Boston, Massachusetts - Boston Ballet
A New England Nutcracker
November 28, 2003 - By Brad Maxwell
Located on New England's Atlantic Coast, Boston is one of America's oldest and most historic cities. It's streets are lined with old brick
buildings, 20th century hotels, and some of America's most historic places. Boston is known for it's cobblestone freedom trail, a harbor fit for a tea party, and
colonies of students attending the 60 universities that make this a college town. Boston's old world beauty and New England charm is the perfect place to attend an
old time Christmas from the 1800's. The Boston Ballet, celebrating it's 40th anniversary, presents "The Nutcracker" at the Wang Theatre, November 28
through December 30, led by Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Jonathan McPhee.
Boston Ballet's Nutcracker is a New England treasure, enchanting, festive, and fun while providing a spectacular Pas de Deux in both Acts I and
II. Although following most of the traditional story, Mikko Nissinen includes some creative changes and additions. Drosselmeyer makes appearances throughout
Clara's visits to the Enchanted Forest and the Palace of Sweets, acting as her guide as she journeys through her dream. To travel from the Enchanted Forest to the Palace
of Sweets, Clara and her Prince board a colorful balloon and fly away. In addition, the Palace of Sweets is actually staged as the Sugar Plum Theater with props that are
changed with each variation.
As the familiar melodies of Tchaikovsky fill the theater, we step back in time to Christmas Eve, 1830. The townspeople are dressed in festive
Victorian outfits and bustle about the village as they make their way to the party. We enter the Silberhaus home, to a grand blue room with a large oval ceiling. A
youthful Drosselmeyer arrives dressed all in purple with a long cape, looking very mysterious adorned with a patch on one eye. Drosselmeyer and his magic become the
center of attention at the party as he makes flowers appear, pulls a cake from a hat, and strings a seemingly endless ribbon from grandpa Silberhaus's mouth.
Drosselmeyer continues to please the guests presenting his Sugar Plum Theater full of lively puppets. But he saves the best for last when he presents two dancing
dolls and a very lively bear. Robert Moore, whose rich performance as the complicated Drosselmeyer, really anchors the scene.
The transition to the battle scene starts when Clara falls sleeps under the tree and dreams that she shrinks to the size of a mouse. The
stage is transformed with props that brilliantly support the effect including a giant chair and lounge. Cute bug-eyed mice battle with the brave soldiers.
The canons fire and cheese chunks fly across the stage. One mouse is hurt and carried away on a stretcher. A naive gingerbread man wanders into the middle of the
fight and winds up having his arm torn off. The scene ends when the Nutcracker Prince stabs the Mouse King and the crown is given to Clara. This is definitely one
of the liveliest battles scenes ever!
The snow scene begins as the stage transitions to a forest and Drosselmeyer presents the Snow King and Queen. On opening night
(Feb. 28) these parts were danced by the talented Larissa Ponomarenko and Nelson Madrigal performing a Pas de Duex, soon joined by the wonderful Snowflakes dancing in a snow
flurry on stage. A spectacular storm superbly done. A magical balloon then descends and picks up Clara and her prince and they fly away as Drosselmeyer flies
Act II opens as the Angels and Cherubs, all dressed in white, dance through the clouds on stage. The scene transitions to the Palace of
Sweets as the balloon descends and drops off Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. They are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier leading to a celebration and the
variations of dance. The first variation is Spanish with three dancers dressed in red and black. They are followed by the two Arabians who dance in front of a
beautiful temple. Twelve Chinese dancers take to the stage as they dance with umbrellas spinning. A really colorful effect. The Marzipan dancers are
accompanied by two shepherdesses and four sheep dancing in the background. The five Russian dancers brought the audience to cheers as the lead, Joul Prouty, performed a
string of breathtaking leaps and jumps. The beautiful and talented Dew Drop, Sarah Lamb, was joined by the Corps to dance the Waltz of Flowers, beautifully choreographed
filling the stage with dresses of yellow and peach! And we can't forget Mother Ginger, dressed in pink, with her eight little children. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her
Cavalier, Lorna Feijoo and Yury Yanowsky, rejoin us as they dance a Grand Pas de Duex, dancing beautifully together with graceful lifts and timing.
Being in old Boston and enjoying the Boston Ballet's Nutcracker is an evening that's just historic. In addition, evenings at the Nutcracker
are often shared with family and friends, leaving you feeling like you just experienced Christmas before Christmas.