The Nutcracker (Video 1994) Poster

(I) (1994 Video)

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An excellent Nutcracker, if not perfect
TheLittleSongbird10 September 2012
The Nutcracker has always been a treasure since I was 6 to me, so I'd see any version. This version is excellent, my only quibbles being the ugly costume for the Nutcracker(to me that is) and that the opening party scene could have been more homely, partly because you can tell that the children are not actually children. The production will be different to what you are familiar with, the Sugar Plum Fairy is not here(though her music remains intact) and the concept does have a more romantic approach. It works though, because the romantic approach is warm and deeply felt. It is a visually sumptuous production on the whole, giving that Christmassy and fairy-tale like feel impeccably, and the orchestral playing play the timeless Tchaikovsky score marvellously. Larisa Lezhnina's Masha/Princess is very elegant especially in the Pas-De-Deux, and Viktor Baranov is a handsome and quite dashing Prince with a fair amount of masculinity. The "highlight" parts, such as Waltz of the Flowers, Arabian/Chinese dance, March, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy(beautifully danced by Lezhnina), Dance of the Snowflakes Trepek and Pas De Deux, are choreographed and danced impeccably with emotion and intimate-looking chemistry. In conclusion, excellent. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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One of the best Nutcracker movie on DVD
flin136 January 2007
If you cannot see a real staged ballet, this DVD is a must. The only problem is that this DVD is set for region 2, therefore, very few North American audiences will be able to view it. However, if you own a region agnostic DVD player, you will enjoy this version of Nutcracker ballet. Phillip should consider release the same DVD for North American viewers. Some extra info regarding this production would be welcomed, especially bios of the dancers and Kirov Ballet.

Unlike the Americanized version, this ballet focuses on Masha and the Nutcracker, played elegantly by Larissa Lezhnina and powerfully by Piotr Russanov respectively. There is no Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince in this version. Rather, it is filled with fantasized themes. This European influenced adaptation has been recorded by other DVD's, notably 80's version by The Bolshoi Ballet. Also, there are many others by Royal Ballet worth watching.

I enjoyed all versions of Nutcracker ballet, but what set this particular production apart is the performance of Larissa Lezhnina. She is not only graceful but powerful, holding her poses, jumps and landings gracefully throughout. At the same time, her dimple smile is infectious and the executions of her movements are flawlessly meticulous. To my untrained eyes, it is easy to see that she is unpretentious and thoroughly enjoys her craft. There aren't many reviews of Larissa Lezhnina on the Internet, at least not English versions, which is a shame. Hopefully, those who have seen her dance, in person or in other forms of media would post more professional reviews than my amateur point of view.
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Probably the best performance of The Nutcracker.
jeremiah592 March 2007
I've never been a ballet fan, but this performance of Kirov Ballet is really something special. The real pearl of this version are those kids from Vaganova school, who play their role so beautifully. If you know Tchaikovsky music, you may notice a slightly slower tempo in the part with Vaganova kids. I've watched almost every available version of The Nutcracker ballet, but none other come nearly close to this one. The scenery is beautiful and each and every dancer plays it's role perfectly. The orchestra of Mariinsky Theater were playing the music probably as good as many other orchestra in the world, but the dance and choreography is outstanding. I've become a modest ballet fan just when I saw this performance of Kirov. If you like ballet and haven't seen this one yet, try to find it. It's probably the best of all times. At least the best performance and adaptation of Hofmann's Nutcracker.
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