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The Nutcracker

How many times can one see The Nutcracker? After thoroughly enjoying the Colorado Ballet's production of this classic for the last twelve years, our answer is still indeterminate. If one knows what to look for, The Nutcracker, like any classic, lends itself to interpretative nuances that never cease to bring pleasure.

Dana Benton as Clara and Gregory K. Gonzales as Herr Drosselmeyer
Dana Benton as Clara
and Gregory K. Gonzales as Herr Drosselmeyer
Photo: Terry Shapiro
And pleasure is what this holiday ritual is all about. It begins on opening night with the Russian pair of Maria Mosina (the Sugar Plum) and Alexei Tyukov (the Cavalier) and Tchaikovsky's immortal score, the psychologically astute parallels between Clara's experience at her parents' Christmas party and her dreams—including Drosselmeyer's marvelous Columbine, Solidier, and Nutcracker Prince creations, the battle between the Nutcracker Prince's troops and those of the Mouse King, Drosselmeyer's magical interventions, and the lovely blizzard with Snow and Crystals—and the bliss of Clara's journey with the resurrected Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets, where they are feted by the Sugar Plum and the Cavalier and treated to a series of the finest confections, all symbolized in a series of divertissements: the flair of the Spanish Chocolate, the erotic Arabian Coffee, the slapstick Chinese Tea, the coquettish Danish Marzipan, the flashy Russian Candy Canes, and the cute Polichinelles with their zany Mother Ginger.

Shelby Dyer and Luis Valdes in the Arabian
Shelby Dyer and Luis Valdes
in the Arabian
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Once again, Dana Benton and Adam Still light it up as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, with their pas de deux topped off by perfect lifts. Mosina's superb technique and artistry is a thrill, as always, enabled and enhanced by Tyukov's smooth support and effortless arabesques. The Arabian is a personal favorite, and Shelby Dyer and Luis Valdes are better than ever, with a very deliberate, sublime and oh so sexy seduction!

Adam Flatt and the 40-piece orchestra render the epic and delicate passages of the famous melodic narrative with equal aplomb. The children perform admirably, providing plenty on which to dream for the youngest audience members.

The Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker runs through December 24th, including weekday and afternoon performances. 303-837-8888 or www.coloradoballet.com.

Bob Bows

 

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