archive
links
essays

The Nutcracker

Snowflakes and the carriage of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince
Snowflakes and the carriage
of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Some of the faces have changed, but the Colorado Ballet's depth of talent continues to make The Nutcracker one of the delights of the season. In a run that includes a multitude of casting mixes, every performance is an artistic adventure.

As always, Gregory Gonzales' Herr Drosselmeyer infuses magic into the proceedings with a mix of legerdemain and mannerly polish that holds everyone, including the adults, in sway.

Sayaka Karasugi as the Columbine doll and Gregory K. Gonzales as Herr Drosselmeyer
Sayaka Karasugi
as the Columbine doll
and Gregory K. Gonzales
as Herr Drosselmeyer
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Dana Benton's Clara is both a adolescent enraptured by Drossmeyer's gift (of the Nutcracker) and a graceful young woman. Her Nutcracker Prince, Viacheslav Buchkovskiy, impresses with his strength, making their lifts look easy, though some of his supported pirouettes were a bit rough. Sean Omandam's Fritz is spirited and lively, lending charm to his boyish misbehavior.

Asuka Sasaki and Luis Valdes bring a refreshing fluidity to the normally rigid mechanical Columbine doll and Soldier doll, causing Clara's friends, and us as well, to wonder, "Is s/he or isn't s/he (a doll or a person)?"

The Nutcracker Prince and his troops
The Nutcracker Prince and his troops
Photo: Terry Shapiro
The early rumblings of Freudian psychology reverberate in Clara's transposition of the behavior of Fritz's mischievous friends into the rats, whose melodramatic antics bring genuine hilarity to her dream.

Though Jose Verona's once-magical sets are beginning to look dated in certain scenes, particularly the interior of the Stahlbaums' house and the Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy, the divertissements transcend the setting: Spanish chocolate is impressively synchronistic and snappy; Janelle Cooke and John Henry Reid make this Arabian one of the most seductive and deliciously hypnotic in recent memory; the Chinese is pure comedy; the Marzipan coquettish; the Russian exuberant and showy; Mother Ginger's dance moves something to behold; and Sharon Wehner's Dewdrop flowing and enchanting—grace incarnate.

Sharon Wehner
Sharon Wehner
Photo: Terry Shapiro
Chandra Kuykendall, as the Sugarplum Fairy, and Alexei Tyukov, as the Cavalier, dazzle us with a series of elegant lines and sumptuous pacing. Her solos are delicate, effervescent; his leaps impressive, his lifts astounding.

Adam Flatt elicits a warm performance from the Nutcracker Orchestra of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's classic score.

The Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker, based on choreography by Martin Fredmann, with additional choreography by Sandra Brown, runs through December 24th. 303-837-8888 or www.coloradoballet.com.

Bob Bows

 

Current Reviews | Home | Webmaster