Review: Russian State Ballet Of Siberia - The Nutcracker @ Saint David's Hall
The Nutcracker. The classic Christmas ballet that has charmed audiences for over a century. This has been on my list for a long time. How could you not want to see this? I'm just a big kid at heart. So, it was also to be the first time I would take my niece to a performance. She's only five, but I thought this would be a good introduction. After seeing the ballet, I think I will take her again when she is much older.
The story is simple. Marie, a young girl is given a nutcracker for Christmas. It comes alive and a great journey begins with the both of them under siege by the evil Mouse King and his minions. Characters from different countries join in from Spain, France, China, Russia and Arabia. The audience gasped as the dancer playing the Spanish dancer fell over at one point in her dance, yet gracefully carried on. The costumes for the Chinese dance were gorgeous, silk with dragon patterns and large fans to wave about.
Unfortunately, we were late for the ballet by some thirty minutes, much to my disappointment. All the commotion with Arriva Trains Wales was responsible for this. I wish to point out that not once have I been late for the start of a performance and this is the exception. I was offered to see the first act fully the next day, but with Christmas just around the corner I was too busy. I hope they do the same version next year as I would live to see it in its entirety.
This is great ballet to start children with, but the two hours can be steep for some. Did Tchaikovsky have children in mind when writing this ballet? Were children even allowed in theatres back then? Like I said about La Bohme being a good starting point for opera, the same would go for this and ballet.
There were some charming moments here that brought a large smile to my face. The Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy was played on a keyboard on the xylophone setting. You must simply do this with the celesta and not that! If you're wondering what the celesta is, it's basically a small upright piano with bells instead of strings. It's used in countless compositions, is similar to the sound of a glockenspiel and is most famous for its use in the Harry Potter theme by John Williams.
If you don't care for children causing havoc at shows then I suggest you see an evening performance. There will most likely be a few there as well, but will, no doubt fall asleep soon on in. I won't sound too harsh and deprive them of this most splendid and rare treat of a ballet. I only ask that they are quite, don't fidget and enjoy the experience.
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