The Nutcracker

Playhouse (Queensland Ballet)
When in 1816 ETA Hoffman wrote the tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, who could have imagined it would generate such Christmas wonder for the young and the young at heart?
 
Then along came the musical genius of Tchaikovsky! His score is replete with so many familiar melodies, such as the celebrated Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, it is impossible to resist being swept up in this compelling childhood world of dance.
And now Queensland Ballet is presenting this classic in time for Christmas.
 
Mia Heathcote is a swirl of youth and vigour in the role of Clara at a Christmas party where her brother Fritz (Zuquan Kou) is being a naughty, teasing boy.
 
Shane Wuerthner brings a touch of potentially sinister magic to the role of  mysterious Dr Drosselmeyer who gives Clara a special gift, a wooden Nutcracker. 
 
At the stroke of midnight Clara is attacked by giant mice. Fortunately brave soldiers, led by the gallant Nutcracker Prince come to life (Zhi Fang), fend off the King Rat and his dangerous rodent band.
 
In a celebration to bring glee to the heart of any Queensland sugar cane farmer, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince head off in Act II across the Lemonade Sea to the Kingdom of Sweets. Various dances ensue, inspired inter alia by themes from Spain, China and the realm of the Flowers. The Arabian Dance by Lina Kim and Joel Woellner is particularly beguiling. If you don’t like this, you probably do not have a pulse.
 
Laura Hidalgo is a Snow Queen to freeze for! Yanela Pinera is a Sugar Plum Fairy of true delight.
 
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra does elegant justice to the magnificent music of Tchaikovsky.
 
The choreography of Ben Stevenson brings a freshness to this story of good triumphing over evil and childhood joy triumphing over all.
 
Artistic director: Li Cunxin 
Choreographer: Ben Stevenson OBE  
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 
Conductor of Queensland Symphony Orchestra: Nigel Gaynor
Choir: St Peter’s Lutheran College
Set designer: Thomas Boyd 
Costume designer: Desmond Heeley 
Lighting designer: David Walters 
Performances: 9-23 December 2016 
Running time: 2 hours with one 20-minute interval
Further details:  Queensland Ballet

 


— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Tue 13th December 2016)

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