Who doesn’t know The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky’s most celebrated ballet? Who didn’t hear it’s music on numerous occasions? I did too, and admired it so much (but then for me Tchaikovsky is the best composer of all times anyway 🙂 )
So, yesterday was THE DAY. I went to watch the ballet at the Royal Opera House in London. The theater was full to the brim, not a single empty seat!
Here are my reflections on the night. I am not going to talk about the plot or the history of the ballet, I just would like to pen down my chaotic thoughts in order to organize my immediate impressions.
First, the positive ones.
And of course, I have to start with the music. Oh, the music! Unsurpassed! The almost unbearable beauty of it! How can you even start to describe it? You can’t so I am not going to try. I had been a bit apprehensive that because of it’s extreme popularity (especially in the mass culture) I would find it a bit too “popular” but it didn’t happen. It was still magic and heavenly.
Second, the stage set and the scenography. Magnificent!
Beautiful stage decorations, very clever use of various curtains and lightening, wonderful costumes (apart from the ridiculous hats in the Russian Dancers’ costumes but then probably I, being Russian, was the only one who found them funny).
So, what was wrong? Why don’t I feel entirely satisfied?
One thing which surprised me was this. Clara and the Nutcracker are the main characters of the ballet, the leading parts, right? Well, it didn’t seem to me that they were especially “main” or “leading”. They didn’t dance that much… or that was my impression.
The Sugar Plum Fairy and Her Cavalier had much bigger opportunity to showcase their dancing talents. And I think the public agreed judging by the amount of applause.
And even their dance numbers varied in density – some were energetic and complex and others – just kind of lukewarm.
In the second act, where arguably the most celebrated numbers are – Spanish Dance, Chinese Dance, Russian Dance – the Arabian Dance was such a disappointment that I didn’t even clap at the end… They were just walking around making “Arabian” gestures with their arms and carrying the girl, very occasionally leaping a bit.
Waltz of the Flowers and the Pas de deux were wonderful though! (Or was it the music playing me up again? No, it was good)
Generally I would say that the choreography was quite “uneven” – lively and lovely in some numbers and quite …errm… lame, lacking of energy or charm, in the others. Sorry! This is only my very inexpert opinion.
Phew, got it off my chest!
But… the music… Oh, the music!