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The Nutcracker without a Christmas tree, but with the nut Krakatuk

Performance of “the Nutcracker and the Mouse king” of the “Zurich Ballet” at the New stage of the Bolshoi theater and performances of the American troupe Jessica lang in “Helikon-Opera” has finished their shows, the international contemporary dance festival DanceInversion. It was held in Moscow for more than two months at five venues (Historical and New scene of the Bolshoi theatre, the musical theater of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, Helikon-Opera, the Theatre of Nations). Current eighth (with the exception of international festivals that preceded it, undertaken since 1997) DanceInversion conducted by the Directorate of the Bolshoi theatre, probably one of the most interesting and representative for the entire existence of the project. It was attended by companies from 8 countries: USA, Cuba, Monte Carlo, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland.


Christian Spoke ballet’s “the Nutcracker and the mouse king” Photo: Gregory Batardon . Courtesy of the press service of the state.

The program is artistic Director of the festival Irina Chernoburova, featured a variety of styles, techniques and genres. Rousing the Spaniards from the troupe of nisprovergatelya choreographic canons Rocio Molina, boldly splavlyaya such diverse genres as flamenco and contemporary theatre, as well as temperamental dancers “Company of contemporary dance of Cuba” here side by side, for example, with such avant-garde artists, like Michael Keegan-Dolan from Ireland.

Moreover, the Director and “choreographer” presented at the fest’s own “Swan lake”, put it not on the music of Tchaikovsky, and folk tunes, created on the basis of the Nordic and Irish folk traditions, and entertaining has transformed the story of the most famous classical ballet in an exciting contemporary story of the mystical. The Princess, here was Walker, the local crazy Siegfried, Rothbart — priest-maniac who has bewitched the girls into swans, and the chief of police and the local MP. There is a stage on the lake and “ball” — party with a choice of brides. That is all almost like Tchaikovsky. This performance could be the most interesting project of the festival, if in addition to the virtuoso of the drama and the Director of development had at least some dance content.

In addition to the “Swan lake” dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the classic of world of Marius Petipa’s ballet the festival program included names such as the ballet “Beauty” (to the music of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Sleeping beauty”, see “MK” No. 27516 9 October) and the Nutcracker.

Since Fyodor Lopukhov, who in 1929 introduced his superaverage “the Nutcracker” in the spirit meyerxoldovskiy biomechanics (from that ballet in Russia now the main character will not be called Clara and Masha), who not only took on the ballet by Tchaikovsky. In a squalid orphanage takes place, for example, the action of the ballet in its original and very witty staged by British choreographer Matthew Bourne; history of Russian ballerina-emigrant told the Australian ballet Graeme Murphy. There is a famous interpretation of this ballet, made by Roland Petit, John Cranko, Maurice Bejart, John Neumayr, Radu Poklitaru and many, many others. His version of the Christmas tale at the DanceInversion presented and choreographer Christian Spuck.

The name of the German choreographer, artistic Director “Ballet Zurich”, before that we had only known for a fun “cow” pas de Deux, often executable in gala concerts, gloomy and pretentious ballet based on the tale of Hoffmann “the Sandman,” which brought on “the Gold mask” the Latvian theater of Opera and ballet “Anna Karenina”, staged at the Musical theater. Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko before last season. However Spuc is committed to narrative ballet and to it, as a rule, resolved in depressive black productions include such ballets as “Lulu. The tragedy of the monster”, “Woyzeck”, “the Return of Ulysses”, “Romeo and Juliet”. This time Spock changed himself and pleased, composing quite positive the ballet, which premiered in Switzerland just over a month ago.

In the heart of the play “the Nutcracker and the Mouse king” is also a tale of Hoffmann, but not the truncated story that is told in classical ballet (Petipa, by the way, was related to the “Nutcracker” only as the author of the libretto, the choreography in the play due to his illness did Lev Ivanov), and the tale in its entirety. There is the enchanted Princess Pirlipat and the Queen of mice Madame Michild, and the nut Krakatuk, but no Christmas tree.


Christian Spoke ballet’s “the Nutcracker and the mouse king” Photo: Gregory Batardon. Courtesy of the press service of the state.

In fact, this approach is nothing new. So, at the Mariinsky theatre, in addition to “the Nutcracker”, designed by the famous artist Mikhail Shemyakin, presents the scenery was and the ballet “the Magic Nut”, too goffmanesque telling a story in Tchaikovsky’s ballet not included. However, the first who used the story of Princess Pirlipat and the nut Krakatuk in his essay was ironic American mark Morris, perestanovki Hoffmann a modern twist 26 years ago in 1991 in the Brussels theatre “La Monnaie”.

But Spoke was interesting ballet. Of course, wild imagination Shemyakin its artistic Director Rufus Didiscus and costume designer Buki Shiff is not exceeded, even something borrowed from the Mariinsky ballet. For example, the costumes for the snowflakes. They are exactly like Shemyakin, however, black tutu here not covered with white snow flakes, and the LEDs (like in the movie “Matilda”). The “black” snowflakes here accompany the same “black” men.

If the first act from Spoka solved mainly in a monochrome palette (the story of Princess Pirlipat in General in the popular Spocom black and white), the second — a sparkle of imagination and a riot of colors: sugar plum fairy here comes in the pack, covered with cake, and with cake in the hair, in the waltz of the flowers tutu ballerina petal, petals and the barbs have them naked to the waist floral gentlemen, flaunting around the stage in pants with suspenders.

Of miracles and special effects, as expected from Hoffmann in the play plenty of mice here are driven on rollers, and Fritz (Daniel Mulligan), brother Marie — on the skateboard. In the final scene is filled with silver balloons. It all starts with perched in the corner of the stage clown, which camera, plays the accordion music from the immortal ballet (Ina Callees), and the other two clowns (Ian Khan and Matthew knight) have to constantly Wake her up, pushing to the side. The clowns then the conductors is filled with fantasy and mysticism, the world of Hoffmann.

Used in Spoka and successful for the “midnight goffmanian” the concept of “theatre in theatre”. The first theater, in fact, is a New stage of the Bolshoi as a cabaret, shining lights. The second scene is built around the heel. The third theater is quite small — is the layout of the theatre with wax paper figures. It’s a shame that this Director’s idea of a practical way not beaten in the play, and the stage, located deep in the corny is used as the second level, which occasionally moves to the populous view.

Characters then visible-invisible. In addition to the usual: Marie (Michelle Willams), her godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Dominic Slavkovsky), my parents and my brother, and various aunts heroine’s Aunt snowflake (Elena Vostrotina), Auntie Flower (Anna Khamzina) and Aunt, the sugar plum Fairy (Quiz Kapitonova). During the performance they turn in her sleep in the same fairies and dance on a course of action with the corps de ballet waltz of the snow flakes, waltz of the flowers, and Oriental dance, which goes to the sugar plum fairy. Especially numerous here the characters of the fairy tale about Princess Pirlipat: is king, Queen, four Prince, the Ministers, the governess, mouse. They are all in the form of dolls are in the Windows of the workshop of Drosselmeyer, and in the midnight hour mechanical puppet gait come out actually starting to play the show.

Of course, to play such a populous and ballet to retell the twists and turns of the tales of Hoffmann, Spoke had to change the score by Tchaikovsky for its performance. So, from the Divertissement in the second act there are only Oriental dance, Spanish and Chinese immersed in the aquarium Princess Pirlipat (Julia Tonelli), turned into a toothy monster, for example, famously cracking nuts. In the first branch has moved and “Jigong”, music by “the Dance of the shepherds” (Lev Ivanov, it was called “the candy Dance” or “Dance with a pipe”), but here the courtiers of the magic Kingdom squatting like mad “Russian”…

Much worse is that choreography Spoke not as resourceful as his directorial ideas, suffers from monotony and lack of musicality. She often falls across of Tchaikovsky’s music does not reveal its rich imagery. And even when playing such a masterpiece as the music of the glockenspiel, reminiscent of the shimmering crystal bells (it is danced female variation in classical pas de Deux, of course, Spoke, and it is taken out of the usual context and put in front of the Duo), the main character just wanders around the stage, working out his relationship with Drosselmeyer in the long-skirted frock coat.

This hero have Spoke and becomes the protagonist of the play, and the party, perfectly executed Dominic Slavkovsky fully saturated with dances as a duet with Marie Prince (Drosselmeyer’s nephew), soulful danced; Michelle Willems and William Moore. The ballet Zurich is generally quite professional, so that the tasks assigned to it by the choreographer, did a good.

“We know how many bright, creative protest and multifaceted dance games have created “Swan lake”, “Nutcracker” and “Sleeping beauty”, — says Irina Chernogorova. — Exactly one — space “Portnikov” and “sandals” today it is impossible to imagine without the new versions of these legendary ballets of Petipa, without the creative dialogue these two spaces”. The validity of these words and confirmed the ballet, which was shown in the finale of the festival.

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