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  1. As I have not dared to travel to Amsterdam or even London since the start of this pandemic, I have had to make do with live streaming. Today I watched the Dutch National Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. This is the first i have watched it. The reason I had not seen it before is that I had assumed that it would be very much like English National Ballet's. I quite like Eagling's version for ENB but not as much as some of the company's previous productions and certainly not as much as Sir Peter Wright's for the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet or Peter Darrell's for Scottish Ballet. I enjoyed this very much more than ENB's and I think that is because of Toer van Schayk's designs and the very straightforward story. I hope to see it on stage once this pandemic is over. I shall write a full review for Terpsichore as soon as I receive a cast list and photos from the company but here are some of the ballet's features. As in the Royal Ballet's production there is a prologue but in the Dutch version it shows Hans and Clara getting ready for their parents' Christmas party. Hans is making a thorough nuisance of himself splashing water about and annoying his sister and nurse. There is then a party in which Drosselmeyer distributes his presents to the kids including a Nutcracker to Clara, The Nutcracker actually walks and is the most ingenious nutcrackers I have ever seen. More like a robot than a toy. No wonder Hans takes an interest in it. When his sister is not looking he grabs it. Clara tries to grab it back with the usual consequences. The ballet is called "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" and there is a reason for that, The rodent plays quite a big role in this ballet. He is part of the entertainment at the party. He and his fellow rodents fight the toy soldiers and he also shows up for a duel with the Nutcracker in Act II. He is even in the start of the snowflakes divertissement which is beautifully staged and beautifully danced. That scene ends with Clara, Drosselmeyer and the Nutcracker taking a selfie. Van Schayk's set for Act II is fascinating. It seems to centre around a circular feature which seems to represent a cat's eye in one scene and a black hole in another One way or another the mouse disappears down it and the Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian dances follow. The Arabian dance seemed to be something out of Le Corsaire. Men were being led about in chains. The mirleton divertissement was also very different. It seemed to be set in ancient Greece and vaguely reminded me of L'Apres Midi d'un Faune and Papageno and Papagena from the Magic Flute but I can't think why. Today the leading roles were danced by Maia Makhateli, Jakob Feyferlik and Edo Wijnen. There will be another live streaming on Christmas eve at 13:00 our time with Anna Tsygankova, Constantine Allen and James Stout. It will set you back 12.50 euro which is less other leading companies charge for video streamings. I had a reviewer's ticket but I would gladly have paid to see the show. I see that this website is celebrating its 10th anniversary. I joined it in December 2013 so I suppose I am no rather an enfant terrible. Maybe a veillard terrible. Merry Christmas all.
  2. This opened last night at the London Coliseum. All comments and discussion here, please. Starter for ten: I was there last night and was singularly unimpressed. I never went back after the first time it was shown here because I didn't like it, and now I remember why. I will write a proper review tomorrow so will hold back further comment until then.
  3. I cannot find another thread for this but wondered if they have announced Nutcracker casting yet for the London Coli season. The website is a bit frustrating as you can go into Nutcracker but it wants to take you straight to the booking at the Coli and I would like to see casting first if possible for the days I can go. Have I missed a trick from their website? Or perhaps too soon for casting announcements for December etc? Many thanks anyone with any more info
  4. I was at the opening night of ENB's lovely Nutcracker by Wayne Eagling. I really rather like this production. The opening wintry scene with skaters in great coats is delightful and then the festivities inside the house with all the dance students is just lovely. The children were really good and a credit to Tring Park School. The "adult" role of Clara was played by Laurretta Summerscales partnered by Emilio Pavan as the Nephew and Junor Souza as the Nutcracker although they double up in parts. Best not to put too much store by that or it gets confusing! James Streeter was Herr Drosselmeyer and a fine job he made of the role too - James can do no wrong in my eyes - his magic tricks were great too! I absolutely loved the Snowflake scene at the end of Act 1 - the ballerinas kept really straight lines and the intricate patterns of them weaving in and out was just beautiful to watch, I wish they could have done an encore! The Snowflake scene alone was worth the ticket price. Of all the divertissements in Act 2 I really enjoyed the male cossack in the Russian dance - his leaps were fantastic and he barely made a sound on landing - the cast sheet is confusing as it names 2 men in that section but there was only one and I feel it was Fernando Bufala rather than Francisco Bosch who was also named? The Spanish dance was great as well and danced with great latino joie de vivre by Crystal Costa, Adela Ramirez and Vitor Menezes. The dance of the Mirlitons and the Flower Waltz were all beautiful as well, I could go on.... Laurretta was very fast in the SPF section particularly in her solo which was great. In the pdd with Emilio Pavan there was a quick succession of lifts and unfortunately the biggest of all didn't quite come off as it should - I felt that the lift in question came after too many others so it's quite understandable that it didn't quite work, overall though this was the only glitsch throughout an otherwise super show. I have not seen Emilio Pavan before and I thought he was a lovely partner to Laurretta. The orchestra played beautifully under the baton of Gavin Sutherland (although I could have done without the accompaniment of at times some loud talking and lots of rustling sweet papers etc...grrr) I noticed they had 2 harps - I almost thought the music was being amplified as it was loud but I think it was having the second harp that made it sound louder! I was delighted that ENB had a children's choir (Tring Park I think as no other credit on the cast sheet) to sing the "Ah Ahs" - that was the icing on the musical cake for me! The set and costumes are lovely and it all made for a lovely Christmassy feel. I think the Liverpool shows are pretty much a sell out which is great - I am really pleased that ENB brought Nutcracker here again as it saves a trip to London. I would definitely recommend seeing this show. A curtain call photo from last night showing Laurretta summerscales and Emilio Pavan.
  5. I wanted to open this thread to encourage comment on this run of 34 Nutcrackers. More from me about last night later.
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