The wind from Siberia blew in more than snow and cold temperatures to Sunderland this week. The Russian State Ballet of Siberia extended the experience of the Christmas season with two performances of the Nutcracker which were beautifully choreographed by Vasily Vainonen and Sergei Bobrov. Tchaikovsky’s fabulous music was flawlessly performed by their own orchestra conducted by Alexander Kosinsky. The familiar overture and a full theatre gave warmth and sense of occasion, and as soon the lights dimmed, the special lighting effects created a snowstorm on stage, we knew this was going to be a night to remember – and it was.
The tale is of a young girl Marie (Ekaterina Bulgutova) who is given a wooden doll (a nutcracker) on Christmas Eve, which in a dream comes to life as a prince (Vyacheslav Kapustin). In the dream all the dolls come to life under the Christmas tree and the prince leads the toy soldiers against an army of giant mice who are intent on attacking Marie. Victory secured the prince sweeps Marie of her feet in a wonderful pas de duex that ends Act 1. In Act 2 the corps de ballet performed magnificently as living dolls from Spain, Russia Turkey China and Turkey as they danced their national dances to appreciative applause from the audience before Marie enchanted us all by the solo performance of the evening in the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
The Prince and Marie dance the night away and the audience left with a warm glow into the winter night.
It was a timely seasonal performance that the Sunderland Empire brought in and a brave decision given the BRB’s production in a few weeks time. It keeps the variety of productions going and gave all generations who attended a positive theatrical experience.