Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker - San Francisco Ballet
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This visually stunning, all-new production of Nutcracker, choreographed by Helgi Tomasson (artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet) is a graceful and timeless adventure on a grand scale. The scenic design by Michael Yeargan, setting the tale at the time of the 1915 San Francisco World Fair, is sensational. From the lovely Waltz of the Flowers to the crystalline beauty of the stunning Snowflake Waltz, each scene is more breathtaking than the last, bringing to life all the well known and beloved characters with fresh sparkle and compelling originality. Recorded in High Definition video and true surround sound, this age-transcending production offers a dazzling magical journey which has received critical acclaim throughout the world.Press Reviews
"The opulent new version of the seasonal classic, launched spectacularly by the San Francisco Ballet, is every parent's dream of a holiday treat. It looks scrumptious, tastes delicious, offers substantial nourishment and won’t cause cavities." (San Francisco Examiner)
"This sumptuous production of Nutcracker updates the scenario to San Francisco during the 1915 International Exposition. With ravishing sets, superb dancing and stunning sound, it is an absolute delight. " (BBC Music Magazine)Cast
Damian Smith (Drosselmeyer)
Elizabeth Powell (Clara Stahlbaum)
Davit Karapetyan (Nutcracker)
David Arce (King of the Mice)
Yuan Yuan Tan (Queen of Snow)
Vanessa Zahorian (Sugar Plum Fairy)
San Francisco Ballet Orchestra; Martin West
Company: San Francisco Ballet
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson
Catalogue Number: OA1002D
Date of Performance: 2007
Running Time: 132 minutes
Sound: DTS Surround 5.0; LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Subtitles: FR, DE, ES, IT
Label: Opus Arte
The opulent new version of the seasonal classic, launched spectacularly
by the San Francisco Ballet, is every parent s dream of a holiday treat.
It looks scrumptious, tastes delicious, offers substantial nourishment
and won t cause cavities. --San Francisco Examiner
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Top customer reviews
The Christmas tree transition is really magical. Unlike many productions, this staging makes it clear that it's not the tree that is growing, but Clara who is shrinking down to a few inches high. The Mouse King is deliciously nasty-looking and melodramatic.
The "Dance of the Snowflakes" is particularly lovely, especially near the end, when the stage crew creates a near-blizzard of paper snow, dazzling to watch in high definition.
Unfortunately, the camera work is quite obtrusive. The credits list nine camera operators, and the video director was apparently determined to employ every one of them as often as possible. The result is a frantic sequence of closeups, pans, zooms and cross-cuts, with a new angle appearing every few seconds. In some numbers, the cuts actually occur on each bar of music, a cheesy effect that quickly becomes wearisome. The entire stage is rarely shown, and then only for a few moments. During the Act 1 party scene, the editing is so fast and furious, I never got a complete sense of what the set looked like. Things calm down a bit for Act 2, perhaps because the poor camerapeople were exhausted.
The set in Act 2 is disappointingly bland. I think it's supposed to represent the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts, but it seems rather dreary and industrial.
The score is well-played and recorded, although the percussion section sounds a bit distant compared to the rest of the orchestra.
A good disc overall, despite the caffeinated cameras. I would love to see this production performed live!
However I felt a let down in some area:
There is no chorus in waltz of the flowers, too sad. The beautiful chorus is one of my favorite in that scene.
The main characters seem to more focus on technical excellence, while less on emotion.
The final Pas de deux isn't that exciting, Elizabeth Powell's dance is fine but not exceptional.
Overall it's not as good as the Bolshoi version (danced by amazing Nina Kaptsova and Artem Ovcharenko), the set, dance and orchestra are close to perfection.
The true test of this DVD for me was how well they filmed the snow scene with the Snow Queen. It was just as beautiful as when I saw it last year at the War Memorial, but only closer. :) Very happy with my purchase.