Ballet BC
Alberta Ballet in THE NUTCRACKER
with live music by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Dates and Venue Tues & Wed , December 29 & 30 at 7:30pm, and on Wed & Thurs, December 30 & 31 at 2pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Conductor Peter Dala Choreography Edmund Stripe Set and Costume Design Zack Brown Lighting Design Pierre Lavoie Music Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

The music of Tchaikovsky filled the Queen Elizabeth Theatre last night, the opening night of The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker, an annual Christmas family tradition, was mounted again to the delight of a multitude of ages. Young girls in party dresses, grandparents accompanying children, couples, young and old came to experience the delights of The Nutcracker.

Alberta Ballet’s sumptuous sets, costumes and innovative choreography offers a Nutcracker that will not disappoint. There have been many Nutcrackers that have graced Vancouver stages over the years. Each brings its own interpretation of the classic Russian tale. This Nutcracker does not include Mother Ginger and her little ones, the large mechanical dolls or the growing grandfather clock. The varying interpretations of The Nutcracker story keep it fresh for audiences over the years. That and the fact that for many in the audience it is their first experience with classical ballet and what a magical experience it is.

Alberta Ballet offers a Nutcracker that is filled with innovative choreography and visually impressive sets. It is Christmas Eve and the opening street scene, a larger than life sepia snapshot, dominates the stage. At the forefront of the set is a lit doorway from which emerges Babushka to greet the party guests and get the evening underway. We meet Grandfather, Klara, Nikolai and their family and of course godfather, Drosselmeyer. The children’s dance with their presents, dolls for the girls and nutcrackers for the boys, is a touching addition to this scene.

The dance of the snowflakes, complete with white wolves, heavily laden snow white icicles and a glittering blue backdrop pulls one into the magic of the evening. The snowflakes dance onto the stage as if a snowfall was just beginning, slowing entering in twos and then fours and then a cluster fill the stage while snow falls around them. It is beautiful to watch.

The second act offers the dance of the flowers which features an impressive backdrop and of course the Sugar Plum fairy with her Cavalier and the Spanish, Arabian, Chinese and Russian feature dances, all to the accompaniment of The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. A magical evening for all ages.

© 2015 Nancie Ottem