Saturday, December 15, 2007

Culture Cat: Nutcracker

Just got back from BalletMet's production of The Nutcracker. Since I haven't seen it since junior high, I was looking forward to revisiting an old favorite. I especially love the score (but we can thank Fantasia for that!).

The cast rotates at each performance, so I can't really give a definitive appraisal, but the cast we saw was excellent. I've been attending BalletMet productions regularly (I've been a subscriber the past two years and have seen three of their four productions this year), and they are technically and artistically a very talented company. The cast also includes many of the kids from their Academy, who were unanimously charming (even if there were a few flub-ups here and there--they're kids, and they handled them very well.). My favorite groups of kids was a tie between the pages and Mother Ginger's children. All of the principles performed beautifully. The dancing was accompanied by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra who did a glorious job with Tchaichovsky's familiar score. (I love live music. Love it.)

The company splits the role of Clara into child Clara (Act I and Finale) and "grown-up" Clara (end of Act I and Act II), which is not always done. Tonight we saw Sarah Wilson and Jaime Dee play the roles, respectively. Miss Wilson did an excellent job, demonstrating great artistry and technique, and Ms. Dee was, as usual, superb. (She's one of my favorites.)

Other company standouts:
--Adam Hundt as Herr Drosselmeyer
--Jimmy Orrante as the Suger Plum Fairy's Cavalier and Herr Stahlbaum
--Emily Gotschall as Grandma Stahlbaum (hysterical)
--Bethany Manley as the Spanish Doll--she really danced like a doll. You totally believed it. Incredible.
--David Tlaiye as the Nutcracker Prince
--The Snowflakes/Flowers--awesome!
--Emily Ramirez as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Her solo and pas de deux were just wonderful.
--Jaime Kotrba and James Pierce in the pas de deux of the Arabian Dance. This can be very boring and static if not done correctly. The innovative choreography and talent of the dancers made this a highlight of the night.
--The men who made up the Dragon--very cool.
The Nutcracker runs until Dec. 23 at the Ohio Theater. You can get tickets at the link I posted above.

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