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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2011
This is the best Nutcracker ever. I liked the previous Royal Ballet Nutcracker with Anthony Dowell as Drosselmeier, but this one is even better, with less cape-twirling on Drosselmeier's part, the best Nutcracker dancer I have ever seen, and Miyako Yoshida just as good as before but more relaxed and natural. I'm glad that, if they only do one in Blu-ray, this is it!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
I'm no great lover of ballet, but this blu-ray disc could easily change that. I've seen Russian ballet performances live, but this production blew them all away. Everything was great! If you like Christmas, the Nutcracker, fabulous music, or stellar dancing, you owe it to yourself to give this disc a look. Highly recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
If you are looking for a great updated copy of the Nutcracker, this is it!!! The store line stays ture to what most of us know already. I enjoyed this so much I watched it twice back to back!!! Beautiful dancing!! Just a great buy for the Nutcracker fan!!!!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2011
Our household got "hooked up" on the nutcracker this winter so we own a bunch of other recordings.
Barishnikov which is great but a TV production, not live performance.
Nureyev - disturbing.
Bolshoi (with Maximova from the late 70's). Great dancing, terrible orchestra.

This is my favorite. The dancing is nothing short of superb. The production is a joy to the eyes and the orchestra is a joy to my ears.

Highly recommended!
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 20, 2012
This is the same Peter Wright choreography as in the previous, much loved, Royal Ballet production of about a decade ago. I, like many others no doubt, was rather hoping that that earlier recording would be transferred to the new Blu-ray medium. That was not to be, but instead we have a brand new recording of the same production, albeit with different or older, dancers to consider. For those interested in the DVD version only please note that Amazon does not allow such a distinction to be made when submitting a review of a disc available in Blu-ray. Please make allowances for that when reading the following and which may well contain useful comment anyway .....

As in all re-makes there is a mixture of pluses and negatives. The negatives will be most keenly felt by those who have formed a strong allegiance to the earlier issue of course. The same will no doubt be true of this issue in the fullness of time. As this recording was made during the current run with different lead dancers on different nights there will also be those who would wish the recording had been made on different nights.

None of that matters however when considering this new recording as the earlier one is not being transferred to Blu-ray and this is the only recording of this popular production now in its 25th year now available in the new medium. So this disc simply has to be considered entirely on its own merits as a recent example of this particular production. Bemoaning the lack of the previous production as a Blu-ray, or complaining about the choice of cast on this disc as some do are simply irrelevant considerations and not in any way helpful. Offenbach summed up this sort of situation as quoted at the end of this summary review.

In my opinion, given the circumstances and choices concerning this disc, it does very well indeed. All the lead parts are well danced technically and they are supported by excellent ensemble work. The magic of the ballet is fully caught and transmitted - one has only to listen to the enthusiastic support of the audience during the performance and the extended and rapturous 7 minutes of curtain calls at the end before the final fade-out to be sure of that.

The staging and costumes are both traditional and sumptuous in terms of ballet productions and the narrative is traditional and kind to all. The orchestra, under the direction of Koen Kessels, delivers attentive and high quality playing throughout, and what a fine score Tchaikovsky provided for our enjoyment. Pure musical bliss!

The actual recording is well up to the standards of Opus Arte with crisp and well defined visuals which provide a nice balance of close-up detail and panoramic views. The sound is both full and clear and is provided in both DTS-HD and stereo.

For me personally, much though I loved the earlier production referred to in the first paragraph, I feel more than compensated for by the many advantages of this new production, not least by the marvellous recording quality. Especially for those fresh to this production therefore, I am sure that 5 stars would seem to be an easily justified assessment. The same might be said for others such as me - I hope so, as in my opinion, it seems to be fully deserving issue and likely to give plenty of pleasure and satisfaction to many future purchasers.

As Offenbach advises in La Grande Duchesse 'If you cannot have what you love, then you must love what you have' .................... Appropriate advice perhaps for some enthusiasts in this particular case.

........................................

Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

So very well said; both your review and sadly, your end comments (see below)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2011
AMAZING!
The production is lush and unbelievably beautiful, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince are excellent.
BBC/Opus Arte is a company with integrity who cares for its customers!
Vision and sound are superlative
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2013
This is hands down the best version of the Nutcracker I have ever seen. Miyako is perhaps the most flawless ballet dancer I have ever watched. I would recommend this Nutcracker above and beyond any other version.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 26, 2011
I watch a different Nutcracker every Christmas Eve. This Blu-ray was my 2011 selection.

Visually, the disc is excellent. The image is so razor-sharp, you can actually see the texture of the scrims as you're looking through them! Try that with a conventional DVD.

The soundtrack is likewise very good. The orchestra is closely miked, with good balance between instruments and a wide stereo image.

Costumes, sets, lighting ... all very professional.

What's missing is the magic. The dancing is competent, but unexciting. The choreography is serviceable, but unimaginative. There are no surprises, no special moments, and very little humor. The battle scene is a big yawn. The transformation of the Christmas tree feels mechanical and ritualistic. Even Miyako Yoshida, admirably precise and ever-smiling, is bland as toast. It feels as if everyone's just going through the motions.

The previous DVD version by the Royal Ballet is better in every respect. Too bad it's not on Blu-ray.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
The Royal Opera House's version of the Nutcracker is most certainly the most magical, classic masterpiece version of the Nutcracker. I love watching it around the Holiday a few times every year. The music is beautiful just as the dancing is. I highly recommend this if you are looking for the best Nutcracker out there, and must say stay away from Michael Bourne's variation, unless you want to see a nightmare slaughtering to what the Nutcracker truly is.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2011
Technically brilliant, lushly presented, but artistically inferior to the 2001 Royal Ballet's setting of The Nutcracker (The Nutcracker/ Cojocaru, Dowell, Royal Ballet

· Pacing and tempos seem brisk, bordering on rushed.
· Silly overuse of thrown handfuls of glitter.
· Overlong Act I makes Act II seem rushed and downsized.
· Use of elaborate scrims and falling curtains distracts from ballet.
· Casting short, grotesquely over-leg muscled Nutcracker and Cavalier leads does make for technically flawless solos and pas de deux -- but it also becomes hard to watch and dramatically uninteresting.
· Long depth of field and extreme detail in the HD videography and Blu-Ray format combine to make it visually hard to concentrate on the primary action.
· Nine years on, Miyako Yoshida may or may not feel that she owns the role of Sugar Plum Fairy; some seem to think so. But the protesting-too-much defense of her casting probably foreshadows Yoshida-san's dignified and hopefully upcoming standing down to let more youthful dancers have a go.
· Iohna Loots is not compelling or quite believable as Clara.
· Drosselmeier seems to have become a control freak in the Land of Sweets, personally directing almost all action and entertainments. Distracting and stalls the action.
· Choreographer clears to a blank stage at one point in the Snowflakes sequence. Maybe this is meant to heighten anticipation... but it becomes ridiculous and irritating as the music plays and plays with no action except falling-confetti snow. And when the Showflakes do appear, we get less ballet and more hand-twinkles and flutters.

Been trying to find more positive points to mention, but that might take a while. I guess the upshot is that I bought this 2009 production to see what The Royal Ballet have done since 2001 with their setting. The flash and sensation seem greater, and the visual elements richer and no doubt more costly.

But the dance art and presentation seem to have suffered loss of focus and clarity in many small ways, perhaps by cumulative errors and choreographic tweaking introduced each time roles are handed off to new artists.

The effort feels akin to an old Christmas toy, repainted and retouched yearly but with underlying accumulated dings and scratches and half the corners rounded off. Found myself slipping into ho-hum while watching.
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