I have said many times that The Nutcracker is one of my all-time favourites. And this is one of my favourite productions alongside the later Royal Ballet production, Kirov and Baryschnikov productions. Bolshoi has its flaws but is also very good. In fact the only one I disliked was the Bejart production. This production from 1985 is just magical. The settings especially in Act 2 really give a timeless festive feel that the ballet and story should have and the costumes and lighting are equally simple but colourful. Tchaikovsky's music is phenomenal, one of the all-time great ballet scores and one of his best overall scores. The orchestral playing, which is full of lushness and power and conducting, which is both authoritative and nuanced, do the score justice.
The choreography is splendid, all the moves and lines are flowing and look easy when they're not and it is in perfect sync with the music. The Grand Pas De Deux and Dance of the Snowflakes were especially well done, as well as the speciality numbers in the Land of Sweets. The scene with the Mice is thrilling, frightening and not too cluttered, and the early scenes at the party makes it feel like it's Christmas no matter when in the year and how many times you see it. The dancing itself is just as good, Lesley Collier is especially good as the Sugar Plum Fairy with effortless lines and commanding grace. Anthony Dowell is masculine and handsome as the Prince should be, while Julia Hope is a charming Clara and Guy Nibblet's Nutcracker appropriately valiant. Jonathan Cope is sinister as the Mouse King and his Arabian dance has an almost seductive element to it. Michael Coleman is perfect as Drosselmeyer.
Overall, simply gorgeous. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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