Soloist Mia Heathcote. Photo by David Kelly
The Nutcracker 2018
By ETA Hoffman and Pyotr I Tchaikovsky
Choreographed by Ben Stevenson
Presented by Queensland Ballet
Lyric Theatre, QPAC South Bank,
Season runs until December 22. Bookings: www.qpac.com or 136 246
It definitely begins to look a lot like Christmas when the halls of Brisbane are decked, lights sparkle in the evening and The Nutcracker rolls into town. A staple of any respectable Festive Season, The Nutcracker Ballet, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and based on the tale of ETA Hoffmann is timeless. A delight for all, young and young at heart, it follows the magical tale of a young girl’s reality within a dream.
From the first lilting phrases from the Orchestra pit, the audience fell in collective love. Clara Stahlbaum, is gifted by the somewhat nefarious Dr Drosselmeyer an unassuming Nutcracker for Christmas, only for it to come to life once everyone in the household has drifted off into slumber.
After a daring escape from the King Rat and his lackeys, Clara is whisked away into a fantastical world, one filled with snow and sweets and glorious cakes, all presided over by various Queens. The second act, and indeed, the end of the Ballet, draws to a close when Clara drifts off to sleep once again, having been entertained by a host of dancers and chefs in the Kingdom of Sweets.
This production was a pure, whimsical delight. Not only did the audience find themselves gifted with the sight of such supple beauty in the Queensland Ballet, but also members of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and St Peters Choir accompanied the night. With so much premier talent in the room, it was little wonder that this production of the Nutcracker was engaging and high in energy.
It made the night slip away much like the characters come the final note of Tchaikovsky’s classic score. Whilst there were moments of chaotic confusion, particularly in the beginning scenes with not knowing where to look to see the action, each and every member of the Queensland Ballet gave their respective performances their all and made for an especially entertaining tableau.
Perhaps this confusion could be called a richness, mainly due to the fact that the dancers had their own role and choreography to carry out. Nevertheless, the principal cast in Mia Heathcote, as Clara, Lina Kim, the Snow Queen, Yanela Piñera The Sugar Plum Fairy and Camilo Ramos as Prince, were truly a joy to watch.
The crowning moment was especially the pas de deux between the Nutcracker come Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy, who danced with deft grace. A crowd favourite for the night was Vito Bernasconi’s Russian Dancer or Gopak and the Arabian Dancers, Laura Hidalgo and Alexander Idaszak. Their respective performances drew enthusiastic cheers and laughs from the audience.
So what more could you want this Christmas than to be delighted?