Nutcracker ballet: an essential part of
DigiScreened version at Hudson Village Theatre offers fun for whole family
Your Local Journal, November 19, 2009
It’s a great way to introduce your children, and your grandchildren, to the richly cultural world of ballet, and in an easy and economical way.
Instead of going all the way downtown in winter, and paying a hefty a price tag for tickets, bring your family to Hudson Village Theatre and celebrate that essential part of Christmas, The Nutcracker, in a high definition, digiscreened presentation of a widely acclaimed production by the San Francisco Ballet.
The San Francisco Ballet’s version is a recently staged new production of Tchaikovsky’s well-loved Christmas classic choreographed by Helgi Tomasson. The basic storyline of the ballet is followed faithfully, but the new staging takes some liberties with the original scenario with the ballet now set in 1915 San Francisco rather than Germany, and the frightening aspects of Drosselmeyer's character erased, leaving him a purely benevolent figure. The second act takes place not in the Land of Sweets, but in a crystal palace reminiscent of one Clara would have seen at the San Francisco World's Fair held shortly before the ballet is set, and the dances are a parade of nations akin to exhibitions at the fair. One of the most notable changes is that the final grand pas de deux is danced not by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her escort but by the Nutcracker Prince and Clara, who has been transformed into an adult ballerina specifically for this pas de deux in her dream.
Magic becomes reality and dreams come alive in this magnificent production of The Nutcracker which features a cast of 200 dancers, stunning images, and magical surprises that mesmerize and delight adults and children alike. San Francisco Ballet is America’s most venerable ballet company and their home, the War Memorial Opera House, is a theatre of magnificent grandeur. This special screening by Hudson Village Opera’s high definition DigiScreen productions promises to provide a memorable afternoon for children, parents and grandparents alike.
Tchaikovsky himself was less satisfied with The Nutcracker than with The Sleeping Beauty, his previous ballet. Though he accepted the commission, he did not particularly want to write it. While composing the music for the ballet, he is said to have argued with a friend who wagered that the composer could not write a melody based on the notes of the octave in sequence. Tchaikovsky asked if it mattered whether the notes were in ascending or descending order, and was assured it did not. This resulted in the grand adagio from the grand pas de deux of the second act, which traditionally is danced just after Waltz of the Flowers.
The first performance of the ballet was held on 18 December 1892, at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The first complete performance of the ballet outside Russia took place in England in 1934, staged by Nicholas Sergeyev after the original choreography. However, it was not until 1944 that the first complete production in the U.S. took place, performed by the San Francisco Ballet, and choreographed by William Christensen. The company was the first in the U.S. to make it an annual tradition, and for ten years, it was the only company in the United States performing the complete ballet. They perform it annually to this day, and its stage success marked the first step in making productions of The Nutcracker an annual Christmas season tradition all over the world.
There will be two presentations of The Nutcracker on Hudson Village Theatre’s silver screen: Saturday, November 28 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, November 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 each. For reservations and information, contact Hudson Village Theatre Box office at: 450 458-5361. Tickets are also available at A Temps Perdu, 76 Cameron, Hudson.