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The Nutcracker (Bristol)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s The Nutcracker, with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, makes for another enchanting experience. This is probably the first ballet that many children get to see, and I wonder how many little girls have gone home afterwards to dream of being a prima ballerina and dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy!

The Nutcracker takes us back to an old German town in the 19th century. It’s Christmas Eve, and the ballet opens with the cheerful passers by obviously enjoying the season – children playing, adults shopping, but you can feel all the Christmas cheer.

We then move inside one of the houses where we find the Stahlbaum family gathered with their guests for the traditional Christmas party. One of the guests is the old toymaker Herr Drosselmeyer, danced by Alexander Kuimov and the children gather round him to see what presents he has brought for them. He produces a Harlequin, a Columbine, a Moor and finally the funniest and most remarkable toy – a Nutcracker.

Marie, the Stahlbaum’s daughter – beautifully danced by Maria Kuimova – chooses the Nutcracker as her toy but her brother Fritz danced by Yaroslava Nagumanova snatches the doll from her and the Nutcracker’s head is torn off in the struggle, but Drosselmeyer quickly mends the doll.

The party comes to an end and Marie is sent to bed. However she is much too excited to sleep and so she slips back downstairs to take a last look at the Nutcracker under the Christmas tree. While she is there, Drosselmeyer appears and changes the drawing room into a magical land. First of all comes an army of mice led by the Mouse King – danced by Egor Osokin. Then as the mice attack tin soldiers, dolls and the Nutcracker come to life and defend Marie. Eventually the mice are defeated.

The Nutcracker is turned into a handsome Prince – danced by Kirill Litvinenko and he and Marie dance with the snowflakes under a beautiful starry sky.

This is an enchanting production, beautifully danced by all. The choreography by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and Sergei Bobrov is superb – simple but wonderfully effective.

The music is wonderful and the orchestra, conducted by Alexander Yudasin, is outstanding. Putting the beautiful music and dancing together with the lovely and colourful sets and costumes by Maria Smirnova-Nesvitshaya makes for a superb evening, leaving entire audience with a smile on their face.


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