be "depressive"?


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Essex Girl

23-12-08, 10:39 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #18
 
   Like Janet McNulty I also gave up on the RB's Nut 20 odd years ago. A lot of people out there dislike this production intensely.


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amum

23-12-08, 10:39 AM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #18
 
   I have been lucky enough to see both the BRB, and the RB’s Nutcracker this year. I took the children to the former and feel the costumes, the dancers’ sheer “joi de vivre”, and the magic effects provide the more suitable production for the young. Also the transformation scene “gets on with it” quicker, with the tree rising sooner, and more obviously, being further forward. Also the fireplace change on the BRB’s is brilliant, no matter how many times you see it, and the impact of the rats coming through it never fails to please me. I found myself thinking “thank goodness I haven’t paid £70 each for the children” while watching the RB’s transformation scene and seeing Drosselmeyer and Clara dancing around fairly aimlessly for what seemed ages before the tree started coming up. Just to remind readers without children, the BRB charge half prices for children going to the Nutcracker, so they should be congratulated on a production guaranteed to appeal to families.

But as an adult watcher, may I say I cried three times watching the ROH production. Once was the opening tableaux and scene, in Drosselmeyer’s workshop, which doesn’t feature in the BRB version. The second at the appearance of the angel for the first time, as I hadn’t seen or researched this production before going, and the third time at Ricardo Cervero’s dancing, while he danced with the Snow Flakes. I can only agree with SLH above as to his musicality and talent which transformed the scene into magic for me! I loved the RB’s production and the artistry of the costumes and scenery, and of course the superb dancing. This is the production for ME, as an adult!

Cathy


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AEHandley

26-12-08, 10:48 AM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #14
 
   With fewer resources
>and stage machinery, but heaps more imagination, Peter
>Wright’s BRB production is far more theatrically thrilling.
>
>The Nutcracker is a perfect Advent ballet (though not for me
>in this production!). But why every year? And why does it
>hang round till 10 January, way after Twelfth Night?
>Coppelia, Fille, Cinderella, Sylvia (or Raymonda I note at
>POB this year) are all suitable festive fare and fine
>introductions to ballet for children. Some more imagination
>please, Royal Ballet.
>
>And best wishes all ballet co.ers for Christmas and the new
>year.
I so agree with both of your paragraphs here - the BRB staging is MAGICAL, the RB one is - well, a bit staid, and Drosselmeyer's outfit is just plain annoying.

CInderella isn't, however, a favourite of mine (though I do think DOwell made a wonderful Sister, played absolutely straight) as the music depresses me - but I would be happy to see Fille year after year!

Oh and here's to your 3rd para too.


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Carmela

01-01-09, 08:03 PM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Nutcracker 21 December matinee"
In response to message #22
 
   Last night on New Year's Eve it was a fairly "all-stars" show at the Royal Opera House for the Nutcracker. Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares were the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince and Bethany Keating and Steven McRae were cast as Clara and The Nutcracker/Hans-Peter, although Keating was replaced by Elizabeth Harrod in the event. We were also lucky enough to have Lauren Cuthbertson as the Rose Fairy! I find it actually a little bit of a shame that Marianela and Thiago's 2 performances were on Boxing Day and New Year's Eve as a lot of regulars probably can't attend on those dates and their performance was really outstanding. But luckily I could go last night, so I shouldn't complain!

In Act I, the children danced and acted really well, a lot of confidence and spark. They were also incredibly together in ensemble, which was more than could be said for some of the Company... James Hay was also a very sweet partner for Clara, really making the most of the part. After hearing Ursula Hageli and Nathalie Harrison speak about the absolute necessity for soft shoes in the Snowflakes scene at the Swan Lake Insight Evening in October, I was watching - and listening, and those shoes must have been really soft because their landings were really quiet! The whole scene was performed exquisitely, both by the corps and the lead couple. Also outstanding in Act I were the dolls - Jonathan Howells, Caroline Duprot as Harlequin and Columbine and Jose Martin and Samantha Raine as the soldier and the Vivandiere, especially Jose Martin as a very virtuoso soldier!!!

It was great to see Steve McRae back on stage after such a long time and he is looking almost back to his best. His Hans-Peter is very much the young boy, more Clara's contemporary than some others who perform the part, and I liked that. I also liked very much Elizabeth Harrod's Clara - it's not a showy or overly confident reading, but she characterizes really nicely Clara as a slightly shy young girl. Her dancing was very pretty, nice and neat and lyrical. In my opinion, she suits the role really well, and it's nice to see young dancers getting a chance in this role as well as the experienced and accomplished dancers like Iohna Loots and Caroline Duprot.

The divertissements were, on the whole, a little disappointing. There was some quite 'new' casting and in particular the Chinese Dance looked a bit messy. The Rose Fairy's escorts were also not so together in their landings, which was really a shame, because it's those kind of things which can make a performance outstanding instead of very good.

Lauren Cuthbertson started off really well as the Rose Fairy, showing great grace and charm as well as great technique. Unfortunately she fell halfway through and although she continued well, she seemed to lose her confidence until the Finale, when she came back strong. I actually was afraid she could have injured herself - she seemed to slip on a simple run on demi-pointe and fell right over, and her ankle twisted quite badly. But she seemed to be ok, luckily!

Marianela and Thiago performed a dazzling grand pas de deux - Marianela with such warmth and flexibility and Thiago partnered her perfectly, as ever. Watching this really showed once again how much Marianela's extension has improved, even since a year ago, but she hasn't sacrificed good taste at it's expense. She is very warm and gracious in this role, which not every dancer can achieve. Thiago was a little anonymous, unusually for him, but think the sparkling hat which the Prince has to wear doesn't entirely help, because it doesn't really suit him... However, he performed a really excellent solo, on top of all the technique and with a very dashing manner. On the coda, both shone, especially Marianela's gorgeous multiple pirouette before the traveling fouettes. I can't imagine she can make the pirouettes look so slow, but she even slowed down on the final rotation!!

It was a really enjoyable performance, even though I am not a huge fan of this ballet and some great performances not only by the principals but also by McRae and Elizabeth Harrod. It might have been a night for tripping though, as on the curtain calls Marianela almost went flying into the orchestra pit! (ok, I exaggerate a bit!) All that fake snow and glitter looks great, but maybe too much of it on the floor is not a good thing...?


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Mijosh

02-01-09, 09:53 AM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Nutcracker 31 December matinee"
In response to message #23
 
   Let's face it,with the whole world in,as Joxer Daly says in Juno & the Paycock,"a state of chassis",what better antidote to gloom and despondency is there than Marianela's smile?The sheer joy she brings to the stage could,one feels bring peace to the world.


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Carmela

10-01-09, 08:36 PM (GMT)
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25. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #24
 
   The last day of Royal Ballet Nutcrackers!

Today's matinee performance was generally a really good one: the corps de ballet dancing and the children were excellent as ever, and the divertissements today were better than those in some of the other performances I saw (and a lot of them were actually cast the same). Also, Gillian Revie and David Pickering were really charming and convincing as the Stahlbaums. James Hay again was noticeable as Clara's partner. He is a very distinctive young dancer with great elevation and nice stage presence and acting ability; hope to see more from him!

Steve McRae as the nutcracker/Hans Peter today was even better than the performance I saw on 31st. His elevation was much improved (and it was already good the last time!) and he seems to be quickly getting back to his best which is fantastic to see!

I'm not sure that Iohna Loots' quite mature Clara is the best partner for him, because he appears quite young as Hans Peter but their pas de deux was technically very high level and really secure, more than any of the others I saw this year. Iohna Loots is technically great as Clara and her lines and footwork especially are beautiful, but personally I think she appears a little too grown up for the role - not so much in appearance but in gestures, facial expressions...she does not really convince as the young, wonder-struck Clara who could fall in love with the toy nutcracker.

Also was interesting to see Kristen McNally as the Grandmother, she seems to be creating quite a place for herself in these character roles and is really convincing and assured in them, especially considering how young she is! Yuhui Choe danced a very pretty Columbine; I was also impressed with Helen Crawford as the Vivandiere. She danced with great attack and I was amazed by her fouettes, which were so strong and fast...maybe she was pushing it a little too much because on the last fouette she came off balance and put her hands down, but still, it was impressive dancing until that.

Laura Morera danced very well as the Rose Fairy, although I would prefer slightly less staccato articulation. Also Laura McCulloch incorporated some interesting gesture into the Arabian dance and made it a little more interesting than it sometimes can be.

Finally, the grand pas de deux: Alexandra Ansanelli was replacing Marianela Nunez, and although she and Rupert Pennefather have not danced this together before (I think?) they danced the intro and adagio really well. Pennefather was superb as the Prince, these kind of roles which have so much emphasis on elegance and technique suit him really well, and he seems to have more confidence on stage than in the past. I don't think this role is a natural one for Ansanelli, but she actually danced really well. It was really a shame that they missed the last pose - I think it should be a fish dive, although sometimes they perform a shoulder lift, but AA seemed to be going for the fish dive. Anyway, one or other of them was not ready I think and unfortunately there was no ending, which was a shame! But considering they must have had pretty limited time to prepare together, it was a very good performance overall.

I didn't attend the evening performance, but the matinee in general it was a great end to what seems to have been a great run of Nutcrackers. Now, for next year can we have have Cinderella?

(One final thing: I know the RB have a lot of cast changes to keep on top of at the moment but both for this performance and 31st eve, Bethany Keating was listed as Clara on the website and another dancer performed, with no mention why Bethany was replaced, or even THAT she was replaced. It's a great improvement to have the Claras/Hans-Peters/Drosselmeyers listed, but shouldn't it be accurate if it is? Also it is a shame that the Nunez cast change was announced so late when that had definitely been known for a few days, which I know as a fact. Anyway, I'll quit complaining now!!!)


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annamk

12-01-09, 09:28 AM (GMT)
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26. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #25
 
   I agree with your comments here Carmela. It is great to see Steven back again dancing and partnering so confidently and so securely.His sharp, quick feet and his musicality have made him one of my favourite dancers. Your point about Iohna is spot on, nothing wrong with her dancing just that there is something in her facial expression which makes her seem to old to be convincing as Clara.


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Diandri

12-01-09, 12:07 PM (GMT)
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27. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #25
 
   I saw the Saturday matinee as well & enjoyed the performances. As others have noted Yuhui Choe & Helen Crawford stood out in the act 1 party scene in the doll variations for the high quality of their dancing. It was lovely to see Steven McRae back again after such a long injury lay-off & his technique looks as good as ever even if he looks a bit more muscular than before. I especially liked his mime section in act 2 which was crystal clear & he seems to have toned down the attention seeking aspect of his dancing that occasionally marred some of his performances.

I was gutted not to have seen Marianela as the SPF as I really wanted to see her (I missed all her other dates as I was away over xmas). Ansanelli is not a favourite dancer of mine in the classics & I found her account of the pdd OK, but nothing special. There's no doubt she can manage the technical challenges, but she doesn't seem interested in mining the sylistic potential that it offers or even reaching the grandeur that the music offers (I must mention Koen Kessels in the pit who conducted up an irresistible storm of music). Something did go wrong at the end of the coda which was a shame as it was almost on the last beat of piece & left the pair without a suitably climatic moment.

Responsibility in part for the fluff surely must go to Rupert Pennefather who had a detached & somewhat thunderous expression fixed on his face for the duration of the duet. There was minimal eye contact between the two & he did not look a happy bunny to be paired with her. There's no doubt that he has a grand danseur noble aura about him & his dancing & can do plenty of tricks & dance beautifully & in his solos this is apparent, but the pairwork was far from satisfying.

Even when its not a 5* show there is much to be enjoyed in Peter Wright's production & I'd be happy to sit through it 2 or 3 times every xmas for the next 10 years at least!!


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EricMontreal22

13-01-09, 06:05 AM (GMT)
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28. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #27
 
   This production has always confused me. I admit I either like my Nutcracker super traditional, or else something "out there" like Matt Bourne's--the Baryshnikov and especially Freudian Nureyev versions strike me as silly and unecesary. I know a lot of ballet peopl ehave trouble with the stroy and the structure--wanting the ballerina to do more, etc but I think it off balances the music and doesn't work.

Anyway I've only seen the Royal production thanks to the two filmed productions--the first from the early 90s I think with Dowell, and then a much more recent one. Even from the start I don't quite get what the intention was--Wright worked hard with Wilby, the author on the exhaustive book about the original productions of Tchaikovsky's ballets--to return to a lot of what was left of the original Ivanov choreography. Yet he still had troubles with the stories so changed certain parts (ie Droselmeyer's nephew or whatever being the Nutcracker). It seemed an odd compromise. But from what I can tell of the newer filmed version he's gone and changed it MORE from the original now having Clara and all interrupt a lot more of Act II and I really don't understand why.

Also the original grand Pas De Deux used that iconic moment (which we have pictures of in the 1892 version) where the Cavalier pulls the SugarPlum Fairy en pointe on a scarf. The DVD of the newer production dropped that--has it been lost? I knwo it's a small detail but I LOVED that they brought that back...


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ian_palmermoderator

13-01-09, 12:49 PM (GMT)
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29. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #28
 
   LAST EDITED ON 13-01-09 AT 12:50 PM (GMT)
 
I think Sir Peter's decision to adopt the Nephew/Nutcracker narrative has a basis in the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story.

I too loved the scarf moment (and remember it from childhood visits to the RB), but I would imagine it was removed, with much sense relief from the RB dancers.


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EricMontreal22

13-01-09, 01:25 PM (GMT)
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30. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #29
 
   You're right--it is from the Hoffmann. It also makes the story more interesting I grudgingly admit,and as originally done in the production didn't really change too much from the original production. It seems odd though since the original wanted a return to Ivanov's choreography to slowly add more and more different new parts particularly in Act II over time. Maybe Wright's ideas have changed. (the original ballet was actually based on a popular simplified version of Hoffmann's story by Alexander Dumas fils which is why so much is missing from Hoffmann)

I'm glad someone else loved the scarf moment--it was unique and beautiful I think and it's a shame it's been lost, although as you say I'm sure it relieves the dancers (apparantly it wasn't even used too long after Antoinetta Dell-Era stopped dancing the Sugar Plum in the original production). Still it was unique, of current productions, to the Royal Ballet as far as I know.


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Beryl H

13-01-09, 03:14 PM (GMT)
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31. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #30
 
  
>I'm glad someone else loved the scarf moment--it was unique
>and beautiful I think and it's a shame it's been lost,
>although as you say I'm sure it relieves the dancers
>(apparantly it wasn't even used too long after Antoinetta
>Dell-Era stopped dancing the Sugar Plum in the original
>production). Still it was unique, of current productions,
>to the Royal Ballet as far as I know.

SPBT have an even more complicated movement in their current Nutcracker which I saw recently, it's in the snow scene but in an extra pas de deux to lovely Tchaikovsky music from Snow Maiden I think, the corps de ballet enter with a large scarf, more like a curtain, and she stands on it, he gathers up one end, and has to drag it across the stage, hard work I imagine, this obviously is a tradition still in Russia. Also the very modern Kirov Nutcracker available on DVD has the more usual fragile scarf moment, that surprised me.



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JohnM

13-01-09, 05:10 PM (GMT)
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32. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #30
 
   > it was unique, of current productions, to the Royal Ballet
> as far as I know

Except that the Balanchine retains it, minus scarf.


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Beryl H

13-01-09, 05:52 PM (GMT)
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33. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #32
 
   >> it was unique, of current productions, to the Royal Ballet
>> as far as I know
>
>Except that the Balanchine retains it, minus scarf.

Sorry, I think I got confused, it probably was Balanchine's and not the new Kirov's, I watched so many Nutcrackers on DVD recently.


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ian_palmermoderator

13-01-09, 06:41 PM (GMT)
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34. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #33
 
   LAST EDITED ON 13-01-09 AT 06:42 PM (GMT)
 
But surely the scarf is the key thing? Without it, it's hardly the same moment!

Beryl - is the moment you describe in the Vassily Vainonen version, which I seem to think the SPBT dance?


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EricMontreal22

14-01-09, 01:15 AM (GMT)
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35. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #34
 
   LAST EDITED ON 15-01-09 AT 05:38 PM (GMT) by Bruce (admin)
 
Balanchine uses a moving piece in the floor doesn't he? That's how one critic described it (Arlene Croce way back in the 60s). Still it's obviously the same idea--I assume his Grand Pas De Deux is very close to Ivanov's--is the Sugar Plum Fairy variation back in its proper spot?

But I'm with Ian here--part of the magic of the moment is that silly scarf lol. Yeah it's a small detail and I really am nitpicking but with these classic ballets, the small details add up to a lot. Here's the pas de deux with the scarf--probably the most faithful to the original 1890s pas de deux we've ever gotten and I think it's absolutely gorgeous (even with those *hideous* pink sugar wigs) http://www.youtube.com/ {LINK REMOVED} (with Anthony Dowell and Lesley Collier--the scarf moment's in the last minute). Admittedly besides the scarf the Pas de Deux hasn't changed too much at the Royal...

(Did I also mention I also miss Mother Ginger and her children on the Royal stage? I admit that was probably the highlight of the ballet when I was a 6 year old seeing our local production although I get why lots of adult balletomanes probably despair at it--and Mother Ginger looks much more at home when the Kingdom of Sweets is made out of primary colours--not the sophisticated and slightly odd pink and beige palette of the Royal where she'd look like she came from another dimension or a neighbouring pantomime John Lanchberry in the 80s discovered and orchestrated an English Gigue Tchaikovsky did for the divertisements and it's absolutely charming--and fast--although I have no idea what candy or food it would represent. It's too bad, with Ginger cut, the Royal didn't think to maybe include this?)

I love the Kirov but I'm never quite sure what I think of the Vainonen version at least on tv. I don't remember the Snow Maiden bit though though it sounds lovely, I admit. It's interesting that it's become one of the Kirov's longest lasting productions--although I know they also have a very modern Nutcracker now too (which I think Beryl is also refering to). I admit the tradtionalist in me would love to see a complete Sleeping Beauty style reconstruction fo Nutcracker even though I believe the notations are less complete (partly because Act I is so much mime) and it's not as important a ballet in its original production--a production that wasn't even much liked--so maybe it doesn't warrant that. Still the bits of original Ivanov choreography we get (mainly the snow scene and the Grand Pas de Deux) are wonderful.

Edit: I've just removed the Youtube link. Afraid to say we are against seeing stolen material linked to and unless it is absolutely clear that the YouTube video you want to link to is there by agreement with the copyright owners etc then we ask you don't link. Many thanks. BM


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wulff

14-01-09, 12:58 PM (GMT)
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37. "RE: Nutcracker 10 December matinee"
In response to message #35
 
   The character referred to as "Mother Ginger" actually has nothing to do with ginger at all, but I suppose she was given that name by producers to make her better fit in with the other comestibles in the Kingdom Of Sweets. The name given to her in the original score and scenario is "La Mère Gigogne" who is a sort of French equivalent of the "Old Woman who lived in a Shoe" with her numerous children. In the music he wrote for her Tchaikowsky incorporated the old French children's song "Cadet Rousselle" which I remeber learning at school. No notation survives of her dance.

As for reconstructing "Nutcracker", the best preserved portions of notation are the watzes for the Snowflakes and the Flowers. A lot else is incomplete, in ground plan only, or missing - the male variation in the Grand Pas for example - although the use of a "reika" (a small travelling platform) is asked for at the end of the adagio of the Grand Pas to provide the scarf effect.

Quite how much of the existing notation Peter Wright used for his Covent Garden production, I don't know, although I suspect it was largely the Snowflakes Waltz. Even the Grand Pas which is generally regarded as "original" seems to differ in many respects from the descriptions in Professor Wiley's book and I suspect has been modified in many respects over the years both in Russia and the West.

Nevertheless, I personally like the current RB production very much. The "period" atmosphere provided by Julia Trevelyan Oman's Biedemeier-inspired designs - and she was nothing if not a stickler for historical detail and accuracy - I find very appealing; even the cake which appears in act I and provides the decor for act II, is based on German confectioner's designs for sugarwork of the period. Moreover, the linking of Hans-Peter and the Nutcracker Prince is far closer to the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story. While I don't mind the involvement of Clara and Hans-Peter in the act II diverts - it must be be boring just to sit on thrones and watch all that dancing! - I do think that it was a pity to incorporate them so much into the Snowflakes waltz since it distracts from the overall choreographic pattern of what must be one of the finest surviving examples of 19th century choreography for the Corps de Ballet.

Another item which I find off-putting in the Covent Garden production is the geriatric doddering to which we are treated in the "Grandfather Dance" in act I. Despite its title this traditional German dance did not necessarily require the participation of old people. The "Grossvatertanz", for which Tchaikowsky uses the original melody which dates back to the 17th century or earlier, used to be danced at weddings and was traditionally the last dance of the evening at parties in Germany; which is why Mr Stahlbaum pulls out his watch, looks at the clock, and decides to bring the proceedings to a close.


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alison

14-01-09, 12:58 PM (GMT)
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36. "The scarf"
In response to message #33
 
   I've seen it somewhere relatively recently - was it the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre (Konstantin T's one) production?


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Beryl H

14-01-09, 03:15 PM (GMT)
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38. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #36
 
   Yes, the snow scene, where the scarf episode has been moved to, is the Konstantin Tachkin production, with choreography by Vasily Vainonen.


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Michael LL

15-01-09, 01:25 PM (GMT)
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39. "Jan 10 etc"
In response to message #38
 
   When the current RB production was new, I remember much was said about the use of the scarf, but it always seemed clumsy (see the recording) and was dropped after the first run.

The Grandfather Dance was changed to match the BRB version, when the RB remounted the production after ROH rebuilding. As can be seen from the 1984 recording it was originally much better. I still remember Leslie Edwards' Captain bowing with a great flourish to Gerd Larsens' Dancing teacher. This moment now gets lost in the crowd.

I was at the last performance on Jan 10th. Roberta Marquez was an excellent Sugar Plum, with superb footwork, and Johan Kobborg was elegance personified. The lifts in the Grand Pas were spectacular.

For me the star was Emma Maguire, who was enchanting as Clara. Just the right age, with natural charm and grace, and a strong stage presence. Brian Maloney, of the film star looks, was also outstanding as the Nutcracker.

A word too for a lovely Rose Fairy from Laura McCulloch.

The Royal Ballet Sinfonia played wonderfully under the baton of Koen Kessels, who clearly relishes the score.


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EricMontreal22

15-01-09, 02:04 PM (GMT)
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40. "RE: Jan 10 etc"
In response to message #39
 
   LAST EDITED ON 15-01-09 AT 02:05 PM (GMT)
 
I think my post about Mere Gignon and the scarf was deleted because I foolishly posted a youtube clip to the scarf scene. Lesson learned. But I still think it was a lovely moment that never *looked* awkward, anyway.

The talk of the Rose Fairy brings up another question--if that's the original choreography does that mean the Rose Fairy was in the 1890s production? I always assumed she, like how many productions have a snow couple, was added later.

Wulff do you know which numbers Wright claimed *were* based on the original choreography?


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Bruceadmin

16-01-09, 06:10 AM (GMT)
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44. "RE: Jan 10 etc"
In response to message #40
 
   >I think my post about Mere Gignon and the scarf was deleted
>because I foolishly posted a youtube clip to the scarf
>scene.

I am not aware of any post being deleted.

I have edited posts to delete YouTube links within them (as can be seen elswhere on this thread) but no more than that. What happened I don't know, but occasionaly I've found myself thinking a preview was a fully committed post... Anyway nothing has been deleted to my knowledge.


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Kevin Ngmoderator

15-01-09, 03:28 PM (GMT)
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41. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #38
 
   >Yes, the snow scene, where the scarf episode has been moved
>to, is the Konstantin Tachkin production, with choreography
>by Vasily Vainonen.

No, that snow scene's choreography in that St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre production was by Efremova, a former ballet mistress of the company, instead of by Vainonen.


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EricMontreal22

16-01-09, 01:47 AM (GMT)
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42. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #41
 
   Thanks Kevin--your knowledge of the various St Petersburg productions astounds me.

Wulff, some of what I wrote in my deleted post was a reply to yours. I have to say I loved the detail in your post--they're the kinds of questions and details I've been a bit obsessed with getting about the old Russian ballets since I was literally a kid I was making my way through Wiley's book on Tchaikovsky's ballets when I was about ten--it was just an awesome find for me giving in detail so much about the original productions I had only read conflicting reports on before then). Still, even in that book it's Nutcracker where you get the less clear details--I guess partly because it was never as successful in Russia as Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake (although I had read in other books that it was a disaster and was never performed again--patently untrue as you know).

The fact that Wright's Royal Ballet production when it premiered made so many claims to be so close to the original (something I don't think they really press anymore) when it so clearly wasn't in many ways always kinda confused me.

About Mere Gignon--I did know a bit of her history--I grew up in french immersion schools so even as a kid recognized the song in her piece (I guess Nutcracker has a number of folk tunes used but that's the only one I knew). From the one picture I've seen of the original she didn't seem to be the large hoop skirted figure we have now, but something much closer to the Ogre in the Sleeping Beauty Hop O' My thumb divertisement--I remember some kids could come out from under her dress or her pockets but the start of the huge Mother Ginger tradition must have been Balanchine's (or San Fran Ballet? I don't think any of the Russian productions use the divertisement anymore). Still I always find those often deleted simple numbers (liek the Hop o' My Thumb one in Beauty) absolutely charming and wish they'd be included--and as a kid watching local Nutcrackers I can admit it was a favorite. (Where do the angels at the start of Act II come from anyway? were they in the Ivanov?)

I was a bit harsh about the costumes and sets in my earlier post--I absolutely LOVE the costumes and sets for Act I. Act II is more my problem but I suspect it comes from only watching both DVDs of the production and not seeing it live. the cream/pink mix and the fact the costumes are of the same colour means it doesn't photograph very well for TV with everything kinda blending together.

Anyway I'd love to know more what Ivanov choreography is left--I know Balanchine claimed his Russian Dance was the one he learned in the Imperial Ballet (where he also claimed it was danced by candy canes). I haven't read Wiley's other two ballet books--the one on Russian ballet in general and the one on Lev Ivanov which probably give more details--they're hard to find and even online used to come cheap but I'll check them out eventually I'm sure.


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Bruceadmin

16-01-09, 06:05 AM (GMT)
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43. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #42
 
   >Thanks Kevin--your knowledge of the various St Petersburg
>productions astounds me.
>
>Wulff, some of what I wrote in my deleted post was a reply
>to yours.

I am not aware of any post being deleted.


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EricMontreal22

16-01-09, 02:43 PM (GMT)
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45. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #43
 
   Sorry Bruce--I don't mean to sound acusatory at all! I'm new here and so still finding my footing and have to be careful how I come off. I did a long post that I thought was posted--and then the next day I didn't see it. Since when I go to this page on either of my computers it shows a post 36 and a post 38 and my post shoulda been right around 37--I assumed it was deleted somehow. No matter--I've said most of my relevant thoughts in the other post--and I'll be more careful about checking the preview feature, etc (and not linking to youtube )

E


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Essex Girl

16-01-09, 03:29 PM (GMT)
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46. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #45
 
   The scarf episode is pure Ivanov as there is a photograph of Varvara Nikitina and Pavel Gerdt dated 1892 with Nikitina standing on the scarf in the book 'Era of the Russian Ballet' by Natalia Roslavleva (1966). If anyone has a copy and wants to check it's opposite page 120.


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alison

16-01-09, 05:16 PM (GMT)
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47. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #45
 
   Eric, there's a long post 35 which is by you - is that the one you mean? (go up to the top and click on the direct link). You may have got confused, as others have before you, by the fact that Ballet.co's software - unusually, it seems, these days - supports thread branching, and therefore your replies to someone else's comments don't necessarily end up in numerical order at the bottom of the page


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EricMontreal22

17-01-09, 03:24 AM (GMT)
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50. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #47
 
   Bruce and Alison, thanks so much for pointing out my mistake with so much patience *blush* I think I'm getting the hang of this, but I appreciate all your patience and pointing things out.


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Bruceadmin

16-01-09, 08:05 PM (GMT)
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48. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #45
 
   >Sorry Bruce--I don't mean to sound acusatory at all! I'm
>new here and so still finding my footing and have to be
>careful how I come off. I did a long post that I thought
>was posted--and then the next day I didn't see it. Since
>when I go to this page on either of my computers it shows a
>post 36 and a post 38 and my post shoulda been right around
>37--I assumed it was deleted somehow.

Hi Eric - takes a time to become familiar with a board - no hassle. When I moderate I try and be clear and concise if I can!

Alison makes some comments in post #47 which may be helpful and mentions about our forum software being different to some others you might find. It's threaded, which allows sub-conversations to be clumped together but also means that posts are not (necessarily) all arranged in sequential ascending order. From what you say its like you expected Post 37 to be between posts 36 and 38 and that does not follow in a board like this. There is in fact a Post 37 (by wulff), so that explanation for you not seeing what you thought you had posted is not correct. I've also checked and no post is missing from the 47 contributions made to date. It might be, as Alison says, that Post #35 is your 'missing' post? Or as I suggested it it was a preview which was not committed.

To get a handle on where posts are in a thread I use the 'map' of contributions to a thread which you can see immediately under the first, starter, posting. If you look at the thread number - or ID - (the last column) you will see that contributions to the thread can be dotted around with the latest contribution sometimes being right in the middle of the thread. Some people intuitively get threaded contributions and why they are useful, and some people don't like them, or even understand them, and just want a system where newest contributions are always at the end. If we were starting again I'm not sure which way we would jump, but I'm not(!), so threads is it at the moment... and I suppose has seen us through 100,000 postings or thereabouts.

Anyway hope some of this helps explain postings and why post 37 is not actually missing!


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ismeneb

17-01-09, 00:57 AM (GMT)
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49. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #48
 
   LAST EDITED ON 17-01-09 AT 01:16 AM (GMT)
 
I interviewed Peter Wright about his two Nutcracker productions for the RB and BRB in Dec 2000: here is his original commentary unedited, which covers the original choreography and the scarf questions. For clarity, he talks of the Covent Garden one as if it were two, the original 1984 one, and his revision of it in 1999, which you see on the DVD. The BRB one is quite different as he makes clear. It's long, but I think it's justified in quoting in full.

ALL THE FOLLOWING QUOTED FROM PW (my questions/notes/elisions in brackets)

The original scenario which Ivanov did was rather unsatisfactorily constructed, like two separate ballets almost, with hardly any link. And I was longing to work out a way to make it a complete entity. Which I did really first of all through referring back to the Hoffmann story, Nutcracker and the Mouse King - and based the Covent Garden production very much on that one. And then with a lot of research I did, with the help of Professor Roland John Wiley, I evolved this one (the revision). I think it worked, and I was very pleased when it came back last year, 15 years on, to have another look at it.

When I first did it, though, I was very much... I can’t say, bogged down, but I did want to get it as authentically correct as I could, with all my research, the Snowflakes and everything. I wanted to use everything in existence, if I could. And I did, not always totally successfully - everyone was full of praise for the Snowflakes which I based on the floor pattern in the Stepanov notations. But actually I had to change it so much to do it for 24 dancers instead of 61 dancers as they had in St Petersburg. I don’t know how they had 61, such an odd number. But it’s written clearly on some of the notes. And it was all just patterns, no steps at all, just balancés, endless balancés. Their calves must have been agony by the end of it. It was formation dancing, in a way, something to be seen from high up so you could see the patterns. There’s a lot of that original stuff in it now, though it isn’t as it was. But what I did definitely want to do was to involve Clara and the nephew much more. And so I’ve changed it so that they actually dance much much more.

So the approach of my first one (RB) was to be true to the original creation as far as I could be; but when I got to Birmingham I was on such a high with the move to Birmingham, having successfully got everyone up there, that I wanted to free myself from everything that had gone before, in a way, and so I completely redid the Snow Scene and I changed Drosselmeyer’s character.(...)

There’s very little of the original Nutcracker remaining (in the RB production). (What is there?) The grand pas de deux. (And Sugar Plum Fairy solo?) Yes, with a few modifications that Margot showed me, which Karsavina had showed her. Only small things. Karsavina coached Margot years and years ago, just little little things. And then also in the solo I’ve put back the proper ending, which is usually cut, the manege around the stage, which I put back.
I’m not too sure about the man’s variation, where that’s really come from.
The Chinese dance is very much based on what Sergeyev taught the Sadler's Wells Ballet before the war.
Harlequin and Columbine in the Covent Garden one was taught, I got Joy Newton to teach that, because she remembered it from the old Sadler’s Wells production, so that was also what Sergeyev taught them.

(So in total about 10 minutes out of the 80 or so?) At most. Now the PATTERNS of the Snowflakes are original, but I juggled around with them. I can’t say more than that.(...)

From the description of the original, the second act must have been quite fantastic, a real spectacle. A showpiece, bearing little relation to the story. (So there’s no point in trying to return to that first version?) No, thank you very much. And I don’t know what there is of it in the Stepanov notation anyway. Professor Wiley was only able to come up with the Snowflakes patterns for me. Which I found fascinating to do. But one must remember that in those days the corps de ballet were probably very limited in their capabilities, and with 60 girls on stage it would have been very very simple. Like the Kirov (reconstructed) Sleeping Beauty which I found very interesting, but the original Garland Dance, quite frankly, was boring; because you just had lots and lots of couples all doing the same thing, and the children doing the same thing. And I think our eyes are used to a bit more nowadays, and one has to move along a bit with the times, I think. I couldn't any more have the Snowflakes doing nothing but balancés for ever - it’s a long piece.

(What about the Waltz of the Flowers? That’s another major musical number.) There’s some of that about. Which I used, and which Pamela May helped me when I first did it at Covent Garden. And I remember being in a production at Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet, which Frederick Ashton did, which was just the Snowflakes scene and Act 2, which we toured America with in 1952. That was based on what Sergeyev brought from Russia, and some of the version I did here was based quite a lot on that. But I found that (Valse des Fleurs) unsatisfactory, and so I changed it. For me personally, I find again it’s a long piece of music, and one needs quite a bit of change going on. In the original it was all rather on one level.
I think one can overdo this thing of authenticity. I mean, who would ever dream of changing the Rose Adage of Sleeping Beauty? But one must remember that Nutcracker didn’t have Petipa's stamp on it, it was Ivanov who choreographed it, who also did Swan Lake, the most beautiful choreography and very unrecognised for what he did. But it shows very much, I think, in that old Valse des Fleurs, which I used from the Theatre Ballet, as much as I could, that it didn’t have the stamp of a master.

(There’s a device you used in the Covent Garden version which imitates something the Balanchine one does in the SPF pas de deux, when she poises herself on the cavalier’s cloak. Balanchine does it with a little wheeled trolley, like a skateboard, which I think looks ghastly.) Oh. I wish I’d managed to make that work better. I nearly got it to work here, nearly. The Prince puts down a piece of beautiful cloth and she steps onto it, and he pulls her along which she balances in arabesque.

(But it’s not possible, surely?) I don’t think it would be possible for any ballerina to balance in arabesque unsupported and be pulled along. We tried it in several ways here, and it did work if she wasn’t in arabesque and was in fifth position - but even that was so awkward. Because it was done so that a section of the stage could be slid from the side of the stage, but she’d be poised and then suddenly there’s that awful moment when it starts sliding and you are absolutely bound to lose your balance. In the pictures of the original Nutcracker she’s standing on the cloak. I remember seeing the International Ballet, Mona Inglesby’s company, which Sergeyev also put on Sleeping Beauty for them, and they too used this rose thing, which she stepped into, balanced, and it travelled. But Mona.... (laughs) she was a beast really, because she wouldn’t allow anyone else to do this. Claudie Algeranov, who was a brilliant dancer, had to balance without anything. Anyway I imagine that all those awful things, like trundling Aurora on in the shell with her asleep and everything, was done because they hadn’t any other way to do it.
END QUOTES
Ismene Brown


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EricMontreal22

17-01-09, 03:45 AM (GMT)
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51. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #49
 
   Thank you SOOO much--that answers so much and was a fascinating read!

Wright is justified in all his decisions of course though--and this may be my "tradtionalist" bias coming in--I disagree on some things. I LOVE the simplicity of the reconstructed Garland Waltz in Sleeping Beauty and how it just goes ona nd on from thos esimple movements--I think that's part of its power for me. I didn't realize there were 61 Snow Dancers in Russia--surely not on stage all at once (the Maryinsky is a huge stage but I know that when Bayadere moved there from the old St Petersburg Bolshoi where it premiered they cut the dancers back to 32 from I think 48 because they wouldn't all fit). The critics at the time priased the dance but said it WAS all about the patterns--people would move to the upper stalls just for that number.

In the filmed Royal Ballet 80s performance I believe the scarf number is done not en arabesque but with both feet en pointe--I guess this was easier. I know others on here say it looks clumsy and that seemed to be Wright's belief but I don't agree--on the DVD anyway I like it.

And the pedant in me has to point out the original scenario was NOT Ivanov's but was Petipa's (with Vsevelohsky?)--Petipa was to do the ballet as we know and he was the one who sent the very detailed instructions for the music to Tchaikovsky, so he deserves the blame Still as Raymonda and even Sleeping Beauty show it wasn't unusual to have a ballet with ALL the story in Act I and virtually none in the final act--Nutcracker, as it was a double bill with Tchaikovsky's opera Iolanthe, just happened to seem maybe even more frivolous cuz it only had 2 acts lol.

So it sounds like the old Royal Ballet performance--thankfully filmed had a lot of the original choreography--or the Sergeyev reconstruction--in it but the new has much less. Interesting...

Thanks again for posting such a great interview!


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Bruceadmin

17-01-09, 06:15 AM (GMT)
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52. "RE: The scarf"
In response to message #49
 
  
Wonderful Ismene - thank you.

And wonderful that we have had Peter Wright do his classcial productions over the years and all the thought that goes into them both trying to respect the past and unlock the story for new audiances today. A very class act.


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