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A word or two about Moscow City Ballet's Nutcracker ...

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Last night I dropped into that confusing complex that is all part and parcel of Woking's sleekly suburban shopping precinct otherwise known (in part) as the New Victoria Theatre to see Moscow City Ballet's Nutcracker.  It had (I'm delighted to report) many warming delights to offer within this austere shell.  


As ever the Director's choreography was filled with much mindful invention and the production itself offered even more imaginative colour.  The nutcracker himself and the mouse king were first rolled on as dolls controlled entirely by Drosselmeier.  As everyone left that particular Christmas party Clara fell asleep and the rest took place (including the growing tree) as her dream progressed ... all up until the final moments.  Here her doll came vividly to life as did the mouse king as much as the many riches she encountered in the land of continental sweets.  The last image you have as the curtain falls on the first act is of Drosselmeier holding her aloft in her slumber whilst the snow swishes about.  In this production Drosselmeier is in very real control of all fantasy.  He not introduces Clara to the life-like cavalier of her dreams but invites the major pas de deux of the second act, here commencing - as in many Russian productions (and Baryshnikov's for ABT) as a pas de trois.  A wonderful touch in this particular production was to give the mirliton variation to Drosselmeier as the principal.  It worked a spellbinding treat and allowed the magician to delightfully conjure up all the participants in the colourful characterful variations as part of an enchanted waltz of the flowers.  Vivid.


Certainly there was nothing cut rate about the imagination here on display.  Nothing at all.  Much of the dancing too was of a fine level.  Segei Saliev was a benevolent force as Drosselmeier; Valeriy Kravtsov thrilled as the Nutcracker Doll as well as a Spanish cohort (you can see him here in a student display http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlcnjU36luk) and Anna Ivanova was as enchanting as she was enchanted as Clara always being so vividly engaged in the music.   Talgat Kozhabayev (the son of perhaps Russia's most famous astronaut) was it was true a tad rough around certain edges as the Nutcracker Prince but there is no question but that he showed his prowess in his vivid partnering of the speedily intricate coda of the major pas.  Here was strength personified such as might delight any young girl. The manful orchestra under the baton of Igor Shavruk did their service much more mindful of Tchaikovsky than the Siberian National Ballet (a much lesser company) ever cared to be in relation to 'their' Minkus either in the pit or on the stage.


The Moscow City Ballet continues to do a fine service bringing ballet to many corners of this country that otherwise would not be able to enjoy the live experience.  In doing so they do themselves and us proud.

Edited by Meunier
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